Emirati Fashion Designer Ahlam Shahim Shares the Vision Behind Her Homegrown Brand

Lindsay Judge   |   08-10-2021

Born and raised in Dubai, Emirati fashion designer Ahlam Shahin decided to turn her passion into a business in 2016 with the launch of her namesake brand.


After studying Civil Engineering, Shahin realised her true calling and pursued her dream to create a brand that is rooted in defining understated elegance and promoting a vision of bold femininity. At the core of the fashion brand are the select fabrics she chooses to work with, something that is key to the longevity and timelessness of her pieces.


Combined with her skill for design and her eye for details, Shahin is able to create an array of feminine yet timeless pieces that will appeal to women from all walks of life. Offering affordable luxury through fluid pieces that illustrate a sense of refined sophistication is the ethos of the brand. We discover more about the brand and where Shahin plans to take it in the future.


Tell us a little about your brand and how would you introduce it to the world?

Ahlam Shahin is a Dubai based brand that channels a vision of bold femininity. It is rooted in defining understated elegance through an array of designs that are unique, timeless and creative.


Your background was not in fashion so what made you decide to enter this world and create your own fashion brand? 

I have always had an eye for fashion. I loved playing with different fabrics and types of embroidery to create customised designs for myself as well as for friends and family. I soon recognised a passion fuelling in me and I decided to start my own brand and take this to the next level.



Who is the woman that you design for? 

I like to design for the modern woman of today who looks to express her style and personality through pieces that are feminine yet exude a statement essence.


Your pieces combine traditional style with modern elements – how have you perfected this balance? 

While designing my pieces, I like to work with traditional silhouettes but reimagined from a modern angle. Elements such as statement sleeves, embroidery, patterns and the use of fabrics elevate each style to offer a balance.


How does your heritage and the style of women in the Middle East inspire you in what you do? 

I like to keep the lifestyle, tradition and taste of the women in the region when I’m designing my pieces to which I add the Ahlam Shahin signature aesthetic.



We know that your choice of fabrics is very important to you, how do you go about selecting and sourcing the materials that you use? 

When sourcing fabrics, I am very particular about the quality. We source from excellent local suppliers who provide high quality imported fabrics to match our designs. We also work with luxury fabrics sourced from Italy.


Who or what inspires you the most?

Dubai and everything that surrounds me is an inspiration – the culture, the art, the heritage and the people.



What is the vision for your brand? 

My vision is to see our unique pieces on women around the world.


Tell us about your boutique in Dubai and the concept behind it?

As the brand was growing, I decided to take the step to open a boutique to give my clients a unique experience.


Can you share a little on your latest collection?

The Spring/Summer 2022 collection is inspired by the “Moon Woman” painting by Jackson Pollock. The curved lines in the painting have been translated into clean cuts and voluminous silhouettes, while the abstract patterns inspired the embellished details adorned on each design. The collection features statement pieces that embody creativity as well as bold femininity.



What are your thoughts on the fashion industry in the UAE and where would you like to see it go to?

The fashion industry is growing in the UAE with many talented designers and artists who are showcasing their creations and I’m delighted to be a part of it. I would love to see Arab talent represented at fashion weeks around the world.


What is in the pipeline for the coming year that we can look forward to’?

We’re on the road to showcasing our collection at retailers such as Threads Styling, Ounass and Harvey Nichols, Doha.


How would you describe your brand in one word?



What is the professional motto that you live by?

The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.



This year the UAE celebrates 50 years – what does this occasion mean to you and what is a message you would share on this day?

I feel truly honoured to be a part of a country that provides us with all the opportunities and support to achieve any goal we set and I hope I can offer my contribution to the country through the ever-growing fashion industry. This year is extra special as we get to celebrate 50 years as a country but also to welcome Expo 2020 Dubai.