Nabrman, which means white flower in Turkish, is the exclusive boutique specializing in exquisite Abayas designed by UAE’s talented Hend Al Mutawa. The Abayas, true to its name ‘Nabrman’ symbolizes purity and elegance. The Nabrman boutique opened in 2009 and today stands as one of the region’s most desired Abaya brands. Nabrman is largely influenced by a contemporary mix of old world charm and elegant modern sophistication, and the essence of the brand is clearly reflected in the gracefully flowing designs. Inspired by Arabic culture, traditional Abayas are given a modern twist through a variety of fine fabrics and a kaleidoscope of colors in fully on-trend fashion. Nabrman strives for perfection in each design by implementing strict quality standards in all phases of the creation process: from concept to conception then completion. Each garment is the result of a long and rigorous artisanal savoir-faire that creates the ultimate experience in Middle-Eastern chic.
Hend Al Mutawa made news by dressing Kim Kardashian with a designer Abaya from her Abaya collection back in 2011 and also for holding the highest fashion show in Burj Khalifa in 2012. Dubai Fashion Tour had the honor to meet the talented and beautiful Hend Al Mutawa herself and got her to share some insights about her amazing journey in the Dubai fashion industry.
DFT – What sparked your interest in fashion?
Nabrman – In my final year at university I was inspired by the world of fashion. This prompted me to explore my opportunities in becoming a fashion designer. As I looked around, I realized I could combine my love for Abayas and my interest in fashion designing into one, and thus began my entrepreneurial journey. I started out by making Abayas on my own with different designs and noticed the positive reactions from friends and family. Soon as the business began to grow, it became my goal to increase its reach throughout the UAE and GCC. The business is now established in the way I envisioned. We also have a lot of customers now at international level.
DFT – What’s it like being in the industry?
Hend – It feels great to be independent in the way you do your business. You create your own personality and you reflect your own character within the business operations and have your own leadership within that business. This gives me a lot of open options as I am not restricted to creating specific designs for specific people. Hence unlimited potential.
DFT – What was the inspiration behind your name?
Hend – When I thought about the name I wanted something that represented purity, transparency and modernity at the same time. Something that never went out of fashion. Nabrman seemed to be the excellent choice because it was different and I knew for a fact that everyone would be curious about the meaning of the name “Nabrman”. The moment I chose the name “Nabrman” I knew it would be a hit. My vision for Nabrman is to develop the brand from just a regional boutique brand to an internationally recognized brand for designer Abayas.
DFT – What’s your favorite fabric?
Hend – Mainly I love light, flowing fabrics—colored and black. I usually go for the linens and crepes. Crepes are currently in fashion and I am fond of them, it is treat to work with such a beautiful fabric.
DFT – How would you describe your Abaya design aesthetic?
Hend – Though my designs are more modern I tend to make signature pieces especially for fashion shows. The designs I create for fashion shows might not look wearable for everyday purposes. So, I create 2-3 similar pieces of showcased design in order to make it wearable, and use certain colors depending on the season and international trends.
DFT – From where do you get your inspiration?
Hend – I usually get inspired by geometrical shapes and different types of flowers. I always try to relate it to my brand name because it relates to my brand image and identity. For example, Chanel has its own identity with different designs and patterns. For me it’s more of geometrical shapes and blending it differently with different designs. For one of my previous collections for Dubai Fashion Week I was inspired by flowers and kimono dresses. So that collection had more of kimono cuts.
DFT – Is there someone in the fashion industry (Dubai & Internationally) who inspires you?
Hend – Not specifically but internationally Chanel.
DFT – Describe the type of woman who would wear ‘Nabrman’?
Hend – Usually the working ladies who take care of the way they look but also for those who love to feel special and noted always.
DFT – How do you balance creativity with business?
Hend – I started it as a hobby. Finance was my major but it did help in the strategic, tactical, and operational planning of my business. Having that business perspective and the hobby that I had built on, to guide me, made it a successful mix.
DFT – How do you market your business?
Hend – Mostly social media. It’s based on the trends and I am always aware of the marketing trends that are available. And of course my PR works with me in creating and following yearly strategic marketing plans that helps stay at the top of the game. When it comes to social media marketing, we utilize snapchat and Instagram to promote our Abayas, brand identity, events and other activities, as we believe we can reach our target audience more directly and efficiently through these platforms.
DTF – How do you prepare for your fashion shows? Do you think Hair & Make-up makes a difference on a model when promoting your designs? Do you also choose the music?
Hend – Usually I tend to use a fusion of different types of music- a mix of classical and modern. The base beats are usually modern with a piano or string based classical going around it. But then that is chosen based on my collection. I usually choose about ten to fifteen pieces for a fashion show and to represent the season I show variations in the color. Even before that there is an initial stage of selecting the hair and makeup based on the concept. The hair and makeup is mostly based on the current trends and what suits the collection best. For example, I would focus on something natural with a little bit of mascara and eyeshadow without much contouring for my summer collection. But for winter collection more focus is given on a structured face. Even the models are chosen based on their body type, hair color, height, choice of shoes and so on.
DFT – Who is your dream client internationally? And From Dubai?
Hend – As I had mentioned earlier, anybody who wants to look prestigious and probably working because we have a lot of daily wear that are signature pieces.
DFT – What do you think about Dubai fashion industry? Do you think it will become the next global fashion capital?
Hend – Yes! I believe Dubai will become the next fashion hub because it is already the main business hub at an international level with a lot of multinational companies and over 150 nationalities working here in Dubai. We are very proud to be one of the main tourist attractions in the world.
DFT – What excites you about the potential for spaces like d3?
Hend – I think it is an amazing concept and I believe that in the future it will become a huge success. In Dubai I have equal respect for all the designers. I love how each one reflects their own personality in their designs.
DFT – You got the opportunity to dress Kim Kardashian who is one of the top fashion icons in the world. Could you share your experience with Dubai Fashion Tour?
Hend – I met her briefly and she was very sweet. She loved the Abaya we sent her and her mom when she was staying at ‘The Atlantis’. It was set up by my PR. When I heard she was coming I designed the Abaya according to the trend she was carrying out at the time – more black, transparent and crystallized. I really loved the fact that she respected the culture here and she immediately wore the piece even though it was an Abaya. Her style is usually simple with a touch of elegance. So that was my whole objective while designing for her. When she came to Dubai the piece was already designed. I gifted it to her and she immediately tried it on and loved it.
DFT – You did the highest fashion show in Burj Khalifa which is very inspiring and brave. Could you throw some light on your experience and what inspired you to do the same?
Hend – I always like to be different and I tend to think out of the box. So this was one of those things that we thought about and then asked ourselves “– Why don’t we do that?” as if we could not believe that we had not done it until now. There were so many ideas going all around during our brain storming sessions. We structured the steps on how we were going to carry it out and it went on very well. I organized the whole event on my own as I was taking care of each and every detail to the point where all the models were selected by me, composed and segregated the music with the DJ, assured perfect lighting and atmosphere of the lounge. The management was very supportive. It took place on the 123rd floor where the lounge was.
DFT – What’s your latest fashion design project?
Hend – There is a new project that might be coming out which hasn’t been done before. It’s a collaboration but you will have to wait and see what it is.
Meeting Hend Al Mutawa in person was definitely an honor for us at Dubai Fashion Tour. We thank her for taking some time out for us from her busy schedule and wish her all the best for her future ventures. www.nabrman.com