All Things Mochi boasts homespun Ramadan collection

The Dubai-based brand has long been a champion of ethical threads, incorporating artisanal embroidery techniques from across the globe into perennially boho-chic blouses and billowy dresses. (Amy Sturgis)
Updated 17 May 2018
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All Things Mochi boasts homespun Ramadan collection

  • The Dubai-based brand has long been a champion of ethical threads, incorporating artisanal embroidery techniques from across the globe into perennially boho-chic blouses and billowy dresses
  •  This year’s Ramadan collection is no exception, but a local spin makes it particularly appropriate for the Holy Month

LONDON: While a range of designers and retailers have rolled out special capsule collections this year, All Things Mochi may take the cake for its full embrace of the Ramadan spirit.  

The Dubai-based brand has long been a champion of ethical threads, incorporating artisanal embroidery techniques from across the globe into perennially boho-chic blouses and billowy dresses. This year’s Ramadan collection is no exception, but a local spin makes it particularly appropriate for the Holy Month — launched in collaboration with the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, the line features “Talli” braiding, a traditional brocading technique that has been used to adorn Emirati dresses for centuries.  While Emirati craftswomen have passed on this ancient weaving knowledge through the generations, the Mochi Ramadan collection will fit comfortably in modern wardrobes: Billowy kaftans and ankle-skimming dresses are patterned with printed and embroidered hands. Inspired by henna, another embellishment with a long local history, the line embodies a casual, bohemian vibe. Patterned with the collection’s token henna hands, the Maliha dress — with a slight crew neck and three-quarter-length sleeves — would be equally perfect for a stroll in Los Angeles or an iftar gathering in Jeddah. If blushed and earthy ochre tones dominate the line, bold-hued bracelets, chokers and earrings are the perfect complements to an otherwise subtle and chic Ramadan collection.

The entire look book is at once modern and modest—a full embrace of Emirati femininity and history with easy, loose silhouettes.

 “‘I am really happy with how this collection developed, it really represents everything my brand stands for (and) makes clear reference to the culture I am surrounded by day in day out,” said All Things Mochi founder Ayah Tabari. “It strongly recognizes the talent that is amongst us in the region and the communities which are helping to sustain their craft.”

But the line is far more than an historical homage: Each design was handwoven by one of 36 female artisans at the Bidwa Development Program Center in Sharjah in an initiative by the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, which helps connect local craftswomen with global designers eager to incorporate their unique intricate embellishments in their designs. 

With nimble, hennaed fingers, women at the Sharjah-based center transform spools of thread into Mochi’s luxe frocks.    

“The council’s Bidwa Social Development Program, in Dibba Al-Hisn in Sharjah, enables craftswomen to generate a sustainable source of income and achieve professional and social empowerment through their craft,” explains Reem Bin Karam, director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment in a released statement.

Mochi has championed the skills of local craftswomen across the globe and  Tabari has previously worked with female artisans from Morocco to Uzbekistan.  Originally from Palestine, Tabari insists upon creating designs that are both culturally authentic and befitting of the jet-set fashionistas she counts among her clientele. Her approach has generated a cult following — everyone from Georgia Jagger to Queen Rania of Jordan have donned the duds. Earlier this year, Tabari presented a Mexico-inspired collection at New York Fashion Week. 

But the local roots and story behind the 2018 Ramadan collection make it particularly appropriate for the season. Bridging the gap between glossy modern malls and home-spun Emirati heritage, the line is a festive celebration of both the old and the new.


Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approves new tobacco license regulation

Updated 42 min 10 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approves new tobacco license regulation

  • Annual license will cost more than $26,000
  • New measure could lead to more vaping, says expert

JEDDAH: Cafes and restaurants in Saudi Arabia will have to pay up to SR100,000 ($26,675) a year to sell tobacco products inside and outside their premises, after the Cabinet approved a new licensing regulation.

Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to ratify the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, an ambitious plan to reduce smoking rates from 12.7 percent to 5 percent by 2030.

The Health Ministry has taken steps to curb smoking through awareness campaigns and cessation clinics. Taxes on cigarettes doubled in 2017, leading to a 213 percent increase in smokers seeking help to kick the habit in the months that followed.

Saudi restaurant owner Hassan Moriah supported the Cabinet decision, although he said customers would be hit the hardest.

“Every restaurant and café manager should be licensed to provide this service. I believe all restaurants and cafés will support this decision too, but I believe the only people who will be affected by this decision are the customers,” he told Arab News. “All outlets will raise the price of hookahs. The actual people who would be paying for it to reach SR100,000 are the customers and not the cafés. Yes, there will be people who cannot afford to pay the new prices and they may have to cut down on their hookah consumption.”

The new regulation would also affect places that were not so popular, he added.

Associate professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University Dr. Sean Foley, who is writing a book on smoking in Saudi Arabia and the wider Muslim world, said the new law was part of the Kingdom’s attempts to address a serious health crisis while also meeting a goal of the Vision 2030 reform plan to move away from non-oil revenues.

“While raising cigarette taxes is a proven strategy for reducing smoking, the new SR100,000 annual fee for Saudi restaurants to permit patrons to smoke may be even more important,” he told Arab News. “Many restaurants may not be able to afford to pay for such an expensive permit, so there is likely to be less smoking in restaurants. That would mean there will be fewer people exposed to second-hand smoke in restaurants, itself a serious problem, and existing smokers would have a powerful new incentive to quit. Studies have consistently shown that creating smoke-free areas is one of the most powerful tools to motivate and help existing tobacco users to quit while preventing new smokers from picking up the habit.”

"The academic, who has written "Changing Saudi Arabia: Art, Culture, and Society in the Kingdom" published this year, said the Kingdom had some of the highest smoking rates in the world.

He added that the problem was getting worse as the number of smokers in Saudi Arabia was expected to rise from six million to 10 million in the coming years.

He warned that while there was the danger of a rise in smuggling and other black-market activities — because of the higher costs associated with smoking — there were other challenges too.

“The real danger is not the rise in black-market activity but that Saudis will continue to switch in large numbers to a product that is currently legal to use — vaping. While purchasing any of the products associated with vaping is illegal in the Kingdom, it is legal to vape in public and many Saudis buy vape juice and vape modules online.”