Dubai Modest Fashion Week, held at the Emerald Palace Kempinski in March this year, was the perfect platform for Safiya Abdallah, founder of Dulce by Safiya, to showcase her current Nostalgia collection. “The way I see it, modesty has no specific criteria. Depending on an individual’s style, a look can change it entirely,” says the Dubai-based designer. “I want to provide fashion that fits the lifestyle of every woman while providing glamour and comfort.”
Born to a north-African father and Mexican mother and raised in southern California, Abdallah studied at LA’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising before switching to psychology. The 33-year-old has a strong sense of what the 1970s and early 1980s would have been like based on her grandmother’s hand-made outfits for her mother, and her Nostalgia collection (five pieces of which were showcased at Dubai Modest Fashion Week) is an interpretation of this retrospective.
The pieces include a Japanese-inspired kimono set, blush two-toned linen smocks, and terracotta cape dresses with gold detail. Bridging the gap between cultures is at the heart of Abdallah process to create a brand where every woman can find something personal. Her vision is to erase the lines women create to differentiate themselves based on a scarf and to start celebrating their similarities.
Her modest, inclusive label has won over the likes of Gwen Stefani and Maya Diab and she’s just announced a collaboration with rising pop star Salwa Nouri, entitled Future. “I first heard of Nouri about a year ago, when a friend of mine sent me an article about her. I listened to her voice and immediately loved what I heard and saw,” Abdallah says.
Nouri’s story is one of stoicism, feminism, and ambition. Born in a Syrian refugee camp after fleeing her Kurdish homeland, she and her family were granted asylum in New Zealand when she was three. “We both aim to break stereotypes on Middle Eastern women,” Abdallah shares. “I admire her work ethic and talent. We are both hardworking and keep our progress silent until we prove ourselves. We like to let the results speak for themselves.”