All photos by Elysia Windrum
Female Qatari and Khaliji designers have gathered once again to show off colorful fabrics, sequins, embroidery, glitter and original patterns this week at the Doha Exhibition Center, in an exhibition that just opened to the public.
Heya, Arabic for “she,” is holding its sixth Khaliji Abaya exhibition from today until Nov. 22, in which Arab designers are displaying and selling abayas, kaftans and evening garments.
More than 70,000 people are expected to attend the five-day event, according to organizer Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).
This year, 220 stalls have opened, and around 50 percent of the designers are Qatari, with the rest hailing from Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, QTA said.
‘Qataris love embroidery’
One of the many Qatari fashion designers participating in Heya is Noora Al-Ajami, who is showcasing her garments at the exhibition for a third year.
Al-Ajami has been designing female clothing for four years now, and said that her business, named Dar Alasayel, has grown each time she attends the event.
Al-Ajami’s collection changes every three to four months. The designer said that her target audience is Qatari females — whether they be children, teenagers or adults.
Speaking to Doha News, she added:
“Although any women can wear my clothes, I do tend to appeal to the local audience. Qatari women are typically drawn towards free-flowing dresses with lots of embroidery. Embroidery is proving to be the most popular element of style among GCC women but Qataris in particular. Qataris love embroidery.
I design and sell clothing for weddings, parties and special occasions like Ramadan.”
One of Al-Ajami’s free-flowing, embroidered dresses costs around QR800 and are usually worn during Ramadan around the home, according to the designer.
Behind the scenes, Al-Ajami sketches her designs before producing the newly-inspired garment to fit a mannequin. Al-Ajami’s team of three males then go about cutting and sewing to produce the final product.
Each item of clothing takes around one day to make before hitting the shop’s display.
Al-Ajami, along with the hundreds of regional female fashion designers attending the exhibition, will be selling their work from 10am to 10pm until Thursday, and from 3pm to 10pm on Friday. It closes after opening from 10am to 10pm on Saturday.