Local Heroes: Reema Al Banna's Take On Fashion Forward 2019

BY Olivia Phillips / Oct 17 2019 / 11:24 AM

After a three-season hiatus, Dubai's preeminent catwalk event, Fashion Forward, is back. But is it better than ever? We spoke to its resident designer Reema Al Banna in part one of this three-part series...

Local Heroes: Reema Al Banna's Take On Fashion Forward 2019

Reema Al Banna 


“The progress towards making Dubai the next big fashion capital is ongoing and it’s beautiful to see how far we’ve reached. I founded my brand, Reemami in 2010 and I was one of the first to explore ready-to-wear in the region, as at the time it was quite congested with haute couture designers. It was also pretty difficult at the beginning to find the right artisans and factories who were able to meet international standards. Since then, I’ve loved watching the region change and grow.

What we need now is to get more investment for small-to-medium fashion companies based here. It would be amazing to not only have platforms like Fashion Forward for showcasing talent, but to open up community centres for designers that include factories, artisans and fabric suppliers. I also envisage being able to create healthy conversation between designers and buyers,but, more importantly, to encourage everyone to start thinking about sustainability, how to create forever pieces – the ones that are going to be passed down from generation to generation – and the best ways to work and produce here, by shopping from small suppliers. That’s something that is so important to me; and it’s this kind of meaning that I try to weave into my brand.

It’s all about finding your identity and signature, and creating things that make your heart sing. I produce out of my atelier in Sharjah and we work with local factories and source fabrics locally too so we can reduce our carbon footprint and nourish the industry in the UAE. Aside from this, what is crucial to me is that I tell motivational, whimsical fairytales. Sometimes I even imagine pieces to create in my dreams! Whatever my passions are at the time end up in the collection; at the moment it’s wake-surfi ng but previous ones have been boxing (which included messages about female empowerment), mountain climbing (to encourage us to reach the summit of our goals), and travelling (all about getting out of your comfort zone).”

Photography by Josh Jones

From Harper's BAZAAR Arabia October Issue