Homegrown fashion designer Arwa Al Banawi grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but chose Dubai to put down her roots. Having developed her unique sartorial vision into one of the city’s most respected brands, with fans like Layla Kardan, her ready-to-wear collections are the ultimate combination of ease and style.
With her studio located at d3, Al Banawi produces her collections with a small team of tailors and uses the studio as both a showroom and sample archive. Granted access to shoot the Arwa Al Banawi studio as part of our #InsideD3 series, we learned more about the space through an exclusive interview, below.
What is the primary function of your studio?
I make most of the samples here. My fabric gallery, meetings, and inspiration are held in the studio – it’s my own little haven.
What inspired the interiors of your studio?
I love a raw aesthetic, as you can probably tell. I believe that when you keep a place naked, it shows confidence. I love mixing colors and prints. I love the art, as most of the pieces are either old photos of my grandmother and my family or paintings from friends who are artists. My dear brother, Badr, [also] made me two paintings. I love open ceilings and neon lights as they remind me of Ocean Drive in Miami. The interior designer who helped bring my vision to life is a dear friend named Mai al Humrani, and she designed the studio.
What are your favorite aspects of the studio?
I love how the collection pops. I kept the studio raw and industrial; it creates a beautiful contrast. I love the colors red and topaz blue. I love the marble table that I designed with my contractor. It’s the work table that my team and I sit at to discuss plans for the year. Every piece is handpicked by me – from the carpet and small trinkets to the paintings. I am always barefoot in my studio, so I eat my lunch standing up, walking around, and working my way from corner to corner.
The suitable woman is an unconventional, feminine, clever, and driven woman.
What does a “suitable woman” mean to you?
The suitable woman is an unconventional, feminine, clever, and driven woman. She’s her own hero, and her confidence is her backbone. She’s real, bold, and artistic. She’s comfortable in her own skin. I got so tired of seeing women changing their face every two months and thinking this is confidence.
The suitable woman knows there’s good in moderation – with your attitude and with your looks. Mostly, she’s comfortable, and that’s why I love to make designs for the woman who doesn’t care to look good for just a man. She looks good for herself, she empowers women around her, and she’s a leader.
Photographer Shukhrat Gafurov Editor-in-Chief Haleh Nia Head of Content Noor Tehini Head of Production Maya Itani