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    International Women’s Day: 7 inspiring GCC-based fashion designers

    From fashion to accessories, female designers are taking the lead in the fashion industry.
    As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, Emirates Woman speaks to six noteworthy designers based around the GCC on how they’ve made their mark and how they wish to continually inspire the next generation of women as they occupy unique positions in the fashion industry.
    Lilian Afshar@lilianafshar

    The internationally celebrated brand – L’AFSHAR, founded by creative director Lilian Afshar has gained worldwide popularity due to its minimal impact on the environment while designing meticulously crafted bags.
    What inspired you to become a bag designer?

    The love to create with the business part just following.
    Who have been your mentors throughout your career?
    My mother who runs the business with me has been a working woman since the age of 18 and her experience has been key in the growth of the brand.
    Whom do you admire in the fashion industry?
    Christine Centenera. I really admire her style, her work at a leading fashion magazine and her brand Wardrobe NYC.

    How do you think women can be empowered through the world of fashion?
    There’s a lot the fashion industry can do to empower women for example creating jobs, mentoring other designers while also building skills and knowledge.
    How do you show support to the women in your life?
    By being there for them emotionally, as I think it’s really important to constantly lift each other up.
    The message you would like to share this International Women’s Day?
    I’d like to share a poem by Rupi Kaur:
    “what’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn?”That since day one, she has already had everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not.
    What do you hope to see change or progress for women in the next five years?
    Gender equality in the workplace. I’m happy to be living in a country that enforces equal pay but there are a lot of countries that still need to implement this.
    Safiya Abdallah@dulcebysafiya

    With chic modest fashion and tailored silhouettes for women to freely embrace themselves Dulce by Safiya was born.
    What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
    I was inspired by the world of fashion from a young age. My mom was a witness to the number of outfit changes I has per day. However, after wearing the hijab, I realised it was tricky to find the right clothing to express myself, especially with the limited options available in a shopping mall. I then began designing for myself, after which people around began to question my pieces and I was then convinced to start my own line.
    Who have been your mentors throughout your career?
    I’ve learned a lot through trial and error, more so than mentors. After hearing no a lot, more than I hear yes, I didn’t let this stop me from fulfilling my goals as I’m a firm believer that nothing and no one teaches me the same way experience can.
    Whom do you admire in the fashion industry?
    I admire many designers in the industry, however, the first regional designer I took inspiration from was Faiza Bouguessa, as her brand was showcased in the first regional show I visited in 2017, when Dulce was still in its infancy and I immediately fell in love with her work.
    How do you balance your home and work life?
    Currently, it’s a lot less balanced since the pandemic as I’m trying to be more connected to my children more so with them growing up so quickly but expect some new Dulce dropping soon. It’s been a slow process since COVID, however, I’m enjoying the slow pace so much more.

    How do you think women can be empowered through the world of fashion?
    Women can be empowered through fashion by finding clothing that speaks to their soul. I know when I create something and the feedback I get is glowing it makes me proud and empowered by empowering another fellow female to feel great and look beautiful.
    The message you would like to share this International Women’s Day?
    Don’t be afraid to celebrate other women’s accomplishments. When I was younger I remember feeling alone and as though many people forgot me or just didn’t care to celebrate my accomplishments. When you find those rare gems of women who do celebrate you, don’t forget to appreciate them when they win! Remember God is good and never forgets those who can share positivity, love, and support!
    Arwa Al Banawi@arwaalbanawi

    Arwa Al Banawi proudly celebrates Saudi Arabia through her contemporary and edgy collections. Always looking ahead and creating for the next generation, her approach has not only hit the spot with the regional clients but also with the global fashion scene.
    What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
    I’ve wanted to be a designer since I was a little girl. I remember waiting for my mother in her dressing room, watching her get ready before she goes out, was fun for me as I played with her shoes and clothes. It was a dream of mine to make clothes for beautiful women to make them feel special when they would embrace by designs.
    Who have been your mentors throughout your career?
    My parents have mainly been my mentors. As my mother is an artist and a chef, she loves fashion and is an amazing stylist. She never goes wrong with all her style being inbuilt in her DNA. My father on the other hand is my mentor in business and entrepreneurship as he’s really my role model, while being an art and food connoisseur as he suits himself up in well-tailored clothes. My dad was my first teacher when it came to suiting, he knows the subject well and took me to many tailors in Italy to watch them in their charming ateliers. I travelled the world with my parents and became inspired with the more I saw and I also got inspired to always bridge east and west in my brand, it’s who I am.

