Designer-24 Makes Its Debut in Jordan

Designer-24, Jordan, Aya Barqawi, Reina Haytham Khoury, Dua’a Hani, Maya Abdullah
We spoke to four Jordanian women setting the trend in fashion

While the spell-binding magnetism of Jordan’s Ancient City draws in one crowd, the city’s modest and discerning style set are enticing another. As online rental platform Designer-24 marks its debut in the region – making luxury wear accessible, whilst nurturing the notion of sustainability – we speak to four Jordanian women with a mindful approach to fashion. Paying tribute to their heritage, they manage to give their style authenticity, and as musician and influencer Reina Haytham Khoury tells us, “With every look, part of an individual’s story is unravelled.” Here, Bazaar unravels the culture-infused sensibilities behind the way these women approach style.

Aya Barqawi

24, Jordanian, content creator, photographer & TV host

Aya Barqawi wears: Dress, Dhs1,357, Naeem Khan at Designer-24

“Fashion has been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was born in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, and grew up in Jeddah, then moved to Amman as an adult, and during my studies lived in Europe. That journey has influenced and changed my style in so many ways. Of course modesty plays a huge part in the way I dress, and that stems from my beliefs, but I’m also influenced by the places I’ve been to, the people I’ve met and our rich heritage. I feel that the style of the women in Jordan is very much influenced by culture and tradition, which makes it unique. It’s definitely modern and contemporary, but we as Jordanians take huge pride in our heritage. We also rarely ever wear the same dress twice — which is why it’s important that Designer-24 gives new life to these pieces – it makes luxury fashion accessible and the fact that it’s sustainable aligns with everything I stand for. We’re showing our wallets and the environment some much deserved love. My own wardrobe is a mixture of classics, vintage (thrifted or borrowed from my parents’ closet), and pieces that I’ve made myself, so I guess that makes my style rather eclectic, too. I find Katharine Hepburn inspiring, she was unapologetically unorthodox, broke fashion norms, and set trends of her own that were forever engraved in fashion. Growing up, as a modestly-dressed Middle Eastern woman, I wasn’t seeing myself in the content I was consuming, so I hope to lead by example. My ultimate goal is to be able to inspire, to end fashion intimidation and have people see a part of themselves in me.”

Dua’a Hani

29, Jordanian, stylist

Dua’a Hani wears: Coat and trousers, Dhs1,763, Jad Maison De Couture. Earrings, Vanina Jewelry at Designer-24. Shoes, Dua’a’s own

“I was born in Amman, Jordan. My mother always thought that I would become an artist, and she always pushed me to get what I wanted because the goal was always to find myself. During my childhood I visited all the provinces of Jordan and this led me to see the difference and beauty behind it and to understand how important that is. I was also brought up before the age of technology, and that gave me the opportunity to feel all the small details of life. Culture plays a big part in my career now, too. Jordan is so rich in history and this brings with it colours, designs, and oriental touches from all over the region. I have no fear when it comes to fashion. I will wear everything new and trendy, but without departing from my original identity. I have a picture of me when I was five years old wearing a houndstooth skirt and a red velvet jacket decorated with a brooch. Every time I see that picture, it reminds me how much I love clothes. I remember The Sound of Music in the background while looking in my mother’s closet. Fashion has been, and is, an integral part of my life. I’m inspired by winter, nature, all the little details in the real world, the buildings in the old town — which remind me of vintage designs — history and so much more. Jordan is a place with a remarkable diversity when it comes to fashion, we have a lot of smart and talented people in the industry. But, what I really love is the authentic part of it, and how we show tradition in a very modern style; we stay connected.”

Reina Haytham Khoury

23, Jordanian, musician and influencer

Reina Haytham Khoury wears: Dress, Dhs955, Moe Shour at Designer-24. Earrings, Reina's own. Shoes, Reina's own

“My personal sense of style has always been my mode of self-expression. I was born and raised in Amman, which I am truly grateful for, as I grew up understanding and appreciating my Arabian culture. I’m an extremely curious person — we’d plan family trips every year to explore different parts of the world and my style has definitely been influenced by that exposure. It’s all about being eccentric with bold colours and new trends, while maintaining an elegant look. The best way to describe Jordanian style is ‘simple and elegant’, much like that of Queen Rania. I’m influenced by everyone around me, from Audrey Hepburn ­— I love her elegance and her ability to make simple looks stand out — to current Instagram bloggers, such as Caroline Daur and Camila Coelho. Embroidered Arab dresses have always been an integral part of Arabic culture, and they definitely influence my personal sense of style, too. I dress according to my mood, the weather and environment, and I’m also influenced by the art and architecture around me. The first place that comes to mind when I think about architecture is Petra, and the combination of cultural influences that enabled the Nabateans to shape their own style and portray the power and beauty of their magnificent city. With every look, part of an individual’s story is unravelled as their personality shines through. It makes me happy expressing myself as I tell my own story by sharing my style with the rest of the world.”

Maya Abdullah

26, Jordanian, gym owner and fitness trainer

Maya Abdullah wears: Dress, Dhs918, NF By Nour; Necklace, Vanina Jewelry at Designer-24. Shoes, Maya’s own

“Fashion has always been a part of my life. My first career was as a model, which I started when I was 18 years old, mostly modelling for ateliers in Amman. This gave me a deeper appreciation of fashion and the craftsmanship involved. Although I was born in Amman, Jordan, I have always had a passion for travelling. I’d consistently be out of the country discovering what I love best and exploring. I would describe my style as cute, humble and daring, all at the same time. You could probably say I’m quite grungy at times, too, depending on my mood. I don’t have a specific formula, I just go with the flow and dress to reflect the way I feel. I admire the likes of Queen Rania, Alexa Chung, Chiara Ferragni, Susie Lau and many, many others, but who inspires me really depends on my mindset that day. My style is definitely more conservative because of the culture I’m surrounded by. And it’s also influenced by the old culture of Amman and the way that it was modernised so uniquely — how you can mix bedouin and very edgy, contemporary pieces together. I love the amount of diversity that is around the country, you can literally find everything in Amman from hijabi fashion down to modern couture. What I want to share with my followers and the rest of the world, is that fitness influencers and personal trainers, and all the others in the fitness field, do have a sense of fashion as well, we’re not always in leggings and a sports bra.” 


Photography by Avo Markarian

Prices approximate. Designer-24 prices for three day rental.

Lead Photo: Aya Barqawi wears: Dress, Dhs1,543, Needle & Thread. Shoes, Aya’s own. Dua’a Hani wears: Dress, Dhs1,726, Elie Saab. Earrings, Dhs330, Alexandra Hakim. Shoes, Dua’a’s own. Reina Haytham Khoury wears: Dress, Dhs1,946, Catwalk Couture. Earrings, Alexandra Hakim. Shoes, Reina’s own. Maya Abdullah wears: Dress, Dhs771, La Mania. Earrings, Dhs585, Alexandra Hakim. Shoes, Maya's own. All at Designer-24

Styling: Karma Malhas

Make-up: Pierre Lahoud

Hair: Jean Lahoud 

With thanks to Sufra Restaurant, Jordan

From the April 2019 Issue of Harper's BAZAAR Arabia  

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Designer-24, Jordan, Aya Barqawi, Reina Haytham Khoury, Dua’a Hani, Maya Abdullah