Manar al Hinai is an emerging Emirati fashion designer based in Abu Dhabi. Notably, Al Hinai graduated as the first Arab student to hold a Master’s degree in Diversity Management from the University of Leeds, instilling values prevalent in her approach to design. Having realised that fashion was her true ambition, al Hinai launched her label Lucky Nooni and debut collection in 2010.
The ethos behind the label is anchored in preserving part of the designer’s heritage within a contemporary, globalized world and fashion market. Lucky Nooni combines the aesthetics of traditional Khaleeji embroidery with contemporary design to create statement pieces that merge traditional heritage with the modern world.
A mere year into Lucky Nooni’s fruition, al Hinai received the prestigious L’Officiel “Abu Dhabi’s Arab Woman of the Year” award in celebration of her fashion label. In 2012 al Hinai was also noted in Ahlan’s UAE Hot 100 influential people’s list. We spoke to Manar al Hinai to discover more about her creative inspirations and the Lucky Nooni design process.
What first inspired you to use traditional Khaleeji embroidery in your designs?
The lack of contemporary wear that reflected my Khaleeji culture and traditional designs is what inspired me to design my first collection in 2010. I wanted to be able to wear something trendy, but also reflecting my culture.
How do fabrics and forms influence the design process?
When it comes to my line, they influence it very much. I dig through my late grandmother’s traditional thobes, embroidered with beautiful golden threads, and it just unleashes different design ideas racing through my head. Also, I make sure to stick to traditional embroidery design, but combine it with the season’s colours, and embellishments.
How important is the role of colour within your designs?
It is very important. Since I use basic shirt cuts, the colour of the stitching or embroidery work is what I work on to grab the viewer’s attention. Thus it is important to use different kind of threads and beads if the shirt is white or black. I opt for strong and vibrant colours with statement beads such as studs or pearls.
Describe the Lucky Nooni woman you have in mind when designing.
The Lucky Nooni woman is very fashionable, appreciates traditional wear, and loves to stand out by wearing something unique.
What are your aspirations for the future direction for the brand?
I am lucky to have my line carried in three different GCC countries: UAE, Oman, and Bahrain. I am looking forward to introducing it to an international department store this year, and hopefully breaking into the Western markets. Westerners seem to be very interested in my design as it’s unique and different from what they see every day.
When can we expect to see more from Lucky Nooni?
I have released five collections so far since launching my brand in 2010, and the next one will be launched in winter 2012. Stay tuned!
WORDS: ALICE GIORGINA McCONNELL
ILLUSTRATION: NICOLA O’PREY