For the first time, Omani fashion designers Amal Al Raisi and Buthaina Al Zadjali were part of an exciting new concept of modest fashion, at the ‘Modest Fashion Festival’ in London, recently.
London based journalist Rabi’ah M. writes about the event and the designers.
One of the major fashion hubs in the world, which is celebrated for its exceptional new trends, is London, a multicultural city; it is here that an event such as the Modest Fashion Festival seemed to perfectly fit and provide an ideal platform to celebrate modest fashion for the modern Muslim woman. There were a variety of fashion designers from around the world who participated, including Meryem Boussikouk (Morocco), Hengki Kawilarang (Indonesia), Vivi Zubedi (Indonesia), Raishma (UK) and Mira Indria (Indonesia) followed by Omani designers Buthaina Al Zadjali and Amal Al Raisi.
As a brand, Bthaina can be defined as modern and feminine with exquisite details for women worldwide. According to Buthaina, her decision to participate in the Modest Fashion Festival was to test the international market and present her designs. As she explains: “Since my rebranding, I have had success in this market and believed that it would be interesting to do something outside the Middle East. It is within this context that the Modest Fashion Festival was seen as an ideal venue and audience fit for my brand.”
Amal Al Raisi’s brand, on the other hand, mainly consists of ready-to-wear and capsule collections for every season. “So far, my main source of inspiration for my collections is Oman and its beautiful heritage, allowing me to share a classic tale and the importance of its history,” she states, pointing out that she chose this event for various reasons. “I believe it provides a completely new perspective in regards to modest dressing, offering elegant demureness to women. I was specifically interested in giving a new poised emotion towards this. Furthermore, this was an excellent opportunity for me to display to an international audience what Omani fashion was all about; this was pivotal for me,” she notes.
The concept of fashion holds great importance for Buthaina who believes that “it is all about designing elegant yet comfortable pieces, which are sought to be confidently worn. I think being able to prevail and express personality, whilst deciding an individual’s identity through what they wear, is most important.” This view is also shared by Amal, who comments: “Fashion to me is all about expressing your identity aesthetically.”
When asked about how they both managed to stay updated with fashion, Buthaina explains that the role of social media is very influential in inspiring her. “It keeps me abreast with the latest trends on a local and international level. When designing, I trust my moods and instincts…” Interestingly Amal takes a different approach by following the trend forecast: “Ultimately I am able to speculate my colours, fabrics, textures, materials, graphics and prints that I plan to present on the runway and in stores for my upcoming collections,” she explains.
Defining her personal style, Buthaina maintains that she likes a calm, classy and comfortable style; albeit one that expresses her penchant for embellishments. “I have this personal desire for embroidery and embellishment coinciding with materials, which are dainty and delicate,” she adds. Amal, meanwhile, prefers a style which accentuates a lot of comfort and luxurious fine detailing. “I also focus on current trends, which keep me updated,” she states.
Talking about her participation in the Modest Fashion Festival, Amal expresses her joy in being a part of this first of a kind event in London. She says, “I was ecstatic to showcase my Omani heritage in such an iconic city to a wonderful international audience, which made me feel proud… This is such a prestigious global platform showcasing diversity at its finest.”
Buthaina, however, had no expectations, but was determined to make an impression. “I wanted to test my collection in an international market; I was certainly looking forward to a positive feedback. I was very overwhelmed with the positive reaction I received,” she states.
The festival proved to be an excellent platform for the two designers since they were able to act as brand ambassadors of the Omani heritage. The outcome of the overall event was simply fantastic; the attendees were excited to see something unique and appreciated the creative work and innovation of the talented designers.
All photos by David Jensen.
Check out this link for other Omani fashion designers.