Sumayyah Al Suwaidi is a dynamic Emirati figure synonymous with art, fashion, and everything creative.
The entrepreneur, curator, artist, and fashion designer founded her kaftan line SEENXSEEN, which combines art with the fashion world’s latest designs, back in 2011. She has since showcased her kaftan collection in London Fashion Week and Miami Fashion Week.
For the past four years, the busy bee has been leading Abu Dhabi’s pop-up exhibitions with her ‘Fashion Days’ pop-up exhibition brand that takes place during the holy month of Ramadan.
We speak to the designer about the hype behind Ramadan kaftans in the last few years, as well as the rise of pop-up exhibitions that seem to be competing with shopping malls in popularity, especially during the holy month.
Why do you think there has been a noticeable rise in demand for kaftans in Ramadan?
Ramadan is the season when women like to dress modestly and there is nothing better to wear than a designer kaftan that shows modesty and style at the same time.
How do you think the trend to wear kaftans, almost exclusively during the holy month, developed?
I believe the trend of kaftans started with Kuwaiti fashionistas, and many of the Khaleeji women look up to Kuwaiti kaftan designers for inspiration and the latest trends.
During Ramadan, is the demand for your line just from Khaleeji women or also international women?
The demand is from Khaleeji women because it’s part of our culture and religion [to dress modestly, especially during Ramadan]. But now modest fashion is internationally recognized and many of the international design houses are carrying their own line of kaftans.
What made you venture into the exhibition curation world?
The lack of proper platforms for fashion designers to showcase their creations in Abu Dhabi encouraged me to create one that caters to every designer’s needs. The participant doesn’t need to think of how to design her space nor how to showcase her collection. All she needs to do is just hang them in her ready-fitted booth that’s equipped with everything from lights to fitting rooms.
Why do you think Ramadan pop-up exhibitions are gaining popularity? Do you think it’s a trend that will go away?
It’s the time for all the designers to take orders for Ramadan evenings and gatherings. Many of the designers take advantage of this time to participate in trade shows, such as Fashion Days, to connect with more clients and increase their orders.
I don’t believe this trend will go away at all because our women are always looking for something different and unique to wear and the only place they could find such outfits is at pop-up events because many of the designers participating don’t have retail stores.