Sheikha Sarah Ahmed Farid al Aulaqi of Qansar Couture talks to Nishad Padiyarath about her upcoming event ‘Hand Made for Ramadan’, showcasing the work of 20 designers from the GCC and Oman at Grand Hyatt Muscat.
Fifteen minutes is all Sheikha Sarah Ahmed Farid al Aulaqi has. She is bustling through meetings with her team for the much-awaited ‘Hand Made for Ramadan’ exhibition which will be held from May 31 to June 2 at the iconic Grand Hyatt Hotel in Muscat.
Sheikha Sarah, along with her mother Mrs Ahmed Farid, the owner of the fashion house Qansar Couture, is hosting the event to establish a platform for handcrafted fashion — with local brands and designers from the GCC. The event also aims at supporting the Oman Cancer Association (OCC).
“We thought Ramadan is the perfect time to showcase our work as well as celebrate the time and effort that goes into these handmade items,” Sheikha Sarah said. The concept of the event, according to her, is not just clothes but also jewellery, shoes and bags. “Around 20 designers from the GCC and Oman are participating in this event. Ten per cent of the profits from the exhibition will be donated to the OCC,” she said.
Mrs Ahmed Farid has been running a fashion house for the last 20 years and she has been focusing on hand embroidery.
Sheikha Sarah said: “These days everything is moving at a fast pace. People think it is better that these clothes are made by machines but you can clearly see the difference between tailored clothes and a machine item.
“We wanted to create a unique exhibition and we wanted to use this opportunity for people to appreciate handcrafted designs and the time and effort that goes into making them.”
An artist herself, Sheikha Sarah speaks of the relevance and need for such events in the Omani market, firstly due to a slowly changing cultural landscape and secondly because there is a huge potential for it to grow. “I am an artist at heart and I love all forms of art. For me the most heartening thing is the process that goes into making a craft than its beauty.
“This event will be a celebration of their work. These crafts are getting lost with time and generation. This is an event that will appreciate the art and craft itself. This is a platform that welcomes other brands from the GCC.”
The three-day event will also witness a handmade dressmaker at work and the dress will be auctioned at the closing of the exhibition.
Compared with fashion markets in the UAE and Kuwait, the Omani market is still untapped. “We have some amazing talents here but most of them are forced to exhibit their items only on social media and most of them just vanish. That should not happen” she said.
Sheikha Sarah has a piece of advice to budding fashion designers: “Take your time, don’t rush and be confident in your quality and craft. And it will pay off. Don’t feel the need to keep up with social media or trends… be unique. That will differentiate you from others.”
The ‘Hand Made for Ramadan’ exhibition will take place from 6pm to 12am at the Afrah Ballroom of Grand Hyatt Muscat.