Rami Al Ali on his SS17 designs and the evolving Middle Eastern fashion landscape

Natalie Hanson   |   25 - 04 - 2017

For Spring/Summer 2017, the house of Rami Al Ali has launched its fifth pret-a-porter collection. The collection comprises a delicate mix of pastel hues, conveying a fresh, ladylike aesthetic. Floor-grazing gowns and gorgeous drapery make for pieces that are perfect for Ramadan month or to wear as a guest to a summer wedding.


We spoke to Rami Al Ali about his inspiration behind this season’s collection, what is popular in the region and how he feels the Middle Eastern fashion landscape is evolving.


 Can you tell us a little about your inspiration behind this season’s collection?

This season I steered away from the archetypal definition of romanticism and presented an alternative stance centered on artistic imagination. I wanted to convey a romantic abstraction to the fashion vernacular through themes of stylistic individualism whilst still keeping true to the charming allure that has become signature to the brand.

You seem to reference the 40’s and 50’s silhouette often in your collections; what do you think attracts you to this time period in particular?

I love old movies and old Hollywood glamour, some of the most elegant and stylish women are from that era, naturally transpiring into my designs. 40’s and 50’s silhouettes are usually simple yet extremely elegant with an essence of opulence and allure in how they drape, and this is the type of silhouette that I am drawn to.


When you design your ready-to-wear, do you have specific locations and events in mind that you envision your pieces being worn at?

My designs maintain a strong feminine aesthetic; I want my woman to feel elegant, strong and to embrace her womanhood all while still being effortlessly graceful no matter where the pieces are worn. I tend to focus more of the person wearing the designs rather than the location.


What kind of woman do you feel your customer is? Can you describe her in three words?

I wouldn’t say that I cater to just one ideal. I work with many different women; from younger women who want something more cutting-edge, to the older more conservative woman who is looking for something more sophisticated. I’m doing well with both clients and I like catering to both. When something is beautiful, it’s beautiful and you don’t question it. However, generally the Rami Al Ali woman is elegant, sophisticated and chic.


What are your most popular pieces in our region? What do your clients here love?

I have received very positive reactions from both the European and Middle Eastern markets. The Middle Eastern market has shown great support since the day I launched my first collection, and the ready to wear clientele appreciates my designs especially when the dress has big volume.


What is a key lesson you’ve learned over your time creating and building this brand?

My first key lesson is to always stay true to your brand focus and ethos, and remain consistent to the aesthetic each season. This conveys a strong brand identity, which I think is the key to success and in building a core customer base. I also, would say to keep motivated and whatever obstacles may come your way think of it as a challenge and a way of improving.

What are some of the challenges you face when designing?

The most important foundation of starting a collection is the design process – I really like to switch off and be alone with my thoughts to imagine the collection and design as I go along. I design with emotion, it’s important for me that my customer feels absolutely beautiful and special when she is wearing my designs. I feel that usually my greatest challenge when designing is time restrictions, I tend to be so inspired when I begin designing that I often like to become very imaginative, however in order for each design to be finished I must ensure that the designing is completed within a certain time. I am a perfectionist, which usually means many changes before the final design is decided, so time restrictions can often be a challenge.


How do you think the landscape of Middle Eastern fashion is changing/evolving?

When I first moved here in the late 1990s, it was the beginning of an era in the UAE where the fashion scene was starting to change from a Gulf taste to more of an international taste. Nowadays, there are a lot more projects in place for designers starting out such as Dubai Design District and Fashion Forward – both of which are providing a great platform for new talent in this region. Dubai is quickly becoming a global fashion hub. Designers and fashion enthusiasts alike are more risk takers now, and a lot of people are looking for something unique, exclusive which you can’t necessarily get from international brands.


Do you have plans to expand the brand further at this stage?

We are working on a lot of projects and on a few collaborations with internationally renowned names, which will be revealed in the near future.  Our vision has always been to be the go-to house for elegant, sophisticated and dreamy designs for the stylish, trend-setting woman.



by Natalie Hanson