'We're working until 3am': Dubai tailors race against time to meet demand for Eid Al Fitr

The tradition of wearing new clothes during Eid signifies a fresh start after Ramadan's spiritual journey, driving an increased demand for tailors


Mazhar Farooqui

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Published: Mon 8 Apr 2024, 5:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Apr 2024, 10:58 PM

As the crescent moon of Shawwal looms on the horizon, tailors across Dubai find themselves in a race against time to fulfil orders ahead Eid. In key tailoring hubs like Bur Dubai and Satwa, craftsmen are burning the midnight oil to meet the overwhelming demand.

"We're working until 3am," reveals Asif Siddiqui of Suit Freek, a bespoke men's tailoring shop in Meena Bazaar. "Our hands are full with orders for custom-made shalwar kameez, shirts, and even men's suits.”

The tradition of wearing new clothes during Eid signifies a fresh start after Ramadan's spiritual journey, driving an increased demand for tailors.

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At Jabal Arafat Tailors, a stalwart in Dubai's tailoring landscape since 1967, Emirati owner Abdul Majid reflects on the surge in customers. "We've already made over 10,000 kanduras across our 12 outlets for Eid," he says. "Our clients are predominantly Emiratis, and they often place their orders two months in advance, knowing well that we don't take any orders during Ramadan. That’s our policy and we stick to it."

From its humble beginnings in Al Ras, Jabal Arafat has expanded across Dubai and beyond, with a reputation for premium fabrics from Japan. While white kanduras remain popular, Majid notes a shift towards darker shades during winters, ensuring their offerings remain in demand year-round.

At Tichi's Tailors in Bur Dubai, master cutter Mohammad Sarwat is fully immersed in meeting the needs of his Indian and Pakistani customers. "Paying close attention is key," he notes, as he carefully works with his scissors on the fabric to ensure precise cuts for the shalwar suits.

"The past few days have been hectic, and it only gets busier as Eid approaches," Sarwat acknowledges. "Most of the dresses you see here are by Pakistani designers like Maria B, Asif Jofa, and Sana Safinaz. My clients often show me pictures of these designer dresses, wanting their outfits to be sewn in a similar style. I aim to meet their expectations."

Mohammad of Agate Abaya & Sheila Tailoring shop in Deira said they are selling up to six times more abayas compared to regular days. "Even minor alterations to abayas can take up quite some time, especially with the large number of orders we're handling."

The owner of a women’s boutique in Satwa said they've been fully booked since the first week of Ramadan. "It's pretty much the same situation in other tailoring shops, though I must say it's not as busy as it was in the pre-Pandemic days. That said, I'm hoping Eid falls on Wednesday to give me more time to complete all the orders."

The UAE moon-sighting committee did not spot the Shawwal crescent on Monday evening. Hence, Muslims will observe an additional day of fasting, and April 9 will be the last day of Ramadan. It has been confirmed that Wednesday will be the first of Eid Al Fitr in UAE and a few other Gulf countries.


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