With the holy month finally underway, you may be in search of wardrobe items that fit Ramadan’s modest standards. Based in Dubai, contemporary Saudi designer Arwa Al Banawi is keenly aware of the needs of her clients as they adopt more conservative lengths, having recently launched a collection that ticks all the right boxes.
Inspired by and named after the fictional 1960s boutique, Al Banawi’s spirited ‘Hotel Casa Malana Part 2’ collection imagines her muse getting ready to jetset off for an Eid vacation, packing a capsule wardrobe of resort-ready kaftans and modest shirtdresses that are both functional and fashionable. In Savoir Flair’s exclusive interview with the designer, below, we discuss Al Banawi’s personal Ramadan traditions, survival tips, and more.
What are your longstanding Ramadan traditions?
For me, Ramadan is a month of spiritual reflection and when family, especially extended family members, reunite. We always spend the first day of Ramadan at my grandmother’s house, praying Taraweeh after Isha prayers. Iftars and suhoors are always spent at home; we rarely go out to restaurants. Certain food and beverages like Arabic coffee and dates with laban are tradition in Ramadan. Similarly, musk perfume and oud scents naturally become a daily necessity.
How do you spend your Ramadan nights?
Mostly with family and close friends – and, of course, at my studio in d3. I have my own schedule in Ramadan as I prefer to work after iftar or Fajr prayer.
If you were to check in somewhere local for a weekend staycation, where would it be?
Dar Al Tawhid Hotel in Makkah.
What are your favorite suhoors and iftars in Dubai?
I always spend iftar and suhoor at home or at my friends’ homes, but one place that I can confidently say has great food and reminds me of my grandmother’s cooking is Al Mandaloun in DIFC.
What are your Ramadan survival tips?
I cut out coffee three weeks prior to Ramadan since I get migraines when I don’t have coffee for six hours. I also wake up at 4 a.m. for suhoor before I start my fast, so I can keep up in the morning. There is only a minor change in my daily routine as it’s become natural to me and I’ve gotten used to practicing it.