    Whom do you admire in the fashion industry?
    I admire a really special woman, Deena al Juhani Abdul Aziz, she was the first fashion icon to have come to my showroom in Paris and shown her support, You never forget the people who support you in your beginnings, I also really admire Firras from faux consultancy as he believed in my brand and I launched my debut under his agency consulting me the first few years and I’ll never forget those days those people that believe in what they saw in me cause in the beginning it’s always a rush of emotions and it’s scary but good scary of course and you are also discovering.
    How do you balance your home and work life?
    While being a hyper enthusiastic person by nature during the day along with being busy and also being relaxed on the end as I enjoy my cosy time with close friends and family. It’s important to set some personal time at least once a week and hustle on the other days as for me that’s my balance.
    How do you think women can be empowered through the world of fashion?
    The entire purpose of fashion is all about empowering women, there’s no segregation in the world when it comes to colour, figure, ethnicity as you open the pages as see a world filled with beauty from around the world with women from all walks of life as it’s all about their stories.
    The message you would like to share this International Women’s Day?
    I would say embrace your confidence, stop looking at other women you barely know and stop comparing yourself with them. Everyone has their own story. Before you turn 30, work on yourself as your 20s are about knowing yourself and your 30s are about applying that and sticking by it. It’s important to have your own set of principles, which differentiate you from the crowd in order to build a strong foundation with your core values as there’s nothing more attractive than confidence and nothing more inspiring than a gracefully intelligent woman.
    Huda Al Nuaimi@nuaimi_collective

    Huda Al Nuaimi is a luxury ready to wear and accessories label embracing change with each and every collection.
    What inspired you to become a fashion and accessories designer?
    My mother was a print designer for Liberties and while living with her in London, I grew up watching her go through endless fashion magazines, creating patterns and hand-drawn prints. Initially, I never understood her fascination, however, as I grew, I learned a lot from her and grew a passion for it. Despite getting a degree in fashion, watching her gave me the ability to become a cross border designer which means one who specializes in fashion, accessories and print.
    Who have been your mentors throughout your career?
    As design students, you focus a lot on showcasing your creative ability, which is sometimes unwearable. My teachers at London College of Fashion (LCF) are considered my mentors as looking back now I realise how relevant their advice actually was, especially as they taught me to balance design and wearability in the real world.
    Whom do you admire in the fashion industry?
    I admire many as fashion reinvents itself constantly with the times and I believe everyone adds value in their own way, therefore I could not put my finger on one, as it can be the creativity of young designers or the know-how of the established designers.

    How do you think women can be empowered through the world of fashion?
    Fashion empowers women in many ways as it is the way you dress and present yourself, therefore fashion is a mode of communication to the world.
    How do you show support to the women in your life?
    I love to teach the new generation my know-how and experience, through intern programs and hope they can use it to be great designers.
    What do you hope to see change or progress for women in the next five years?
    There is room for everybody in the industry, every designer has their time to shine therefore it is vital to celebrate, respect, learn and support each other’s achievements to see the industry move forward.
    Haya Jarrar@Romani.official

    Our December cover star has her own brand Romani, where she embraces an element of 1960s-inspired vintage flair in each piece.
    What inspired you to be a fashion designer?
    It wasn’t something specific that inspired me to become a designer, it was something in me since a young age. However, a lot of things inspire me while I am creating.
    Who have been your mentors throughout your career?
    I went through the journey of learning things with ROMANI on my own – and it’s a beautiful journey to go through. It is such an empowering thing to experience because when you go through it on your own, you realize that what you need in life in yourself and your own story when it comes to success.

    Whom do you admire in the fashion industry?
    I admire any person in the fashion industry that managed to make art while staying true to themselves.
    How do you think women can be empowered through the world of fashion?
    It’s more than fashion empowering women, it’s giving them the tools that will allow them to express themselves in a way that is comfortable for them and let their personalities shine.
    How do you show support to the women in your life?
    I praise the women in my life and encourage them a lot. I also love reminding them of their worth and their assets. You can’t imagine the power of a positive word.
    The message you would like to share this International Women’s Day?
    There is a lot of pressure on women nowadays. From perfect skin to perfect hair and bodies and also perfect motherhood and success, which is all portrayed on social media. These things don’t actually exist in real life and demotivate women. So now, more than ever, we need to support one another; the women in your life and even the ones you don’t know. Whether supporting them morally, emotionally, or physically. We need to support them personally and in business as well.
    What do you hope to see change or progress for women in the next five years?
    For women to be able to dress the way they want, speak the way they want, and portray themselves the way they want without fear of being judged.
    Dima Ayad@dimaayad

    Dubai-based Lebanese designer Dima Ayad has created pieces where you can expect a  multi-functional wardrobe brimming with timeless elegance.
    What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
    I would say, I inspired myself as I struggled to find clothes that would fit me every time I thought of a beach day or a gala dinner as I would panic instead of getting excited, mainly because nothing fit. With no such clothes insight.  Being on the healthy side, I rarely found pieces in the 18 – 20s range, hence, I started designing my own clothes and everyone would ask me where they were from, so I then dabbled with my own label and Voila Dima Ayad became a size-inclusive label.
    Who have been your mentors throughout your career?
    My mentors were always game-changers who never stood for the status quo. Women like Ashley Graham, designers like Rabih Kayrouz, Albert Elbaz, and really unique individuals such as Piccioli. In addition, my mother most certainly who drove me.
    Whom do you admire in the fashion industry?
    Stella McCartney, Piccioli from Valentino and Albert Elbaz from his time at Lanvin.
    How do you think women can be empowered through the world of fashion?
    To make women feel a sense of belonging. As there’s a strong sense of this when one feels that can be themselves in anything. In fashion, inclusivity shouldn’t just mean a runway moment for the standard beauty norms. It should mean that these sizes are available in stores and you do not need to hunt for them, making them not just available online. That all shapes and sizes of women are embraced, that fashion is thought of with all sizes in mind, and not just following a size graduation grid.

