Omani designer Buthaina Al Zadjali first started designing kaftans in 2010 after fining the demand for traditional pieces with modern influences. She launched her brand Bthaina in response to the positive feedback she received from friends and family for her stylish designs.
Her designs take inspiration from Eastern and Western elements, using traditional Omani craftsmanship techniques and luxurious, feminine fabrics to create pieces that are both functional and stylish. Buthaina opened her first boutique in 2011 before expanding from Oman to the UAE in 2016. Buthaina’s dream is to take her brand to the next step, expanding outside of the Middle East and sharing her designs with the world. Here we find out more about her latest collection and the inspiration for her designs.
Tell us about your latest collection – the inspiration, styles, colour palette etc.?
This season I was inspired by the concept of “turning over a new leaf”. We’ve all been through so much over the past couple of years due to the pandemic so I’m hopeful 2022 will be a fresh start and this is what I have tried to portray through this collection. It features vibrant shades of green with flowy silhouettes and intricate embellishments.
Are there any particular pieces or styles that you love?
I love them all! But if I was to pick a favourite I would say look two, it’s a new silhouette for me with beautiful sheer details.
Tell us about the materials you work with and how you select them?
I work with lightweight and natural fabrics. It’s important for me to use fabrics that have movement and will keep the wearer cool during the hot summer months.
Do you have anything special happening for Ramadan this year that you can share with us?
I have created “mini-me” pieces so that mothers and their daughters can wear matching outfits during the Holy Month. It’s a special way for mothers to bond with their daughters.
Tell us about how your brand has expanded over the past decade and where would you like to take it in the future?
I first started designing kaftans and abayas for my friends and select customers in 2010, and after such a positive response I opened my first boutique in Muscat in 2011. In 2016 I decided I wanted to expand my brand internationally so I started working with a fashion consultancy in Dubai to rebrand and help take me to the next step. My collections are now available at my boutique in Muscat along with Ounass.ae, Threads Styling and Harvey Nichols Saudi Arabia. In the future, I want to add value to the fashion industry and to be known as a brand that enhances a woman’s beauty and brings out her confidence. I also want my brand to transcend borders and reach customers all over the world.
Who or what inspires you the most?
I find inspiration in my daily life, from my family, friends and my surroundings. I also draw inspiration from my home country Oman and from my travels overseas.
You are a well-established brand in the region now – how have you seen the landscape of the industry change over the last two decades?
It has come such a long way in the past 20 years. When I first started there weren’t many brands from the region, now there are so many talented designers making the fashion scene really diverse.
How do you look to traditional Omani techniques to inspire your designs and can you share a little on the techniques that particularly inspire you?
There are so many techniques that are unique to Oman, it’s a constant source of inspiration! In each collection, I always incorporate Omani threadwork techniques.
What would you still like to see in terms of Arab designers being recognised on a global scale?
I would like the world to see that Arab designers are creative and have so much to offer. The attention to detail is second to none and we love to make women feel their best and be the most confident versions of themselves.
The past couple of years have been challenging, is there anything you have changed about the business since the beginning of the pandemic?
I introduced the ‘Roots’ collection which includes more casual styles in natural fabrics, that are more suitable to wear around the home. The way we dress has changed due to the pandemic so I created this collection to meet my customer’s needs.
Are there any brands or designers that you look up to?
I really admire Elie Saab.
What can we expect to see from you for the rest of the year?
I’m currently working on expanding my regional and international stockists while working on some exciting collaborations!
What is the professional motto that you live by?
It always seems impossible until it’s done.
What is something you would still like to do that you haven’t done yet?
I would love for my brand to be available at a world-renowned retailer such as Harrods or Bergdorf Goodman. It would bring me such pride to walk into one of these stores and see my collections hanging there. It’s a goal I’m working towards.