Style versus comfort and appropriate dress sense is a trial to pull off in Dubai. One lawyer has taken on the job of factoring in all three with her clothes range.
It’s a problem that many city professionals can identify with. You want to make the right impression, but corporate wear can be heavy and hot, and even day-to-day dressing in the city is hard to balance in the heat. High-street fashion often mimics that of Europe and is far less conservative and almost certainly wouldn’t strike the right tone for your business dealings.
It might feel like there’s a conflict between modesty and comfort, but one woman believes differently. In 2011, Kiwi lawyer Judith Hobby had suffered one too many sultry days, so decided to try designing a range of practical clothing suited to the UAE climate with the decency regulations and fashion trends of the country firmly in mind. After attempting to source pieces from overseas, Judith found it increasingly difficult to get her hands on appropriate items and so instead opted to have a go at designing a few simple pieces herself.
She sold her entire collection in 24 hours. But just how do you transition from being a city lawyer to an in-demand fashion designer? Well, you start by having a unique selling point for your line.
‘I like to design clothes that are both stylish and comfortable. I don’t believe that these two things are mutually exclusive,’ Judith says. ‘I have also taken into account that the UAE is conservative. We need clothes that move with us and also that we can wash easily.’
The Judith Hobby line often involves full-length, lightweight pieces: jumpsuits, maxi-skirts and wrap tops. The pieces are predominantly made from sheer materials. ‘I like to work with jersey as it flows wonderfully and is super-comfortable to wear,’ Judith explains. ‘It suits the drape of my style and lends itself to layering, which is key to my design. I also work with butter crepe, which is a great fabric that is soft and floaty but also durable.’
What’s also unusual about Judith Hobby pieces is the one-size-fits-all approach she adopts. Because the pieces have loose lines, sweeping necklines and are airy, they generally fit sizes UK eight-14. The idea is that the pieces are versatile. ‘The material I work with is very forgiving and I cut my designs so that they flow,’ she says. ‘This means they fit a multitude of shapes and sizes. Of course, not everything fits or suits everyone and different styles are more appropriate for certain shapes, but generally speaking, most of my clothes fit a range of sizes.’
In the majority of cases clothes are styled in neutral tones, tans, blacks, navy and white and for those looking for those extra fashion tips the Judith Hobby Clothing website also offers styling advice on how to best mix and match pieces. Judith has recently launched new lines including the popular ‘Natasha’ dress. She says, ‘I’m always creating new pieces and the new ones are always my favourite. But as a classic I love the Trinity jumpsuit; you can dress it up or down, and it’s fabulous to travel in.’
Clothing, accessories and style advice are all available on the Judith Hobby Clothing website.