First Choice Abayas – from classic to catwalk
“Ladies in the UAE are extremely fashion conscious but also very respectful and traditional. Being able to combine these two almost contradictory positions into a single garment has been the challenge we have set ourselves. The way we have gone about it is to focus on cut, style and colour. For our collections we now look at the themes and positioning of the global fashion industry. If Paris is trending ruffles and neon or Milan’s spring collections are featuring lace and denim, we will feature these in our Abaya collections. We are literally taking from the catwalk and providing the essence of the great design houses in classical, beautiful and elegant Abayas. It allows our discerning and knowledgeable clients to show that they are current with Valentino or Prada, or are following the new season colours of New York or Paris.”
To be able to provide this new generation of designs, Dr Malik has employed a retail specialist from the UK, Jennifer Davie, who has been leading the change in approach and strategy. Jennifer is very clear about what she is trying to achieve:
“I may know exactly what is happening in New York, London, Paris and what is trending season-on-season, but the important part of my work is understanding how this will translate into the local and regional Abaya industry. It is no good having a vision if this does not lead to sales. So, we have sought out exciting young designers based in the UAE who know what their peers and friends want and have the ability to translate cutting edge fashion into traditional garments. We are just about to launch two new collections which I think are stunning and will put First Choice back at the forefront of GCC and international Abaya design”.
The collections are by Wardah Al Harkan and Layla Bisharah. Wardah Al Harkan is a young Saudi fashion designer who has worked with numerous fashion houses in Saudi Arabia.
Wardah’s first collection is based on the cultures and traditions of the Gulf. She combines dentelle, silk, sequins and crystals, to make beautiful garments which link Arabic patterns and forms with references to international design genres. By focusing on the elegance and grace of the materials and using high quality hand embroidery, she believes the collection reflects the modern gulf. It is the balance between the old and the new which makes her pieces so exciting.
Layla, who has just completed a fashion design course at Central Saint Martins in London, also has a mix of regional and international influences which mean her designs fit perfectly with the creative ethos that drives First Choice.
Layla’s first collection is delicate and romantic, using ruffles to create a visually appealing and stylish textured garments. She combines her love of cut, form and detail, with the tailoring skills available at First Choice to create a collection which many people believe will be admired for many years.
“Every year we see Abu Dhabi becoming more international and a leader in many business areas. The growth and development of the country is a real testament to our leaders. As a business man I want to make sure that the UAE is always a leader and an innovator. Our ability to combine cutting edge design in beautiful traditional garments in many ways reflects the global positioning of Abu Dhabi.” concluded Dr Malik.
Futouh Al Khair, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 639 3630
Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 681 9206
Khalidiyah Mall, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 635 4414
Town Centre, Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 344 9194
Mega Mall, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 6 574 2772