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Arab Designers and Influencers Open Up About Their Fondest Memories with Their Mothers

Today is Mother’s Day in the UAE and in celebration of these important figures in all of our lives, we asked some of our favorite Arab celebrities and designers to tell us about the bond they share with their mothers. From their earliest fashion-related memory to pieces of jewelry passed on from their mothers, here’s what they had to say-

Mariam Yeya

Mariam Yeya. Instagram/@mrskeepa

“She inspires me in so many different ways but most importantly on the human level. Growing up, I’ve witnessed a great level of Sacrifice from her side as I do remember so many situations where she would prioritize my sister and me over herself with no second thought.  She was my best friend through all of the ups and downs of my life. She supported so many bad decisions of mine allowing me to experience real life and its rude side at a very young age, which empowered me and made me the adventurous independent woman that I am today. She taught me to not fear challenges and jump into life’s opportunities without thinking of failure.

My mom’s love for fashion and her distinguished style is the main reason behind my fashion style as well as designing career. She would stay “Tire’ a 4 Epingles”  (dressed up ) 24/7. She designed and sewed all her clothes even her pajama sets.”

On her first fashion memory with her mother: “I remember her picking me up from school at the age of six wearing a new blue skirt suit that she had made for herself. The second she stepped inside the class, there was a moment of silence and a few seconds later, my school mates started expressing how lucky I was to have such a beautiful fashionable mother. I felt so proud that the way my mother looked and the memory of that day is still engraved in my head.”

The biggest lesson she learned from her mother: “Besides pattern making and designing, on a spiritual level, I learned how to be selfless with the people I love. I learned that loving unconditionally is the greatest form of love. I learned that women can do it all.”

Her Mother’s Day wish: “I can’t even begin to thank you for all you have done for me. If I did not have the love and support you have given me throughout the years, I know I would not be the person I am today. For that I thank you. I know that even though we are apart, our bond is still as strong as ever. Happy Mother’s Day Zouzza.”

Sandra Mansour

Sandra Mansour

“Her strength serves as a constant inspiration. [From her I learned] that everything will be ok, no matter what life throws your way there is an innate strength embedded in us all that helps anyone of us overcome whatever struggle is comes our way. And most of all, it’s good to be different! I love her, I am who I am because of her.

Ever since I was a little girl my mother always had a passion for beautiful material; leather and cashmere to name a few, and from that, she piqued my interest and I dove into this world. My two favorite pieces [of jewelry] are two bracelets that she gave me belonged to her. One is a vintage Bvlgari with multicolored stones, and another is a vintage Cartier with beetles that I love!”

On her first fashion memory with her mother: “I would wear eyeglasses as a little girl and she would let me match my glasses with my dresses. She really let me be.”

Rami Kadi

Rami Kadi with mother

“My mother inspires me every day by her positive attitude towards life and luck in general, she is also my guardian angel. She is actually very family oriented and too far from the fashion industry. However, mom is very neat and when it comes to detailing and organization of clothes and closets, I definitely took that from her.”

On his first fashion memory with his mother: “I remember when I was three years old, we were in Greece at a shopping mall, and I saw that purple flashy heels with a big bow and I couldn’t stop insisting until she bought that pair. My mom has always been classical but she couldn’t let down her little baby boy I guess.”

The biggest lesson he learned from his mother: “I learned how to be patient, faithful and determined at the same time. Most importantly, I learned that doing good will always get you good.”

His mother’s day wish: “I love you, and I pray that God would always bless you and keep you healthy. No matter how old I get, I will always count on you and get back to you to feel safe and secure.”

Yousra Zein

Yousra Zein. Instagram/@hayekk_

“She inspires me by her strength, being an entrepreneur Muslim woman in Europe is not easy. She works around the clock for her family. She inspires me by her strong character and her loving, warm heart. Long before the multitudes of colors and style of hijabs started to appear in the market, my mum used to sew her own scarves in order to match her clothes. Her style is colorful, part of it I think, is to fight against stereotypes. She inspires me in the way she dresses, which is also a statement.”

The piece of jewelry her mother passed on to her: “She gave me a diamond ring when I got married. Which meant, you might be married, but you’re my daughter forever.”

The biggest lesson she learned from her mother: “To never settle.”

Jessica Kahawaty

Jessica Kahawaty with Mother, Rita Kahawaty. Instagram/@jessicakahawaty

“She’s kind to everyone she meets, she’s hardworking and she has shown us such resilience in the face of adversity. I love her with all my heart and soul, every fiber of my being. I couldn’t imagine life without her.”

