Blending Heritage With Craftsmanship: Dubai-Based Signature Yashmagh Is Celebrating The UAE's Traditional Shemagh

"We wanted to launch Signature Yashmagh to highlight the prestige of our national attire, and ensure that we created a product with the finest materials and superior craftsmanship that would serve as a symbol that honors our past, present, and future."

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By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Signature Yashmagh

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In the UAE, it is nearly impossible to miss the sight of a traditional shemagh worn by Emirati men. Essentially a piece of long cloth that is wrapped around the head, the shemagh has been used across the Middle East for centuries now as a means to protect against the harsh sunlight that is characteristic of the desert climate of the region. And it's this history and heritage of the garment that Dubai-based luxury brand Signature Yashmagh is seeking to celebrate today. "The shemagh is a point of national pride, a symbol of the history, culture and traditions of the UAE," says Mishal AlMarzouqi, co-founder, Signature Yashmagh. "We wanted to launch Signature Yashmagh to highlight the prestige of our national attire, and ensure that we created a product with the finest materials and superior craftsmanship that would serve as a symbol that honors our past, present, and future."

Launched in 2019 as an e-commerce store, Signature Yashmagh today has its flagship store located at The Dubai Mall in the UAE. In addition to selling shemaghs and gutrahs (which is another kind of head dress), the store also sells complementary products like shemagh/gutrah shampoos, fragrance sprays, and subha prayer beads. "Our main clothing lines are designed and packaged in-house, the production is outsourced, and the accessory items are manufactured from our assembly floors," AlMarzouqi says. With its retail spots also in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Signature Yashmagh has achieved a financial turnover of AED2 million in 2021 so far- a number that AlMarzouqi expects to rise to AED3 million by the end of the year.

Mishal AlMarzouqi, co-founder, Signature Yashmagh. Source: Signature Yashmagh

This success can be attributed to AlMarzouqi's vision for the firm. While Signature Yahsmagh's business model itself is quite straightforward and simple, it is his ambition to keep the Emirati tradition alive through a combination of comfort and luxury, which is perhaps the biggest differentiator when it comes to the firm's presence in the market. "Signature Yashmagh has inherited a proud culture, full of tradition, and it is with emotional respect that we endeavor to preserve and celebrate our heritage," he explains. "Our aim is to connect traditional attire with contemporary craftsmanship, and to connect timeless values with the lifestyles of today, and in doing so, to inspire stronger bonds between what has gone before and what is envisioned for tomorrow."

Signature Yashmagh's store in Dubai Mall. Source: Signature Yashmagh

Related: Shining A Light On The UAE's Culture: VIP & Protocol Events Management Makes A Mark As The First All-Emirati Events Management Company

The craftsmanship that AlMarzouqi alludes to appears to be a key focus of the firm's operations. Be it with its pursuit of valuable customer feedback, or its constantly reinvention of designs to ensure comfort and quality, AlMarzouqi explains that his firm pursues perfection in all facets of a shemagh's design. "We question, combine, reinvent and innovate, to deliver exacting standards of design and production," he adds. "We test all our materials and constantly fine-tune the process in making each shemagh. We ensure that we utilize only the highest quality fabric with precision stitching tailored for this region's climate, and are continuously evolving in order to incorporate the latest innovation and deliver a truly one-of-a-kind shemagh."

With innovation and digitization having always been a part of the firm's operational fabric, it is no surprise to learn that Signature Yashmagh managed to scrape through relatively unscathed by the negative ripple effects that was felt by the retail industry during the COVID-19 crisis. "Digitization is a core aspect of our business, and as we expanded, we made it a priority to integrate all aspects of our business from inventory to shipping into a central digital platform," AlMarzoqui says. "We saw a tremendous spike in online sales and more of our customers engaging with us through our various digital platforms during the pandemic. But the biggest challenge we faced was ensuring products were delivered on time. So, we worked closely with the logistics company, and also informed all of our clients before ordering that there might be a slight delay. Most importantly, we thanked our clients for their understanding!"

Source: Signature Yashmagh

Having recorded a strong growth in the past year, the firm is now in the process of further expanding its operational base in the coming months. "We are in the process of adding a couple more retail outlets in select prestigious malls in Dubai in the last quarter of 2021, and expanding our footprint to Abu Dhabi and other Emirates in 2022," AlMarzouqi reveals. But amid all of the success, AlMarzouqi maintains that preserving and celebrating Emirati tradition remains the focus of Signature Yashmagh. "We hope to contribute to our culture by producing only culturally-inspired products with the highest quality, as well as by developing complementary products, such as the subha, that symbolize and honor the traditional aspects of the UAE," he concludes.

Related: Risk And Reward: How The UAE's Smart Entrepreneurs Are Putting Their Money To Work (Even Amid A Crisis)

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Writer, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Writer at Entrepreneur Middle East. She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and is also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program. A self-proclaimed bibliophile, she has a penchant for chai, cricket, and all things BTS. 

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