Make-A-Wish fulfils Emirati teenager's designer dreams
Arwa Baitelmal of Juri Fashion and Najla Alshehhi with the dress she designed
Dubai - The teen had always wanted to design her own dress and her wish came true
Despite her chronic condition, an aspiring 13-year-old Emirati girl saw her dream of becoming a fashion designer turn into a reality after she designed a dress that earned praise from one of the UAE's top designers.
Najla Alshehhi has Type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune condition which is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes. According to her mother, Ophelia, she has been fond of sketching dresses ever since she was little.
The teen also wanted to design her own dress and her wish came true with the help of the Make A Wish Foundation and a hotel in Dubai.
Ophelia told Khaleej Times: "One morning, Najla was surprised to see a team from the Fairmont Dubai at our doorstep, offering to make her wish come true. Najla was whisked away to the Juri Fashion Studio for a full day of learning. There, she was given a chance to put her ideas into practice and design her own fashionable dress."
None other than Juri Fashion's Arwa Baitelmal, a top Emirati designer, taught Najla how to take measurements and gave her insights about sketching, besides showing her cutting and sewing techniques on professional machines.
Najla couldn't believe she was designing a dress for herself. It was such a dream-come-true, according to her mum. "Her absolute favourite is renowned fashion designer and entrepreneur Elie Saab, known for his very feminine cuts and dresses in pastel colours," Ophelia said.
Praising the pink Abaya-inspired dress designed by Najla, Baitelmal said: "The dress which she designed consists of two separate pieces. The underlining of the dress is made of a very modest yet elegant and youthful pastel-pink fabric, whilst the upper part has a lot of embroidery and hand-made details.
"My first concern was to get to know Najla's favorite colour, which turned out to be pink. Together, we chose the fabrics which she liked the most and matched her skin tone. Najla loved it from first sight and during the entire design process, she was very hands-on with clear preferences," the designer added.
For Najla, the experience was nothing short of a dream-come-true. "It was really amazing to meet Arwa Baitelmal, and I would like to thank her for teaching me," she told Khaleej Times. "I would also like to thank Fairmont Dubai and the Make-A-Wish Foundation for this opportunity. It was an experience I will never forget!"
Ophelia added: "It was such an incredible opportunity for Najla and I am confident that she will also pursue a career in fashion design in the future."
After the fashion training, Najla and her family got a two-night stay at Fairmont Dubai followed by a fashion-themed private party, where she demonstrated to her friends all that she learned at the studio.