Two regional designers give us the down-low on their new Ramadan collections. Jenny Hewett investigates.
Designer: Hatem Alakeel, designer of men’s label Toby. Saudi Arabian
Price range: From Dhs2,000.
With women, there are no limitations on how creative you can be, but with men, there are certain restrictions. When designing for women, you can be more elaborate with detailing and embellishments whereas with men you have to go easy on too much glitz as it will not appeal. This collection is all about deconstructing the thobe and turning it into a fashion must-have by using colours and on-trend jewelled trimmings. A few of my pieces are very much in line with the seasonal monochrome trend. Ramadan is our high season as it’s custom for everyone to have a new thobe for Eid and I get many requests for bespoke designs. This makes it a hard and challenging time but I love that. It’s a great time for spiritual cleansing and yes, I do fast. One month out of the year for fasting is always good for the soul and spirit.
Glam On You
Designer: Nadine Arton, 37, German, based in Dubai
Price range: Dhs2,400 to Dhs4,800.
I wanted to create something very elegant, concentrating on the intricate hand-woven and hand-embroidered details that glam up the more traditional kaftans. With the cuts being more conservative, I wanted to have fun with embellishments and details, using gold and ivory colours to create a funky abstract print. When designing, the first thing I consider is that anything I design respects the Holy Month by ensuring the cuts are conservative yet making sure the designs are as glamorous and stylish as my other collections. You also have to think about the heat at this time of year. I work hard on making sure the fit is loose, yet at the same time, flattering. Ramadan is hectic as we have a lot of clients that order custom-made pieces for their Eid celebrations.
What should men wear?
‘Men don’t particularly need to cover up more than normal, but it’s respectful not to wear shorts, or tank-tops while praying.’ Hatem Alakeel, designer