The CEO of watch manufacturer Officine Panerai, Angelo Bonati, once stated: “Luxury is attention to detail, originality, exclusivity and, above all, quality.” While these words have since become the byword for watchmakers internationally, one Omani clothing designer seems to be shadowing a similar motto to create fashionable and exclusive clothes that not only reflect modern design but also pays homage to Oman’s local traditional garbs.
Her name is Arwa al Musafir, and she is part of a new wave of designers who are on a mission to put Oman on the international fashion map.
Arwa’s clothing line – of which there are many – are inspired by Omani culture and traditions, mixed with a palette of vivid colours, fancy designs and even nature (!)
“What I aim to do with my clothing is to show people the heritage of Oman while also mixing some new and radical designs. So, as a part of that, I design and craft abayas (Arabian women’s dress) and other dresses,” an enthusiastic Arwa tells me.
“My aim is to modernise Omani clothing but also incorporate the rich cultural background that I have seen and am a part of.
“Of course, being Omani, my designs are still acceptable by society. But my major design work transcends over the usual works that are usually done here. With my designs, I like to highlight the season, the festivals during those times and many other factors,” she says.
Another factor Arwa keeps note of is the trend and demand for a particular set of clothes. This is probably why Arwa’s clothing store in Al Ghubra – which she opened in 2015 – is a huge hit among Omani women; she’s a calculative entrepreneur.
“People love my clothes,” she says in a humble tone.
But, what is it that motivated Arwa to become the fashion designer that she is today? Well, in short, her family.
“I come from an artistic family,” chants Arwa. “My father – Moosa al Musafir – is a famous artist in Oman, and my mother has always inculcated a strong sense of artistry in me. She has also stood by my side and helped me throughout my time as a designer and a businesswoman.
“So, yes, I grew up in that environment,” she says.
For the 47th National Day, Arwa tells me that she has designed some exclusive wear featuring the Omani national flag colours (red, green and white), and some other “distinctive and rare pieces”, which she keeps under wraps.
“I do not limit myself to one type of product,” she explains.
That fact is highlighted when I realise that Arwa’s clothes are accepted by expats in Oman as well.
“My clothing may seem like it is for Omanis but it really is not. A lot of expats like what I do, and I’m surprised to see that the demand for it has grown over the last
But before I can ask her any more questions, Arwa tells me that she has a fashion show – which will be conducted on a grand scale – on the cards, and that her works will all be showcased by models there.
“The fashion show is on the cards. I cannot tell you when but I am incredibly keen on it and am planning it to be one of the best that has taken place in Oman,” she adds as we end our short yet fruitful interview.
Catch Arwa’s fashion line at www.arwa.om or on Instagram @arwaboutique_om