    How do you show support to the women in your life?
    You do so by being there for them, listening and by also setting an example for however many women follow me. It’s always a struggle to find a plus-sized model for my shoots, but I insist on it every time as I want the women in my life to see and feel where they belong, while they envision themselves in one of my pieces by seeing themselves in it.
    The message you would like to share this International Women’s Day?
    Women supporting women is a phrase commonly used but rarely applied. To really support women is to stand up and knowing that doing so doesn’t take away from you as a woman. If you don’t like the direction your life is heading into, stand up and challenge to change it.
    What do you hope to see change or progress for women in the next five years?
    I hope we stop focusing on the first women achieving particular accomplishments and rewarding female achievements to simply achievements. It’s important to start thinking that we are in fact equal and moving in that direction. I really hope to see women really supporting each other – not just during the month of March, but all the way through.
    Faiza Bouguessa

    What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
    Aside from being surrounded by women in my family that introduced me to the world of fashion very early, I was always very sensitive to all sorts of arts as a child and I learned from my grandmother how to sew and knit from a very early age. My mother started buying me fashion magazines quite early in my teen years, I guess that she sensed a strong interest in me. I used to go through them over and over again. Growing up in France also had its impact as Fashion is an important part of the culture of the Country.
    Who have been your mentors throughout your career?
    Rolland Mouret has been a great mentor to me.He once told me: “Your freedom starts where somebody else’s stopped”. It was resonating a lot for me at that time as I was wondering if I had taken the right decision to work on Modest wear.
    Whom do you admire in the fashion industry?
    Coco Chanel! I admire the way this little woman influenced ALL women from her era. She was dedicated in making them feel comfortable in what they wore. She created the timeless trend of all times.Apart from her, Stella McCartney for the way she has managed to build an amazing brand and her approach to sustainability. Victoria Beckham because of the great businesswoman she has become and she really has defined a strong brand identity over the past years, and Karl Lagerfeld because I loved his personality and consistent success.
    How do you balance your home and work life?
    I think the best way to create balance in your life is to split your day in 3 times 8 hours. 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work and 8 hours of personal life.
    How do you think women can be empowered through the world of fashion?
    I like to think that fashion inspires and elevate the confidence of the women. In order for women to feel empowered, liberated by fashion they need to have the influence that fashion can be anything you want it to be and that way it will be something to celebrate.

    Any message you would like to share with the women out there on this International Women’s Day?
    Know what you want to achieve, believe you can achieve it, and work night and day to achieve it. Do it with integrity and don’t forget to give back to others.
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Feature image: Instagram  More

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    International Women’s Day: 30 exceptional women EW continues to champion

    As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021, Emirates Woman takes a look back on just some of the exceptional women we have championed and will continue to champion.
    Ghizlan Guenez

    Ghizlan Guenez is a determined entrepreneur with tenacity and grit. Last year, she made the difficult decision to let go of her start-up The Modist. However, she’s as still as determined as ever. She believes this is what embodies having self-love, making the correct choices, even if they might be difficult ones. “To me, loving myself takes different forms: the discipline to be healthy and workout, the ability to disengage with a toxic conversation or person, the strive to constantly grow and learn as a person,” she previously told EW. “Self-love is about making the right choices for you even when they’re not the easiest.”
    Raha Moharrak

    Raha Moharrak became the first Saudi woman to scale Everest back in 2013. Throughout her career, this adventure-seeker has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Vinson, Mount Elbrus, Aconcagua, Kala Pattar, Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl. “There’s nothing wrong with failing, the only shame is not trying something new,” says record-breaking climber Moharrak. As a pioneer for Arab women, Moharrak truly is paving the way for change for future generations in the region in whatever field it may be.
    Her Highness Sheikha Sana Al Maktoum

    In August 2020, Her Highness Sheikha Sana Al Maktoum launched her eponymous brand Sana Al Maktoum Fine Jewellery. However, her jewellery brand is so much more than just jewellery, Her Highness is encouraging women to find their inner strength through one treasured piece at a time. Her first collection for Sana Al Maktoum Fine Jewellery entitled ‘My Treasure’ is an ode to her late grandmother, using butterflies as the symbol.
    “Butterflies are symbols of transformation and beauty and she grew up at a time when options were limited for women, but she didn’t let that stop her,” Sheikha Sana she told EW in our exclusive interview with her. “She found a way to shine and to help others shine which is why I consider her a treasure.” Sheikha Sana also explained that each piece is “designed to be worn alone or layered together, each creation honours the memory of a remarkable woman and encourages the wearer to embark on a journey to find her own inner treasure”.
    Yasmin Baker
    Emirati aerialist and aerial Nike brand ambassador Yasmin Baker is all about breaking down stereotypes. “There are so many Emirati and Arab women who champion bravery and dispel stereotypes about capability and about the region in general,” she previously told EW. “It is so empowering for the current times and for this part of the world. Arab women have worked hard to break the ice in politics, academia, business, science, sports, arts and to normalize the idea men and women can achieve if we are resilient.”
    Sayyida Hakima Al Said

