Talking Fairies, Pearls, And Abayas With The Sisters Behind Endemage: My Interview With The Omani Fashion Design Duo

Endemage is an Omani fashion label imagined up by sisters Lubna and Nadia Al Zakwani. It’s a little bit fairy tale princess and a little bit old Hollywood, with designs inspired by strings of Gulf pearls and the abaya (the traditional flowing robe worn by women in the Gulf).  S*uce in Dubai just debuted Endemage and I spent a dreamy afternoon in the Jumeirah boutique (and fell in love with a magically floaty white skirt along the way) before interviewing the sisters about their Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection

Beauty and Brains: Nadia and Lubna of Endemage at Muscat Fashion Week

Beauty and Brains: Nadia and Lubna of Endemage at Muscat Fashion Week

Q&A with Lubna and Nadia of Endemage

DL: What is it like designing and directing a brand with your sister?

SISTERS: It’s always helpful to have two pairs of hands instead of one, but as you may have guessed were not always on the same wavelength! This actually helps us think outside the box and expand beyond our comfort zone. When we have two completely different themes we work together and meet in the middle.

DL: What is your creative process like together and when do you get your best ideas?

LUBNA: I am inspired by anything from history to nature, once I pick a theme I discuss it with my sister Nadia, and we start brainstorming from there. This is where it gets fun; we explore the traditional souks (markets) for different pieces that inspire us and I start preparing my initial sketches. I always make more than one sketch and show them to my sister. She then gives me her input and I take both ideas and come up with a sketch incorporating both designs. I then experiment with several different draping styles until we are both satisfied.

I fell in love with the skirt on the left when I met in in person. The lace was sturdy but the skirt had an ethereal feel to it that made me feel like a butterfly. The dress on the right incorporates traditional Omani fabric in a rich velvet and would look particularly glamorous on a taller woman

I fell in love with the skirt on the left when I met in in person. The lace was sturdy but the skirt had an ethereal quality to it that made me feel like a butterfly. The dress on the right incorporates traditional Omani fabric in a rich velvet and would look particularly glamorous on a taller woman

SISTERS: We believe the abaya has become a fashionable statement for every woman. It’s her way of expressing her style with respect to the culture. We like experimenting with the abaya and playing with silhouettes to compliment different body types, so a woman can still feel alluring while staying modest.

DL: The last Muscat Fashion Week struck me as nothing short of delicious and made me realize that there is a distinct Omani style. Have your country’s traditions and textiles influenced your designs?

SISTERS: Oman is a country that is waiting to be exposed. It is filled with rich cultures and traditions. We are influenced by everything we see; the fabrics, embroidery, jewelry, and natural beauty. Through our collection we are trying to subtly bring out these beautiful treasures that Oman holds.

The velvet in this skirt felt substantial and lusciously soft in my hands. The beadwork was meticulously detailed in shimmering purple and reminded me of one of the antique mosaics that can be found in old Muscat architecture

The velvet in this skirt felt substantial in my hands. The beadwork was meticulously detailed in shimmering purple and reminded me of one of the antique mosaics that can be found in old Muscat architecture

DL: Who or what is on your inspiration board for this season’s collection?

SISTERS: Our Spring/Summer 2013 collection is inspired by the pearl—a precious stone found in the beautiful Omani waters. We have reinterpreted the pearl with everything we used, from the colors and texture to the cuts of the designs.

DL: If you could be an imaginary creature (a unicorn, a mermaid, Etc…), what would you become and why?

LUBNA: A Fairy, because they are dreamy and bring happiness into peoples lives.

The fairy of Lubna’s imagination

The fairy of Lubna’s imagination

DL: If you could meet any designer, who would it be?

SISTERS: Karl Largerfeld, because he’s always been our fashion icon and we want a glimpse into the inner workings of his ingenious mind.

Karl Lagerfeld of CHANEL

Karl Lagerfeld of CHANEL

DL: If you were suddenly banished to a desert island occupied by just you and your sister, and you could each bring along one book, one item of clothing, and one food, what would you choose?

LUBNA: Book: The Quran (the holy book of Islam), it would keep me calm and I would never be bored. Clothing: A traditional Omani Jalabiya in homage to where I came from. Food: I can’t live without rice!

DL: Shhh! Tell me a secret about yourselves!

SISTERS: We’re just typical Middle Eastern girls, who loves fashion and have big dreams. We are on the way to making those dreams become a reality and hope to inspire others in believing in their visions and following through.

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Good Ideas: To see and touch the Endemage label in person, visit your local S*uce boutique. The sisters at Endemage document all their adventures on and off the runway here.

Photo Credits: All images courtesy of Endemage and S*uce