Five UAE Homegrown Fashion Labels You Should Follow This is what we love most about being in the land of opportunity- the rise of local budding artists and fashion designers who incorporate our rich local heritage into their designs.

By May Rostom

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The UAE has always been famous for its housing of ultra-luxurious labels- after all, the multi-diverse country is home to the world's biggest shopping mall, The Dubai Mall, which boasts over 1000 of the best brands from around the globe.

However, there is no doubt that in recent years, the UAE has seen a shift in this conversation, with a nod toward localization of famous brands (see the Dolce and Gabbana abayas, or the Nike hijab), while also avidly creating a niche market for homegrown designs to rapidly flourish.

This is what we love most about being in the land of opportunity- the rise of local budding artists and fashion designers who incorporate our rich local heritage into their designs. Especially after the surge of social media influencers and user-generated content, local consumers have become increasingly experimental, not shying away from trying a logo-less brand. Here are five UAE-grown fashion designer labels you should be keeping an eye on.

1. BAMBAH Maha Abdul Rasheed started Bambah 10 years ago as a boutique business. The designer, who is a self-proclaimed vintage lover, sources fabrics and materials from all over the world to create one-of-a-kind flirty pieces, right out of her Jumeirah Beach villa in Dubai. From off-shoulder lace gowns to statement bows, polka dots and vintage-inspired mid-length organza skirts, Maha's aesthetic is a perfect mix of beauty, fashion, and extravaganza.

2. MADIYAH AL SHARQI The Fujairah-based eponymous brand, owned by the daughter of the ruler of Fujairah, H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, garnered a celebrity following including Alessandra Ambrosio, Kim Kardashian, and Karolina Kurkova. Madiyah Al Sharqi launched her label after graduating from the prestigious French fashion university Esmod, and interning under renowned Lebanese designer Abed Mahfouz. From effortless eveningwear with an updated edge, to colorful timeless silhouettes, Madiyah's regal style has something for everyone.

3. MOCHI Flirty, young, and seasonless are all words that come to mind when describing Ayah Tabari's design ethos for Mochi. Spotting a Mochi from miles away is not very hard to do. Her polychromatic prints, light-weight fabrics, and ultra-feminine cuts, really carved an identity for the Mochi brand. The avid designer/traveler sources fabrics from all over the world, finding inspiration from locations she's visited, and her travels act as both a signpost for her work, and as a resource for finding artisans to help craft her clothing.

4. DULCE BY SAFIYA Originally a US-based influencer, Safiya Abdallah has been making waves with her designs not just in Dubai, but around the world. Besides being the creative director of Dulce by Safiya, a brand worn by the likes of Gwen Stefani, she is also a partner and designer at Lohan by Lindsay Lohan, a modest clothing line being developed by the Hollywood actress.

5. BOUGUESSA Launched by French-born designer, Faiza Bouguessa, this art-inspired label has been on the market for only five years, and it is already a soaring success. Fans of the brand include Beyonce, Priyanka Chopra, and recently Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, who wore a Bouguessa on the red carpet in Cannes.

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May Rostom

Curator, Entrepreneur Café

May Rostom is the curator of Entrepreneur Café, a new daily digest of stories from Entrepreneur Middle East to fuel your day at work. 

May has been in the fashion journalism field for more than five years, with over 500 articles published in online and offline mediums. Working closely with some of the biggest fashion brands in the region, from creating, curating, and developing content to aggregating and pitching for content from several fashion and beauty outlets in the Middle East, Rostom’s experience is multicultural and vast. She was formerly a senior lifestyle editor/writer at MSN Arabia, and she has also worked with TRESemme Egypt as a fashion expert.

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