    Sayyida Hakima Al Said, founder of jewellery brand HAK The Label, is continually trying to implement positivity and gratitude into her life. “I try to see the good in any situation and am learning to just relax and not take anything personally,” she previously told EW. “Practising gratitude and showing more appreciation is also really important for staying positive.”
    Nayla Al Khaja

    She is the first female film director-producer in the UAE, while also being the CEO of Nayla Al Khaja films. Having directed several movies, they have been presented with awards at various international film festivals as she is also very active in the TV commercials domain, while also constantly directing for various international brands.
    Asma Hilal Lootah

    As the founder of the Hundred Wellness Centre, Asma Hilal Lootah is paving the way in the wellness space in the UAE. The Hundred is the first fully certified health clinic and wellness centre, which opened in 2008, and now champions wellness in the mind, body and soul for all around the UAE.
    Dr Nadia Bastaki

    There’s not many women that can say they’re paving the way in a male-dominated field, but this rings true for Dr Nadia Bastaki – the first Emirati woman to be registered as a specialist in Aviation Aerospace medicine. As the Vice President of Medical Services at Etihad, she is not only leading the way in the field for women, but has also been on the frontlines to ensure the health and safety of travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, Dr Bastaki’s role has been “magnified and multiplied enormously”.
    In terms of women supporting women, she believes that each and every individual can learn from one another. “I think every woman has a bravery story to tell whether she is a housewife, entrepreneur or pursuing her career – we learn from each and every one of them,” she said. “Every woman today has a powerful story to tell and we should be encouraged to hear and learn from each other experiences.”
    Haya Jarrar

    Our cover star for December’s – ‘The Party Issue’, Haya Jarrar, is all about hard work and determination, especially when it comes to her brand ROMANI. “I will continue to work hard on ROMANI and grow it further,” she previously told EW. “Nothing brings me more joy or positivity like watching my brand grow and seeing what I imagine become a reality. And I will continue to surround myself with positive and inspiring people.”
    Captain Salma

    Captain Salma Al Baloushi is the first Emirati female to rise to First Officer’s rank at Etihad Airways. In 2020, Captain Salma spoke to us about what it takes to become a woman of firsts.
    “We get our mental obstacles from people around us who try to downgrade and discourage us from going ahead with things they’re not familiar with,” she said of her journey to success. “People kept telling me aviation was not for me, or this field was only meant for men, but my batch mates believed the opposite. It’s exhausting, but with the right support of your family, your company and a good understanding of the work environment, it’s possible.”
    Her Highness Sheikha Latifah Al Maktoum

    Gracing the cover of September’s – ‘The Power Issue’, Her Highness Sheikha Latifah Al Maktoum. As a truly powerful and inspirational figure, Her Highness knows exactly how to keep her mind in champion mode.
    “I learned I can only control what I can do. I can only control my actions, not my surroundings or other people’s actions,” Her Highness said on overcoming challenges. “So why get frustrated by things you cannot control, it will not change anything? You have to make the best of every situation and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel even though sometimes you cannot see it.”
    Her Excellency Dr Maryam Matar

    Having had the dream and desire to serve in the medical field since she was young, Her Excellency Dr Maryam Mohamed Fatima Matar MD, Ph.D has become a pioneer and a visionary in the healthcare space in the UAE.
    Not only is Her Excellency a pioneer in the medical space, she is a role model for many women in the UAE seeking to succeed, whether that be in healthcare or other industries. Additionally, she’s able to facilitate change, paving the way for other women and girls in the region. “My role as the Chairperson of UAE GDA and being the most powerful women scientist, gives me huge opportunity to make change and influence decision-makers to bring more learning and career opportunities for girls and women,” she told EW.
    Alison Loehnis

    Alison Loehnis, President of Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter is an incredible woman and a true power player. Combining an innate sense of style with one of the sharpest minds in the industry, we previously spoke to her about what it takes to continually stay one step ahead and perpetually innovate in an industry as fast-paced as fashion.
    Khulood Thani

    Khulood Thani, cover star for October’s – ‘The Bravery Issue’, combines her entrepreneurial spirit and extensive experience in culture and design and is focused on bringing innovative global fashion to an international platform. “I always trust my gut feeling, I have a special connection with the universe around me, and I like to follow the messages it reveals to me,” she told us.
    Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia

    Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia Bint Majid Al Saud has made it her life’s mission to help others, particularly advocating for women. Through her incredible philanthropic work, Her Royal Highness is changing the world, one incredible story at a time. “If you are fortunate enough to have access to resources or a raised platform, it is your responsibility to support and empower those who are not as fortunate,” she told Emirates Woman.
    Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini

    Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini is the managing director for the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) and has been vital in the development of women’s sport in the Kingdom. She was right at the forefront when the Saudi Greens Team, which became the first Saudi women’s team ever to join an international event. In 2019, the Greens competed in the Global Goals World Cup (GGWCup) – a tournament that was launched to champion the role of sport in achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) No. 5.
    Al-Husseini is incredibly proud of the change that’s happened in the Kingdom, and she only hopes this continues, she told EW in 2020. “I hope to see more Saudi women become the faces of sport in Saudi,” she said. “Already we have a few very well-known professional athletes and some fitness professionals that are very well-known at the community level as well.”
    Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum

    Our cover star of November’s – ‘The Fine Jewellery Issue’, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum is inspiring the new generation of incredible women having risen to great heights in the aviation industry. “I’m most proud of becoming the first Emirati woman to join the Dubai Police as a helicopter pilot,” she told us of her proudest moment. “Serving my country by doing what I love doing most is simply the best feeling, and I am deeply grateful for it.”
    Alia Al Neyadi

    As the first professional Emirati ballerina, Alia Al Neyadi is a creative and passionate human being who pours love into whatever she does. ‘Love is life, it is living and being in this mystery and adventure we call,” she previously told us. “Everything we do is for love and everything we feel is because of love. All my decisions have been based on my love for my art, love makes you brave and committed to the journey ahead, because without love, we are empty.”
    Lyndsay Doran

    Entrepreneur and founder of L’Couture Lyndsay Doran is all about fitness and wellbeing, which led her to launching her own brand. “I have always been extremely passionate about fashion and a consciously athletic, and active person,” she said. “I was in search of a unique product which delivered both fabric and fit, which was unavailable in the market. So, I decided to innovate and design it myself.”
    Aseel Al-Hamad

    From being the founder of IDegree Design, an integrated interior design agency to becoming the first woman to be appointed as the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, Aseel has become a voice of female motorists in Saudi Arabia. With not much exposure to driving due to the legal restriction for women driving, Al-Hamad took full advantage of the opportunities that came her way and proved to be a success.
    Fatma Al Otaiba

    Designer Fatma Al Otaiba started this year (and new decade) with a bang, by launching her new luxury brand ODEEM. For the last 10 years, Al-Otaiba dreamt of starting her own handbag brand. The Dubai-based luxury label which aims to focus on timeless leather goods. Combining tradition with eclecticism, the designs draw on different textures and details that are sure to turn heads.
    Last year, Al Otaiba taught us about many things to do with mindfulness and gratitude, what it takes to be an entrepreneur and her pride for being an Emirati woman.
    Ola Farahat

    Our cover star for May’s – ‘The Mindfulness Issue’, Ola Farahat is a rare combination – educated, beautiful and incredibly down to earth. With 1.2 million followers on social media, Farahat is the perfect example on how to stay mindful and grateful. Despite having been in the social media space for many years, she explains it’s still a “dream”.
    “I just pursued my hobby and believed in it,” she told EW. “I appreciated every person who admires me because they made my dreams come true.”
    Rania Fawaz

    As the cover star for ‘The Summer Escape Issue’, Rania Fawaz showed us on a 12-hour shoot in 45-degree heat that she is focused, free-spirited and unfailingly hard-working. As she’s built her name in the social media space she told us how there is “no off switch”.
    “I think the key to being sane is always to be yourself across all platforms, that way it was not draining and I didn’t feel like I had to have time for myself,” she said. “I feel like the entire day is time for myself because of the way I choose to be.”
    Areej Al Hammadi

    Making history as a Guinness World Record Holder for the most football ‘hotstepping’ in one minute, Emirati footballer Areej Al Hamadi discussed with us her brave steps towards normalizing women playing football in the region.
    Her Highness Sheikha Intisar AlSabah

    A member of the royal family, Her Highness Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Ali AlSabah is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, author, film producer, columnist and more. She’s an inspiration to many while empowering Arab women who’s at the forefront of her decision-making. She’s also the founder of Alnowair which is a positivity initiative and a non-profit initiative considered to be her biggest contribution to date to her beloved country.
    Salama Khalfan

    Salama Khalfan, the founder of her eponymous brand Salama Khalfan Fine Jewellery, is a woman who is incredibly proud of her country. “Everything about the UAE makes me feel extremely grateful to be from this nation,” she previously told us. “The fact that the UAE in the past 49 years has undergone so much development and growth on a multitude of scales which creates a strong sense of adaptability in its people. I feel thankful that I am from a country that does not believe in the impossible.”
    Amna Al Qubaisi

    Known as the first Emirati female racing driver, especially as she’s no stranger to breaking new ground in motorsport with the Emirati driver making her name during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Al Qubaisi’s success at Yas Marina Circuit was one of the major milestones in her motor racing career.
    Yasmin Al Mulla

