Celebrated annually on August 28 for the past six years, Emirati Women’s Day marks an important day in the year to highlight their achievements. This year, in line with UAE’s 50th anniversary, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak – also known as “Mother of the UAE” – announced that the theme will be ‘Women: Ambitions & Inspiration for the Next 50 Years’.
Thanks to the UAE’s efforts towards female empowerment, Emirati women continue to excel and break barriers. They now hold leading positions across the nation, and have also competed in the Olympics. In 2017, Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum became the first Emirati royal pilot and earlier this year Nora AlMatrooshi was selected as the first female Emirati astronaut. These incredible women been smashing gender barriers every year, and deserve to be celebrated in every form.
In the creative industry too, there has been a significant rise in Emirati female-run businesses that span the realms of fashion design, beauty, jewelry design, and F&B. There is no better way to celebrate this special day than by supporting these amazing women’s creative ventures. Savoir Flair takes you through seven businesses that we have supported through the years and continue to do so.
Alia Bin Omair
Alia Bin Omar, an award-winning Emirati jewelry designer, is known for her experimental take on jewelry design. Her inspiration comes from her country’s rich heritage and its topography, and she often opts for using materials sourced from the UAE itself. Most of her designs are made-to-order and boast beautiful craftsmanship.
Her debut collection titled ‘Tears’, which launched a few years ago, drew inspiration from the native Frankincense tree and its naturally formed fragments – leading to pieces that are raw and artistic. We are currently eyeing the ‘Double Leaf Necklace‘ from her ‘Leafs’ line that references local palm trees. In 18K gold, this delicate yet statement necklace is one that will never go out of style.
YNM by Yasmin Al Mulla
Yasmin Al Mulla isn’t your ordinary local designer. The co-founder and creative director of the label YNM has collaborated with various international brands like Christian Dior, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, and Rene Caovilla, making her one of the most influential Emirati designers in the country. When it comes to her label YNM, Al Mulla designs clothes that women can wear decades later. Her breezy dresses are as stylish as they are timeless, and are made in the UAE.
She is also known for her contemporary take on the abaya, which is an essential part of the Khaleeji woman’s wardrobe. Her abayas, which can easily be worn casually to elevate any outfit, are made from the most luxurious fabrics with some of them boasting feather sleeves.
No. Fifty Seven Boutique Café
What started out as an invite-only secret supper club by friends Buthaina Al Mazrui and Alamira Noor Bani Hashim, eventually turned into a cult café with two locations. These Emirati friends have taken the F&B scene in the country to another level with their boutique cafés, which serve food that is as Instagrammable as it is delicious. The interior is also worth mentioning, with its earthy tones and modern furniture.
The first No. Fifty Seven Boutique Café opened in Abu Dhabi a few years ago, and last April, Buthaina and Noor opened another location at Mall of the Emirates inside THAT Concept Store. This Emirati Women’s day, we highly recommend you head there for their famous activated-charcoal pancakes followed by the lobster rolls – you’ll thank us later.
Designer Roudha Alshamsi launched her eponymous interior and product design studio in 2017, and her strong identity as an artist influences her designs. Each design is a work of art in the way it is created and presented. In recent years, Roudha explores furniture design through artistic approaches creating art-like furniture. While Roudha continues to work on many commercial projects and residential projects, she also designs a small range of home-decor pieces that reference various aspects of Emirati culture and the country’s natural environment.
We absolutely love her ‘ZOR‘ vase, which was inspired by local palm fronds and has the most interesting shape. Made from resin in a combination of white and transparent pigment, this would be an ideal gift for the special Emirati woman in your life.
The Boutique Kitchen
Emirati restaurateur Nahla Wali, who also happens to be a mother of four, won’t let anything stop her from sharing her love for food with the people of UAE. Nahla, who had a career in finance for 17 years, launched her first restaurant Asma in 2018 at Dubai Mall, which focused on Middle Eastern fusion food. The success of Asma lead to her opening the highly popular eatery, TBK at Galleria Mall on Al Wasl, which features Italian-American cuisine.
However, her third venture, The Boutique Kitchen, focuses on comfort food, and is how we would like to celebrate Emirati Women’s Day. Think southern-fried chicken that makes a crunchy sound with every bite, comforting Mac & Cheese, or a classic American cheeseburger – all made from the finest ingredients on the market of course. We recommend ordering in from the restaurant for a leisurely meal at home.
Cult beauty brand Shiffa Beauty celebrates clean beauty, and is the brainchild of the renowned Dr. Lamees Hamdan. The Emirati founder launched her Dubai-based brand back in 2004, and has since then gained a serious following, which also includes Kim Kardashian. Inspired by ancient Middle-Eastern traditions, Shiffa products often use Rose, Jasmine, and Frankincense – all of which are part of beauty rituals from the region.
So successful is the brand that it is not only stocked in Sephora stores within the GCC, but is also available in Nordstrom in the US, making Dr. Lamees an inspiration to the women of the UAE. We are a huge fan of Shiffa’s ‘Healing Balm‘, which is made from a secret blend of 15 healing plants and is a multi-purpose cream that heals the skin, helps with hydration, eczema, and psoriasis, and also works magic on burns or cuts.
The brainchild of H.H. Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan, the granddaughter of UAE’s President and the great-granddaughter of the country’s founding father, H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, MKS Jewelry’s collections embody a rich Emirati heritage and the spirit of the UAE. Not only is MKS Jewelry an ode to Emirati culture, but the brand also uses locally sourced materials and strives to empower Emirati women. Jewelry with Arabic typography and pendants carved in the shape of the UAE map are what make MKS Jewelry truly unique. Elegant designs with great attention to detail are at the heart of MKS Jewelry. You can shop MKS Jewelry here.