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The roots of the fashion scene in Qatar: gowns, heels and sneakers

By Euronews
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The roots of the fashion scene in Qatar: gowns, heels and sneakers
Copyright  euronews

From collectable sneakers to exclusive dresses, Qatar 365 has met some of the established designers, collectors, and fashion entrepreneurs behind some of the most popular fashion items in a country with a huge demand for luxury wear.

Recognised designers of the fashion landscape

Qatari designers have been making their mark on the fashion scene. 

Chemical engineer Layla Al Ansari didn't realise that her hobby would turn into a successful evening wear and bridal gown business with 30 employees. 

"Fashion is my passion. I'm happy and proud of my team. We all have good ideas to add to our designs based on our own culture and creativity," she told Qatar 365.

For the unique Doha Dreams project, Layla created a gown inspired by the Qatar Museums Dior Exhibition and traditional weaving techniques using palm fronds. 

"Everything here inspires me, the culture, my friends, my family, the sea and the desert, everything," she said.

One of Doha's most exclusive department stores, Galleries Lafayette, now sells Layla's limited-edition designs. Hissa Haddad, whose shoes are designed in Doha and manufactured in Italy, also has displays there. 

Inspired by Arabic architecture, art and culture, she created her exclusive shoe collection uniquely embellished with embroidery, pearls and gems.

I would say I am inspired by the woman who wears them; her strength, her power
Hissa Haddad
Shoe designer

Amal Ameen: A talented fashion entrepreneur

Whether it's hand-picking a shirt from a young Colombian designer or cultivating a new, homegrown talent to showcase in her boutiques, Qatari entrepreneur Amal Ameen truly has built a fashion empire.

 This year she introduced a new concept in Doha's Place Vendome Mall, Amici De Moda, which combines art and fashion.

"What I'm trying to do is to put everything under one roof," Amal Ameen told Qatar 365.

"I'm creating this mini department store from lingerie, perfume, ready-to-wear, evening wear, nightgowns, dresses, haute couture accessories, and sunglasses. 

"To me, design is functionality." 

Euronews
Qatari entrepreneur Amal Ameen (right) speaks to Euronews host Miranda Atty.Euronews

Ms Ameen started networking in the fashion industry by attending fashion weeks in Paris and other cities to find the right designers and brands. 

With a slogan like "Where Art Meets Fashion", she has created what she calls a fashion gallery, where designers can collaborate, and newcomers can be inspired.

A fast-growing Doha sneaker scene

New concept stores dedicated to rare, limited-edition sneakers are springing up across the city. Sneaker collector and social media influencer @itsjbr prefers not to be recognised online, but his famous friends know who he is. 

Virgil Abloh opened his "Figures of Speech" exhibition in Doha in November, just two weeks before his premature death. @itsjbr convinced him to sign sneakers with "Virgil was in Doha", which helped his legacy live on.

Another Qatari 'hypebeast' is Abdulla Al Kaabi, who founded Loft. Al Kaabi collects fashionable items and follows trends. His concept store also offers collectables and luxury pieces. Abdulla explains, "although our culture is strong, it's growing, and we've blended it with traditional wear".

Across the city, London-based PresentedBy recently opened a location in Msheireb, Doha's Design District

Its founder, Ridvane Ettoubi, told Qatar 365 that he intended to create an element of theatre for consumers.

"I think it's a hidden gem in the sense of its design elements and sophistication and appreciation for the finer things in life," he said.

As streetwear culture slowly gains acceptance in the country, young Qataris continue to balance their love for flashy sneakers with their respect for tradition.