    It takes grit, determination and hard work to follow your true passion in life. Yasmin Al Mulla, the Creative Director of YNM Dubai, knows exactly what it takes and she’s determined to represent the UAE in the fashion industry on a global scale. “I am very driven to positively represent the UAE within the global fashion market,” she said. “From a creative perspective — I to create strong products, to modernize our classic kaftans and to create homegrown ready-to-wear pieces that speak to today’s generation and to focus on high-standard craftsmanship and lasting quality.”
    Sheikha Dana Al Khalifa

    This Bahraini fashionista has gained worldwide attraction for her supreme clothing choices. While making a statement on every occasion, it’s inspiring to see how she’s grown over the years. She’s also a businesswoman, lawyer and entrepreneur.
    Her Excellency Reem Bin Karam

    Her Excellency Reem Bin Karam, continually gives back to the UAE community. Particularly when it comes to raising breast cancer awareness. In her role as the chairperson of Pink Caravan UAE, Her Excellency explained how breast cancer can occur in both men and women, the main aims of Pink Caravan, the importance of early detection of breast cancer and more.
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
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    Gigi Hadid makes an incredible runway comeback at Versace show with sister Bella

    Gigi Hadid has made her comeback on the runway after giving birth to her first child six months ago.
    The supermodel, alongside her younger sister Bella Hadid, took part in the Versace Fall 2021 show which took place at the Milan Congress Centre.

    To mark the incredible return, Hadid both opened and closed the show, showcasing the fashion house’s latest collection.

    Showcasing a series of bold looks, a standout for Hadid was her all-black ensemble where she wore a tight mesh embellished long-sleeved top paired with a mesh skirt and a pair of platform boots, with an electric blue makeup look to complete it.
    Taking to Instagram to share her delight at returning to the runway, the 25-year-old mum said it was an “honour” to open and close the Versace show, referring it to being the “best comeback”.

    “Mostly just lucky to be healthy, working, and in a safe/tested environment to hug so many I’ve missed like family this past year,” she added. “Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially my Italian Taurus queen Donatella Versace.”
    Welcoming their new baby girl
    Hadid and Zayn Malik announced the birth of their first-born baby, Khai, via social media back in September.
    The new mum took to Instagram to announce the news shortly sharing a sweet photo of her daughter’s hand.

    “Our girl joined us earth-side this weekend and she’s already changed our world,” she captioned the photo. “So in love.”
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Gigi Hadid Instagram More

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    12 wellness based accounts to follow on social media this month

    March’s – ‘The Wellness Issue’ – Download Now 
    A curated list of who to #follow this month.

    Sneakers made differently, infusing each stage of production with a positive impact.
    Mysk Al Faya retreat@myskalfayaretreat

    A luxury sanctuary in the heart of the desert surrounded by impressive and enchanting dunes.
    Ninety Percent@ninety_percent

    The sustainable womenswear label created with the intention to approach fashion differently while sharing 90% of profits.

    Gwyneth Paltrow platform focuses on the highest quality non-toxic formulas, ensuring clean beauty is at its forefront.
    Reform Athletica@reformathletica

    A plastic-free fitness space offering the signature reform method in a calm, tranquil setting.
    Honest Beauty@honestbeauty

    Cruelty-free, Toxicologist audited and plant-derived products make Honest Beauty a go-to in terms of wellness.
    Etihad Airways@etihad

    Creating your personal sanctuary between the clouds as you explore the world with confidence and total peace of mind with their new wellness programme.
    Melissa Wood Health@melissawoodhealth

    The MWH Method sculpts beautiful long, lean lines throughout your entire body using precise, low-impact movements for optimized flexibility.
    Deliciously Ella@deliciouslyella

    Celebrating plant-based living in all its forms.

    Melbourne-based aaizél designs seasonless, elevated wardrobe staples largely inspired by European art and architecture with sustainability at its core.
    Victoria Health@victoriahealth

    Home to a highly curated edit of the best supplements and niche beauty products that deliver results.
    The Giving Movement@thegivingmovement

    The cool, UAE-based activewear company is committed to using sustainable, recyclable fabric made from wastewater bottles and certified organic bamboo for each item produced.
    March’s – ‘The Wellness Issue’ – Download Now 
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Supplied More

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    March’s – ‘The Wellness Issue’ with Bottega Veneta

    March’s – ‘The Wellness Issue’ – Download Now 
    Words & Creative Direction: Amy Sessions
    Photography: Greg Adamski

    Fashion Assistant: Sarah Joseph
    Hair & Makeup: Ania Poniatowska at MMG artists

    With special thanks to The Flying Saucer, Sharjah Art Foundation
    Welcome to The Wellness Issue.
    We are extremely proud to have partnered with Bottega Veneta for this month’s cover shoot in Close Knit. Texture play and a bold colour palette proved the most fitting partner to the location – Sharjah Art Foundation, where outstanding ’70s architecture juxtaposed against the modernity of Bottega Veneta’s Salon 01 collection.
    Thank you YA, TT and AR, for your partnership in making this happen.

