Latifa Al Gurg, Founder of Twisted Roots discusses her Emirate heritage and being a strong woman in today’s modern world.
Latifa Al Gurg
With her brand Twisted roots, Latifa Al Gurg fuses her Danish and Emirati heritage with a unique twist of cultures and styles. The designer established her brand in 2014 after giving up her career as an electrical and electronic engineer to fulfil her dream of entering the fashion world.
The inspiration for her collections stems mostly from travel and Latifa’s designs pay tribute to the cultural and natural elements of each city, presenting them with a modern, feminine edge. Each season the brand explores a new city and culture which is expressed through the designs.
On the occasion of Emirati Women’s Day, we talk to Latifa Al Gurg on her heritage, up bring and her passion for design.
What does Emirati women’s day mean to you?
It is an opportunity to celebrate all the strong women who helped create this great nation.
How has your Emirati heritage influenced your choice of career?
An appreciation for design and learning from other cultures is deeply embedded in the Emirati culture. These two factors were instrumental in my path to founding Twisted Roots.
What is something you remember from your childhood that you always keep in your mind?
Family vacations; enjoying nature and exploring different parts of the world.
What is your opinion on the opportunities Emirati women have today?
We are privileged to have a multitude of opportunities in various industries and support for the empowerment of women.
What inspired you to go into the fashion industry?
There was a gap in the market for clothing that expressed my point of view at the time led me to explore the fashion industry.
What is the motto you live by?
Life is a journey. Learn and grow from every experience.
What are your thoughts on the fashion industry in the UAE?
It’s a burgeoning industry. The UAE is such a cosmopolitan country with people and perspectives from all over the world that bring so many different perspectives to the industry. I find the multitude of voices so inspiring and interesting, and I’m excited to see what is yet to come.
As a woman, what would you say are your best traits and what is something you would like to improve on?
I would like to think that my strengths are systemizing, multitasking and empathizing with others. During this period, and especially during lockdown, I’ve come to realize the importance of creating space in your life to process and reflect upon what you are experiencing. I’d like to improve at putting this space in because I tend to focus on what next can be achieved.
What more would you like to see being done in the UAE to support designers and particularly female designers?
I believe there needs to be more support in helping designers in building solid foundations to the business end of a fashion business to make sure it becomes sustainable. There also needs to be a larger investment from the retail sector in backing designers, not only in marketing but also in driving to more of a wholesale model rather than a consignment one.
What can you tell us about your upcoming fall-winter collection?
Our Fall/Winter collection is inspired by Japan and in particular the design themes within Japanese pottery and flower arrangement. Aspects of these were incorporated into the design of the collection. The colour palette is inspired by the warm clay tones of ancient pottery and uses traditional Japanese printing methods.
Are there any aspects of your Emirati heritage that can be seen in your designs?
An appreciation for craftsmanship, the attention to detail and learning from other cultures.
Who is the woman you design for?
She is a woman on the go who is looking for timeless, versatile pieces with a twist. She appreciates craftsmanship and is looking for pieces that tell a story.
What is something you would still like to achieve with the brand that you haven’t done yet?
I believe in growing organically and learning from achievement. This makes me keener to focusing on what has been achieved rather than on what has yet to be achieved. Of course, I would love to see greater growth across international markets and expansion, however, I’m more focused on our journey and what value that adds than the end.
What is your first memory of fashion?
This is not my first memory that includes fashion, but it’s my first meaningful memory of when I started my journey in the fashion industry. I was taking a course with LCF and we were going over range planning pyramids for styles, and range planning excel sheets for fabrics, and it just dawned on me that it was the ideal way that the fashion industry could make sense to my systematic approach to everything.
As an entrepreneur what is a message you would give to other women looking to start their own business?
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Things go so fast once you’re in the thick of it, so prepare ahead of launching. Also, have your support system nailed down.
How would you describe your brand in one word?