UAE: 5 trending Emirati artist brand collaborations you need to know about

From fragrance specialist Jo Malone to retail giant SHEIN and British supermarket Waitrose, many of the world’s biggest brands are choosing to partner with Emirati artists in new and interesting ways

By Harriet Shephard

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Published: Wed 31 May 2023, 1:25 PM

Last updated: Wed 31 May 2023, 2:01 PM

The UAE’s art scene is rich, vibrant, and flourishing, becoming more in demand with each passing year. Now, a growing trend for brand collaborations with Emirati artists is helping boost the nation’s homegrown creative scene.

Blending unique perspectives, amazing talents, and authentic Middle Eastern traditions, an increasing number of local and global brands are choosing to partner with local creatives on one-of-a-kind collaborative projects. Below are five of the most exciting partnerships that have emerged in recent months:

Dolce&Gabbana x The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation

A whole generation of Emirati fashion designers will benefit from the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation’s (Admaf) new venture with one of the world’s most iconic fashion brands.

Created to nurture and grow the Emirati artistic community, the new Admaf x Dolce & Gabbana Awards are open to UAE national students and recent graduates. Covering a range of categories — including clothing, jewellery, fragrance and home decor — the finalists will be rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intern at the Dolce & Gabbana headquarters in Italy, and the chance to showcase their work at the Abu Dhabi Festival 2024.

Jo Malone London x Yasmin Al Mulla

Having previously collaborated with Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Dior, Dubai-based Emirati fashion designer Yasmin Al Mulla added another huge name to her catalogue of world-famous brand partners during Ramadan earlier this year.

Yasmin, the creative director of YNM Dubai, created a special limited-edition Ramadan gift box for Jo Malone London, the British brand that is loved across the globe for its elegant and distinguished floral scents.

The bold, bright, and sophisticated wooden box contains several of the perfume label’s best-selling products. The beautiful tribute to Middle Eastern heritage and craftsmanship — intended to symbolise ‘creativity, kindness, togetherness and generosity’ — is still available to purchase from Jo Malone stores across the UAE for a limited time.

Kalimat Foundation x Mohammed Al Mansoori

Emirati abstract artist Mohammed Al Mansoori has joined forces with non-profit organisation the Kalimat Foundation to help provide books for refugee children.

Born in Khor Fakkan, Sharjah, Al Mansoori is known for his bold, abstract, and symbolic paintings that are reminiscent of ancient cave drawings. Now, one of his distinctive artworks has been chosen for a new line of stationery, fashion, and other Kalimat Foundation merchandise that can be purchased from Majid Al Futtaim malls across the Mena region.

All proceeds from the sales will go straight towards funding the ‘Pledge a Library’ initiative, which instals compact libraries of Arabic books in communities of displaced families.

Founded under the patronage of Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, the project has so far reached more than 23 countries, distributed 146 libraries, and helped more than 100,000 Arab children worldwide.

SHEIN x Abdulla Lutfi

Loved for his playful cartoon-like monochrome drawings, renowned Emirati artist of determination Abdulla Lutfi has partnered with global online fashion retailer SHEIN to create a special collection for Autism Awareness Month.

Launched in April and available to buy until November 2023, 50 per cent of the total sales will be donated towards supporting autistic adults and children across the region.

Produced in collaboration with the non-profit Charitable Society of Autism Families, and several other Middle Eastern autistic artists, the SHEIN x Autism Heroes collection aims to encourage self-acceptance and inclusion.

For more of Lutfi’s distinctive drawings, check out his huge 46-metre-long mural at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3, or pick up one of his sustainable tote bags from Emarat service stations.

Waitrose x Huda Al Nuaimi

Beautiful, colourful, and stylish, Waitrose has perhaps the most striking and attractive long-life bags of any supermarket in the UAE.

Designed by Emirati designer Huda Al Nuaimi, the founder of luxury print and fabric label Nuaimi Collective, they offer the perfect balance between fashion, practicality, and sustainability.

While the original design features enticing patterns inspired by food, culture, and art, the special edition for the UAE’s 51st National Day flew off the shelves thanks to its artistic interpretation of Dubai’s glittering skyline.

Created to amplify the sustainable and environmental efforts of both brands, the bags are available to buy in Waitrose stores for only Dh49.

These collaborations are just the tip of the iceberg, and serve as a fascinating introduction to Emirati talent, made even more significant by their contemporary interpretations of Emirati culture, breaking new ground in their quest to tell stories that resonate.


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