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Manal Al Sharhan

Manal Al Sharhan is an Emirati designer who just launched her first collection in Dubai, showcasing her unique style at a women-only fashion show attended by several royals from the Emirates. Our own Editor-in-Chief was

Manal Al Sharhan is an Emirati designer who just launched her first collection in Dubai, showcasing her unique style at a women-only fashion show attended by several royals from the Emirates. Our own Editor-in-Chief was in presence and we couldn’t wait to catch up with the up-and-coming designer in person. We’ve had a coffee with Manal and picked her brain to discover what inspired this elegant lady to get into fashion with such a notable launch.

What is the inspiration for your brand?
It is the woman in the 50’s where you can see the richness of the clothes and the femininity of the lady. Today that image still inspires many to look feminine, beautiful and elegant.

It is this image that is the main idea behind my collection.

What do you think about Arab fashion in the region?
I think the women in the Gulf are very fashionable. They know what to wear, and have reached the level of fully understanding the quality and tailoring of high end fashion.

I feel that my collection will suit them well as well. My clothes are modest and even though there is a cut and they do reveal a little bit, they are still covered and are very elegant.

How do you hope to contribute to the market?
My clothes are couture, yet are ready to wear-they are a mix of two. The quality of the pieces is very high; you do not have to go and make a couture piece, with Manal Al Sharhan you can find ready-to-wear pieces that are timeless in their style.

So what was the hardest part of this journey for you?
The hardest thing is the production. In the UAE, it was very difficult to find a factory which is ready to do the quality of stitching that I was looking for. As a start, I knew I didn’t want to do mass-production so I wanted to start in the UAE. I wanted it to be made in the UAE; you can find that all of my pieces have a label “Made in the UAE.”

Eventually I had to do my production twice as I was not satisfied with the first factory

I found. Then, el hamdoulilah, I found the right place to work with, however we still have to make it by hand as haute-couture to get the level of stitching that I need.

Professionally speaking, is there anybody you look up to?
Ralph & Russo for their pieces have elegant and understated cut. I love the idea of showing lay-like beauty through a simple cut. If it’s too much, it becomes confusing. Many women,

I have seen, believe that the more the better; I tend to believe otherwise. Through simplicity, a lady’s beauty can truly shine.

What are your plans for the future?
Actually, my main focus at the moment is to build a good presence in the country with customers from this region. I have experience in making abayas, jalabiyas and caftans, so

I have my database, however I would like to introduce Manal Al Sharhan to the customers and grow from there. I would like to then target some big stores in Dubai and, hopefully, go international shortly after that, especially Los Angeles. I feel the Hollywood clientele are perfect for my clothes.

www.manalalsharhan.com

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