There was a time, not long ago, when regional designers had to struggle to convince retailers and customers that their clothes were just as well made and desirable as those of their Western counterparts. Yet speaking to Bahraini designer Amal Al Mulla reveals that much has changed in the decade since the first wave of ready-to-wear labels emerged in the region. “It may not have flung open, but the crack in the door has certainly widened enough to allow for designers such as myself to be included within the wider fashion conversation,” says Amal, who launched her label in 2014. Today her line of effortlessly chic dresses and separates hang alongside the likes of Jacquemus, J. W. Anderson and Stella McCartney at retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue Bahrain and Ounass.
“I’m proud to say that our line is made in Bahrain. We spend a lot of time researching and sourcing quality fabrics as well as focusing on details and finishing,” says the designer, during an exclusive preview of her Spring/Summer 2018 collection for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. Her winning formula has garnered her a following amongst style savvy women across the region, one that could easily translate to a global audience. “Like most designers, my ultimate goal is to tap into the international fashion market, because it’s one way to show that we’re not so different from each other in the end, and that fashion can serve as a tool to bridge cultures,” says Amal, while holding up a breezy dress in pinstriped cotton with detachable sleeves.
“I never set out to make radical changes each season, but to create a wardrobe of versatile feminine pieces that can be built on with each collection,” adds the designer, whose latest offering for Spring features A-line skirts and buttoned tops cut from dreamy floral and feather prints, as well as easy dresses sporting voluminous sleeves that come in subdued color combinations. To highlight the waist, she ingeniously twists fabric around metal loops and buckles to give a slight edge to her feminine looks. “This collection is very much a reflection of how I’ve grown and evolved as an individual and designer since launching my label, and all those experiences are translated into the clothes I create today,” says Amal who continues to quietly craft her unique approach to effortless dressing, one that is in tune with fashion’s current mood.