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Emirati label Keswah makes versatile kaftans

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A new homegrown fashion label has launched this month, headed by three Emirati ladies born and raised in the city of Al Ain. Focusing initially on Kaftans, Keswah, which means clothing in Arabic, hopes to modernise the traditional dress by infusing it with today’s catwalk trends.

Fuelled by their passion for the creative arts, from painting, crochet, ceramics to wood engraving, the ladies behind Keswah were introduced to fashion by taking a few short courses by the London College of Fashion in Dubai.

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“We all decided and agreed it was time we upgraded our kaftans with the latest trends and quality materials as this specific item is considered an essential piece of clothing for every Emirati or Khaleeji girl. There is no excuse not to wear it fashionably,” one of Keswah’s founders told La Moda Dubai.

The new designers attribute their artistry to being surrounded by a family of creative types, from an uncle that does photography, another one who is an expert in calligraphy to a fashion-obsessed aunt. “Although we grew up in Al Ain, a quiet city which had limited options for activities, we were always very creative and productive with our spare time,” she said.

Targeting 15-35 year-old Khaleeji women (although we expect the age demographic to be more inclusive), Keswah’s founders believe their kaftans can be worn for any occasion – lounging at home, going to the beach, or casual meetings with friends. One of their designs, a crisp, white button-down shirt sewn together with a flowy, floral print skirt, can even be added to the work wear wardrobe.

Probably one of the most interesting aspects of Keswah – besides the clothes themselves – is that the ladies behind the brand wish to remain anonymous so they can gather honest feedback on their maiden collection.

In a city where everything that matters is your name, no matter what you have or haven’t done, this is a very brave way of building a clothing line from scratch. Anyone with a recognisable family name would take advantage of any competitive or marketing edge that their name lends.

By not taking the usual route to achieving relevance in the industry, these designers are telling us one thing: they are here to improve their craft and enhance their abilities, not to make a quick buck by using their names.

Keswah is currently available via their online shop at

1 Comment

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