    In this issue, we focus on all things wellness related from optimizing your body’s functionality in The Gut – A Guide, the benefits of cryotherapy in Sub Zero, the power of data-driven wellness in Track & Trace and some of the most incredible women we know discuss their approach to health and overall wellness in Good Practice.
    With a focus on the wellness of the planet, we feature sustainable brands from Australian label aaizél in Substance & Sustainability to an exclusive interview with Co-Founders of Veja, Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion in Ethical Soles.
    For beauty, we look at one of the best support systems for the body in Quality Sleep, health-boosting supplements in Back Up and compile the best edit of cruelty-free beauty brand in Mindful Beauty.
    The Wanderlust features an exceptional edit of the best detox resorts around the globe while closer to home Mysk Al Faya makes The Perfect Retreat to relax and unwind.
    When it comes to wellness, a holistic approach is ideal – happiness is an inside job. 
    March’s – ‘The Wellness Issue’ – Download Now
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Supplied More

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    I’m an Expert Amazon Fashion Shopper—Here Are The Items I’d Buy Right Now

    As with most things in life, I’ve always approached Amazon fashion with a “you win some, you lose some” mentality. Sure, I’ve always known that somewhere out there, there were pieces that could rival those I’d spend four times the price on elsewhere, but to find them I knew I’d have to sift through a lot of losses.But as quarantine has pushed our team into a world of exclusively online shopping, we’ve turned to Amazon and their two-day shipping more than ever to fulfill our retail therapy needs—and it turns out they’ve upped their fashion game more than we ever could have imagined.
    From a faux-leather shirt jacket that’s gotten us endless compliments to sweaters that we’ve been living in for months on end, these Amazon pieces have transformed our wardrobes over the past few months. The best part? Our wallets are thanking us for it.


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    5 Things to Buy Before Spring Arrives

    Despite what the weather might imply if you take a peek out of just about any window in the continental United States right now, February is coming to a chilly close, which means one thing: spring is on the way.Yes, we’ll probably be shivering and wearing our snowboots through March, but the time to stock up on winter gear has finally passed, and it’s time to look forward to brighter, happier days—and get our closets stocked too. (I don’t know about you, but after this quarantined winter, I don’t know that I’ve ever looked forward to spring this much.)
    Ready to strip off your layers of wool and down coats to reveal something lighter and brighter? Here are five places to start:

    1. Wide-Leg Pants

    Millennials, don’t get your panties in a bunch just yet. (It’s worth noting that I, albeit a young one, am also a millennial, so there’s no reason to panic here). Your skinny jeans can stay at the top of your stack of jeans if that’s your cup of tea, but if you’re looking to try something fun and new, a pair of wide-leg jeans or trousers were made for you (it also doesn’t hurt that they’re basically one step up from sweats). Think: full lengths, high waists, and legs just a bit wider than your straight jeans.


    2. Minimalist Knitwear

    For the perfect transition from winter to spring wear, invest in the minimalist knitwear trend. Rather than the chunky, oversized sweaters and cardigans we’ve been bundled up in for six months, these are thinner, lighter, and tighter. Bonus points if you wear a matching knit bra-top layered underneath.


    3. Bridgerton-esque Prints

    Yes, I know, “florals for spring,” and what not, but really, what is spring without some floral wardrobe pieces? This spring’s are more in your face than years past, with dreamy floral prints that will take us back to our favorite Netflix binge.


    4. Eyelet Lace

    In a move that feels like the polar opposite of our loungewear, feminine, dreamy eyelet lace is making its way onto the spring scene. The detailed, larger cutouts make just about any piece they adorn look a little more interesting, and could be in the running for your first non-winter walk around the block.

    5. Something Pink

    After a long, dark winter, nothing sounds better than the bright, chilly colors that spring is offering us this year, and at the top of that list is bubblegum pink. If you’re still hanging onto your sweats, trade out a grey pair for one in the hue; or if you’re ready to wear real clothes again, opt for a top or dress that you’ll reach for all spring and summer long.


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    The Adventurer – Raha Moharrak

    February’s – ‘The Love Issue’ – Download Now
    Creative Direction: Amy Sessions
    Photography: Žiga Mihelcic

    Videographer: Steve Erana
    Fashion Assistant: Sarah Joseph

    Hair & Makeup: Melanie Meyer at MMG artists
    Location with special thanks to Mleiha Archaeological Centre, Sharjah
    With a passion for adventure since she was young, Raha Moharrak has never taken no for an answer when it comes to doing what she loves.
    “There’s nothing wrong with failing, the only shame is not trying something new,” says record-breaking climber Raha Moharrak. As a pioneer for Arab women, Moharrak truly is paving the way for change for future generations in the region in whatever field it may be.
    With a keen love for adventure since she was young, Saudi-born Moharrak has gone on to become the youngest Arab and the first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest. She’s also conquered the Seven Summits – the highest mountains of each of the seven continents around the world.
    Truly passionate about being a role model and changing things for the better, Moharrak spoke to Emirates Woman to discuss her love for climbing, the huge responsibility she feels being a role model and her hopes for a bright future for women in the Middle East.
    Can you talk us through your climbing expeditions?
    I started at a very young age to dream of going on crazy adventures. I never imagined that my level of adventure would take me to this crazy life I have now – I’m so grateful for it. I just started by doing whatever I could. Being active by doing scuba diving, horseback riding, swimming – anything I could. Then I started this crazy mountaineering career which slowly snowballed into an awesome adventure. I started with Mount Kilmanjaro which was my first official mountain and then from that, I slowly finished the Seven Summits. In short, I just started as a child always dreaming of adventure.
    What ignited your love for climbing?
    I’ve just always had a love of adventure and it just happened to manifest into climbing as an adult. For as long as I can remember I’ve just always been very adventurous and very bold in my quest to live a life that was driven by curiosity. So, my love for mountaineering just evolved as I grew up. Mountaineering was the perfect answer to my love of adventure. It was s outdoors, it was athletic, it was unknown to me, it took me to different countries. It ticked all of the boxes I wanted. It’s an evolution and manifestation and deep desire to travel the world and live with an insatiable appetite to discover new places and things.

