Naushad Dodhia, abaya tailor
‘The best fabric we use for an abaya is called soalon, and it’s shipped from Japan. We don’t source any material locally. The average price for a plain abaya is Dhs300, and the most expensive one we sell is Dhs1,400 and covered in Swarovski crystals. It’s called a Bahraini abaya – I guess because that’s what they wear in Bahrain.
‘A style that’s popular at the moment is the abaya with gold weave on the lapels and cuffs. It’s become more trendy in the past year. We get the weave imported from Indonesia. ‘We serve mainly local women. They bring in pictures from magazines of abayas that they want us to make. The strangest design that’s been requested? We call it an Aladdin: it has the Indian-style loose pants underneath. The longest abaya we make? It’s 62 inches long. And we don’t have to make different ones for summer or winter – the ladies just wear more or less clothing underneath.’
Fida General Trading, Satwa Road.
Nasser Al Mari, falcon breeder
‘In 2002 I started breeding falcons. My uncles were all involved with breeding when I was growing up. For a few years I was doing hybrid falcons, but now I just do Gyr falcons. I like the colours of the birds – they can be dark grey with white and silver. I also like the speed of the Gyr falcon. However, it’s difficult to breed these birds because of diseases and viruses, and the humidity causes a problem.
‘To judge a good falcon, we look to see if there are any feathers broken and check there are no problems with their feet. Sometimes they get bumble foot – it’s like human corns. You always take the falcon to a vet to check the respiratory system and look for fungus or blood diseases. The vet will tell you whether this is a correct falcon for training or whether he will give you trouble.
‘Falconry is part of our culture, and has been here for a long time. My grandfather had to catch his first falcon in the desert as it was migrating from Iran.’
National Falcon Centre in Nad Al Sheba is a souk that sells falcons, equipment and books. Al Hurr Falconry Services (04 327 0070) is located at shop 18.
Massoud Ahmed, dishdasha tailor
‘The different colours of the dishdasha is really just fashion, but most people like white. The younger generation are actually moving into darker colours at the moment. Dark blues, browns, greys. Underneath the dishdasha you wear a T-shirt and also elasticated trousers, or you can wear a piece of fabric wrapped around your waist, which looks a bit like an Indian lungi.
‘The different khanduras can be clearly identified. A Kuwaiti style has a clear collar on it, while the local style is a little less fitted, is of a stiffer material and has a decorative tassel. ‘I am from Pakistan and have been in this shop for 20 years – Al Madani Fashion has been going for more than 40 years. It’s the oldest tailor here in the UAE.’
Al Madani Group of Tailors, Satwa Road.