Made in Abu Dhabi: Where to buy the best homegrown stuff
Homegrown fashion labels, artists, and homewares are putting the capital on the map. Here’s your guide to the very best.
ART IN THE CITY
American expat Maria Hegedus launched a colouring packet with ten designs inspired by the UAE earlier this year. The pack features hand-drawn images of Arabian horses, coffee pots, camels, the Al Jahili Fort and more. Hegedus, a fine artist and muralist, is planning on releasing other packets in the future. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from Color UAE will also be donated to the non-profit Wanna Read? organisation, which aims to promote literacy and also provides books to paediatric wards.
Wanna Read? Villa 7, Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, Dhs39. Tel: (02) 5555494. Taxi: Villa 7 on Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street 8. facebook.com/Coloruae
Jordanian artist Aladdin Abdeen creates beautiful works of art inspired by Arabic and Oriental decoration work. In addition to prints, he also makes caved wooden boxes, pottery and brass decorations. While most of his collection features both Arabic and Islamic calligraphy, Abdeen does offer a pop art-inspired portrait of famous Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum if you’re looking for more modern artwork.
POP-UPS THAT SELL LOCAL STUFF
By far one of the most stylish and put-together pop-up shops in the city, the fashion collective La Loupe is aimed at buyers of vintage jewellery, quirky accessories and trendy up-and-coming local labels. Expect to see over 40 to 50 homegrown brands from the UAE at their monthly events, including Abu Dhabi-based all natural skin care product line Bait Zait. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to find out where they will surface next.
A farmers’ market in every sense of the word, there’s a huge section of organic and homegrown fruits and veggies as well as cool craft stalls, live music and more. They’ve got a couple of locations in the city, but by far our favourite is Umm Al Emarat Park. While the date is to be confirmed, Ripe Market will relaunch in October at the park.
a Umm Al Emarat Park, Mushrif, Abu Dhabi, Sat 4pm to 9pm. Tel: (02) 6669559. Taxi: Umm Al Emarat Park on Karamah Street. ummalemaratpark.ae
COOL STUFF YOU CAN BUY
In addition to teaching art classes (think basic sketching, clay modeling and sewing by hand) in the capital, Algerian architecture university student Zineddine Messaadia also sells his own homemade Japanese- inspired plushies at his online shop Ideyna. Described as being ‘kawai’ or cute/weird in Japanese, he sells a variety of miniature clay charms, felt toys and accessories.
“It all started with a sock monkey,” says British expat Kate Carter of her handmade handicrafts business, Fabric Kate. She first began selling her products at handmade markets in the capital four years ago and has since moved online. “I specialise in in personalised items aimed at celebrations of every kind.” That includes bunting, party bags, favours and, more recently, hand poured, non toxic novelty crayons.
Birds & Dandelions
Launched on online shop Little Majlis in March 2015, this handmade/up-cycled shop features a little bit of everything. Created by Sri Lankan expat Ronali Bruce, expect personalised stationary, framed artwork, decorated white goods and an adult colouring book. “I’ve always loved being creative, but a few years ago Pinterest sucked me into a whole new world of creative explorations,” says Bruce. “That inspired me to create work that captures this part of the world that I call home.”
FASHION FROM HOME
Established in 2011, this collection of abayas, dresses, kaftans and accessories by Emirati artist/designer Sumayyah Al Suwaidi has debuted at both the London and Miami Fashion Week. Visit her Instagram to see her latest collection.
TutuBug Abu Dhabi
Slovakian seamstress Lenka Uzakova Alkhateeb began the child line TutuBug Abu Dhabi three years ago after sewing unique and funky clothes for her young daughter. Expect to see colourful party outfits including custom made tutus, dresses, costumes and flower girl dresses. With over 500 customers so far, Alkhateeb hopes to eventually open up her own studio and shop.