Fashion

Rayan Al Sulaimani of Atelier Zuhra: Promoting Omani Fashion Worldwide

Rayan Al Sulaimani is a fashion designer from the culturally-rich and picturesque Sultanate of Oman. Following her mother’s footsteps, and growing her family business, she has pushed fashion from her homeland to the forefront as she showcases exquisite designs during fashion weeks in Paris, London and Dubai.
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Rayan, how did your story with fashion first start?

Rayan Al Sulaimani: "I’ve always loved anything to do with fashion from a young age. I would admire anyone that has taste in fashion and is into fashion. After high school, I wanted to become a designer but at that time the industry wasn’t encouraged due to it not being a reliable source of income. Years later, when my mom was designing at the atelier, I would suggest ideas and spend a lot of time and learn a lot from her, and that’s when she realized how much interest I had in fashion and supported me to join her. So, since 2015, due to my solid business foundation alongside my adoration for fashion, I chose to assume control over the business to get completely occupied with the business in both structuring, administration, and design of Atelier Zuhra."

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"The message we try to bring to every dress is that the woman in it is strong, bold, and adventurous."

You have carried on with the direction of the maison after your mom, how much of a challenge was it?

Rayan Al Sulaimani: "As a fashion designer and CEO, the biggest challenge that I face now is the impact of the COVID19 pandemic. This has affected the fashion industry in many ways; shows have been canceled, and celebrities and influencers no longer attend events, hence reducing our brand’s exposure. Luckily, we used this opportunity to cut down costs, diversify our product line to include denim products, used online platforms to have client consultations, and produce outfits purely without physical contact."

How would you describe your creative process?

Rayan Al Sulaimani: "Most of my creative influences are derived from art and culture, I travel to draw inspiration from other countries, and apart from that I am inspired by Mother Nature herself."

Who is the woman you have in mind when you design?

Rayan Al Sulaimani: "We design for women who really love to wear impressive dresses, creatively beautiful combined with different variations of unique pieces which allow them to outshine their true beauty from within. The message we try to bring to every dress is that she is strong, bold, and adventurous."

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Being one of the few famous Arab female fashion designers, do you think a woman has a different offering to her clients?

Rayan Al Sulaimani: "I believe women nowadays are very educated, ambitious, and capable of achieving their goals and objectives just like men if not even more. For instance, we see a lot of Middle Eastern women rated in Forbes as the most successful businesswomen in the region, let alone the fact that they also have kids and family. They are more than able to balance their personal and professional lives."

And what is your advice for any designer who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Rayan Al Sulaimani: "The most important piece of advice I have learned is that “Patience is key” to everything. Success is not served to anyone on a gold platter. It is very important to work hard, stay disciplined and continue to look for inspiration to keep creating more. More than anything, it is paramount to be humble, and stay true to yourself and your work."

You have recently presented a collection in Paris. Can we expect you to showcase during Paris Fashion Week soon?

Rayan Al Sulaimani: "Yes, Paris Fashion Week was always a dream, and being part of it this season was amazing, I look forward to doing more presentations and fashion shows every year and growing in this city." 

 

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Your career highlight?

Rayan Al Sulaimani: "One moment I'm particularly proud of is when I had to design a bridal dress for my client during the pandemic; taking her measurements via zoom and trying to fulfill her choice. I can’t explain the feeling when I received a video from the bride tearing up as she never thought that she will have her dream dress and received one beyond expectations."

What are you currently working on?

Rayan Al Sulaimani: "I am preparing my upcoming collection for London Fashion Week."

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