On her first fashion memory with her mother: “Growing up, I would watch my mother match prints and colors in such an elegant way. She turned heads every time she entered a room. She also loved short skirts in the 90s and early 2000s!  I definitely remember beautiful Moschino dresses and Armani suits my mother used to wear in the late 90s. I was 9 or 10 years old. She had a beautiful navy pinstripe Giorgio Armani suit that she recently passed down to me.”

The biggest lesson she learned from her mother: “Treat people the way you want to be treated.”

Hatem Alakeel

Hatem Alakeel. Supplied

“I have this very vivid memory of my mother taking us to Rome to shop every end of summer break to prepare us for boarding school. She always had a strong sense of fashion and would make sure that we knew how to mix and match our clothes so that we would learn from a very young age how to combine colors and designs appropriately. My brother, Taymour and I were always immaculately dressed from as far as I can remember. So to say, that my mother has played a major role would be an understatement. She has always been passionate about dressing us in a certain way and that most definitely translated to our sense of style. Our education was the top of all pillars, something my brother and I are extremely grateful for. In the end, the only thing that lasts is your education, your sense of style and good deeds. In fact, it can even outlive you and make an impression even after we are gone.

She passed on a plethora of wonderful values and has gifted us with much to be appreciative for. There are not enough words for me to voice them. But since I am known for my work. Look at anything I design. The sense of polish and refinement which many say my work entails I have inherited from my mother. That is one of the many priceless gifts she has given me.”

The biggest lesson he learned from his mother: “Respect for others, respect for one’s self, integrity and not to take others for granted. Never ever get a big head no matter how successful one becomes. To remain modest grounded and well mannered to all. She also showed us the love for life.”

His Mother’s Day wish: “Thank you for gifting us with the most precious gift anyone can give: the gift of life. Nothing I say or do or even dream could ever describe our gratitude for all that you have done for us, dearest mother.”

Shouq AlMarzook

Shouq AlMarzook with mother

“My mother is one of the strongest women I know.  She went through many hurdles in her life and always managed to come out stronger with a positive outlook. She inspires me to be the strongest woman I can be. Ever since I could remember, I was always interested in fashion. I would always admire my mother’s beautiful outfits or gowns growing up in a society where fashion is a sport. It was a very competitive landscape and my mother was one of the best-dressed ladies of her generation. I grew up hearing all about my mother’s infamous fashion stories from her adventurous gladiator thigh high heels in college to her [Jean Paul] Gaultier ball gowns. She was always innovative with her wardrobe mixing and matching textures and silhouettes.

My mother is a very giving person. She is the type of person who always looks to the future. She wanted to be able to pass down some of her favorite fashion items to her children. I love raiding her closet just before fashion week.  She recently gave me a Dior suit blazer and dress from the 70s that made me feel empowered and professional.”

The biggest lesson she learned from her mother: “I learned from my mother how to be generous, kind, sociable and polite. She is extremely well mannered and gregarious. She is loving and always supportive. She has bestowed to me that best attributes on how to be a mother myself. ”

Nora Al Shaikh

Nora Al Sheikh Photographed by Dirk Bader for Vogue Arabia June 2018

“My mom has inspired me in so many ways and has taught me many life lessons, particularly in terms of being strong and resilient in the face of life’s challenges. I think the best ways to inspire and teach other is through example, and just observing her over the years has been a true lesson in class and grace.

Looking back now, my mom planted the seed in me to eventually become a fashion designer. She’s always loved fashion and is of a generation of women in Saudi Arabia and the larger Gulf region, who had her clothes made at the local tailor to her exact specifications. I used to remember going with her to the fabric stores in Riyadh and observing how she selected colors and materials based on their quality. She would then select a particular cut from large magazines, which came out every season, and would tweak certain styles to suit her taste. I would sit for hours watching her discuss a particular design with her tailor. ”

On her first fashion-related memory with her mother: “It was the first time she took me to a fabric store and asked me to pick out material as well as design my own dress for my aunt’s wedding.  That dress and the moment I stepped out in it remains one of my fondest memories. There’s something very empowering about giving children the opportunity to be creative because you’re also teaching them that the world is filled with possibilities.”

The biggest lesson she learned from her mother: “I’ve learned many things from my mother, but probably the most important is empathy and to keep that in mind whether I’m with clients, friends or even my team at my studio. It’s important to create a safe and welcoming space for people to thrive in and that’s probably one of the most important lessons my mom has taught me. ”

Her Mother’s Day wish: “My life is all the richer because of her and that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her love and support. So keep inspiring and spreading joy, mom!”

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