    What do you love about what you do?
    So many things! I’m always driven by a passion. I’ve never been the type that follows a paycheck or anything like that, I’m driven by passion. That’s what I love about my life, I’m always learning something new. I’m always going to new places, I’m always challenging myself and that’s what makes life beautiful to me. This love for the unknown, this love for learning. I never get bored. Whenever I get a little bit tired or a bit jaded, I go back to the essence which is the deep love I have for adventure and that feeling it gives me – it fills me with joy and that’s why I love it so much.
    You’re a woman of many firsts. What is it like being a woman in this region to pave the way for others?
    This is a tough one! I feel such a huge responsibility. I feel a huge weight on my shoulders knowing that people look up to me, that young girls look up to me. It also feels incredible and I’m honoured. Every time I think about it I actually get a little bit nervous and I get goosebumps thinking about the impact I have because we all have responsibility. This is especially true if you have a platform where you have people following you and you have the space to share your voice make sure you use it for good, for something positive. Don’t just be a passenger in life. Have a voice and help others. Sometimes it really hits me when I get messages from people all over the world that I’ve touched so many lives – it’s truly an honour and humbling.

    What are your hopes for women in the future?
    Call me a hopeless optimist but I have lots of aspirations for women in this region. I truly think that my generation, we have just scratched the surface. We have just cracked the ceiling, just opened the doors. It’s the next generation’s responsibility to go through those doors, to shatter those ceilings, to make my accomplishments and my records seem like nothing. I can’t wait for the next generation of women to have an incredible leap forward. I have so much hope – the future is bright!
    What do you love about being a role model?
    I love that I get to change the story. I love that I have a hand, however small, in changing the story for women. I love that I can help those that are like me, that come after me, so they don’t have to suffer like I did. I took all the hits, I took all the bullets in order for them to pass freely. So, I love that about my life and being a role model. I love that I’m able to pave the way for the next generation of women behind me. It’s the same for me, I couldn’t have gotten to where I am now without the women who came before me. I really take it to heart whenever someone says I’m a role model, it’s such a big responsibility for me and I don’t take it for granted.
    What advice would you give to young women in this region?
    My advice for everybody is to not fear failure. Don’t see it as an ending, see it as a beginning. See it as a challenge, not as a put down. There’s nothing wrong with failing, the only shame is not trying something new. I always encourage people to go out and try something new. I would rather have 100 failures, than no failures, no attempt, no chances, no new experiences. Most people don’t even start something because they are riddled with fear, and that’s a terrible thing that you could do to yourself. So, don’t fear failure!

    What have been three hurdles you have experienced in your career?
    I have more than three! I would say breaking stereotypes, breaking stigmas, proving people wrong when they have the wrong idea about you. Challenging myself. Believing in myself when less than a handful of people believed in me. And staying motivated, happy and positive. I know it’s corny to say, but staying positive doesn’t come easy at all.
    What have been three major milestones in your career?
    A lot of people would assume it’s conquering many mountains around the world, which is partly true. But it’s also staying true to myself; being a rebel and unique and original and still having my parents’ love. It’s being content in who I am and not conforming to anyone else’s standards. There are so many things I’m proud of and, to be honest, the majority of them can’t be put on a mantle or in a frame, because it’s down to mindset and the acceptance of oneself and having a love for life. Of course, I’m very proud of my sports career and all of the records I carry, but the ones I’m proud of the most are hard to touch and can’t be quantified.
    This is ‘The Love Issue’ – what does love mean to you and how do you plan to instil love into your life throughout 2021?
    I think human beings have decided to coin the word love for anything that they cannot describe, or have a hard time describing. Love is the moments that can never be described to anybody, besides the person you shared that moment with. Love is the words with the eyes and not the lips. Love is the moments that define us, that make us who we are. Love is what makes me wake up every morning trying to be hopeful, positive and happy, even though sometimes it can be difficult. But I have a love of life and a passion to live a memorable life, to live happy and true to who I am. Love is what you give yourself. It’s hard to describe, but it is definitely the essence of what makes us human.
    February’s – ‘The Love Issue’ – Download Now
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Supplied More