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High Profile Magazine

Rayan Al Sulaimani

The Omani Fashion Designer Taking Over the World

Atelier Zuhra was established in 2015 by entrepreneur Mouza Al Awfi, who wanted to create a unique couture atelier. She had always dreamed of dressing women glamorously, and the Atelier is the realisation of that dream. In the years since, her daughter, Rayan Al Sulaimani, has taken over Atelier Zuhra, and in that time she has expanded the business to the next level by opening a boutique in Muscat, Oman. In the next 5 years, Rayan hopes to start her phase of international expansion, with the aim of opening a boutique in Paris, the capital of fashion. Atelier Zuhra magnifies the femininity of a woman with the expertise of fabricating delicate embroidery, outstanding quality and artistic design, using beautiful and precious elements to create Atelier Zuhra’s timeless dresses.

Rayan Al Sulaimani

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How do you ensure that each collection encapsulates and magnifies the femininity of women?

With each collection that we design here at Atelier Zuhra, we are always designing for women who love to wear truly impressive dresses combined with a variation of unique pieces which will allow their inner beauty to shine outwards into the world.
We want every dress that we create to send a message of strength, boldness and adventurousness about the person wearing it. We want the women who wear our dresses to feel empowered and beautiful, and so we put femininity at the heart of everything we create.

Our mission is to use our creativity and innovation to dress fashionable women in the dresses of their dreams, always providing them with the most exceptional dressing experience along the way. Each piece that we create magnifies a woman’s femininity through delicate embroidery, outstanding quality, and unique artistic design, and we ensure to use precious elements to create our timeless dresses, and to help women look and feel their best when they are wearing our clothes.

What makes Atelier Zuhra stand out from its competitors?

I believe there are many things that make Atelier Zuhra stands out from our competitors. One of the key things is the techniques we use to create each piece, as our techniques are tailored to suit each design and every piece is crafted with the utmost love and care.

We also make sure to only use high-quality materials in all of our pieces, as it is part of our fundamental ethos to ensure that each piece is made to the highest quality, with materials which complement the piece to make it look its very best.
Finally, the service we provide to our clients is an essential part of our business which makes us different to our competitors. Every client we work with receives a bespoke service, and it is our highest priority to make sure we cater fully to all of their needs, and help them to find the dress of their dreams.

What gives you the inspiration behind your collections?

It is my opinion that ultimately, fashion designers are artists, and so just like any other artist out there, they derive a lot of their inspiration from their own backgrounds, culture, personal experiences, and surroundings. For me, most of my creative influence for my collections is drawn from art and culture, as these are the things that inspire me the most. I love to travel around the world so that I can draw inspiration from the arts and cultures of other countries, as I feel that this allows me to add a unique twist to everything I design. I am also deeply inspired by Mother Nature and the world around me, as I think adding the natural into my designs allows Atelier Zuhra’s dresses to truly complement the world in which they are being worn.

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In the next 5 years, you hope to expand internationally, with the aim of opening a boutique in Paris. What is your plan to achieve this goal?

As a design house, we at Atelier Zuhra believe in growth, which international expansion is a part of. We are always trying to attain new levels of success; with every collection that we design, we always try and better ourselves and reach a wider audience. This approach has definitely worked in our favour, as we have continuously grown since our inception in 2015, and are continuing to do so.

I am extremely satisfied with the level of success that we have been able to attain in such a short amount of time. Having said that, I feel that we have a lot of scope to expand further on an international scale in years to come. I hope that in the next 5 years we are able to grow the label and expand to as many countries as possible, as it would be amazing for us to reach a large audience across the globe.

If you could design a dress for any celebrity, who would you choose, and why would you choose them?

My dream client for whom I would love to design a gown would have to be Jennifer Lopez. Jennifer Lopez is a global icon, and so having the chance to design a dress for her would be an honour, as it would expose the brand to a huge global audience on an unprecedented scale. I would also like to design a dress for her as I believe that she is the embodiment of femininity, which is the principle at the core of all of our designs. To design a gown for someone who embodies our mission so completely would be incredible, and I hope that one day I get the opportunity to do so!

What is your favourite piece that Atelier Zuhra has designed so far, and why?

As a designer, it is very difficult to select a favourite piece from any one collection, let alone from all of our collections combined. Each collection has a different story, and each piece has its own inspirations, so they all mean different things to me. I am incredibly proud of every piece we design, and to choose one would be like a mother choosing a favourite child, it would just be impossible! I love our designs, and each of them is special to me for its own reasons, so I would have to say that I can’t possibly choose a favourite piece.

What is your ultimate goal for Atelier Zuhra?

My ultimate goal for Atelier Zuhra is to achieve our international expansion goal. I would love for the label to be recognised in countries beyond the Middle East, as having that kind of global exposure would be incredible for the brand, and I would be very proud to be able to make that happen. Therefore, with each collection we design, we are walking towards this ultimate goal of appealing to a large global audience. Watch this space!

Atelier Zuhra Dress

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What is the greatest challenge you have faced since taking over the Atelier?

As a fashion designer and as CEO of Atelier Zuhra, I would have to say that my biggest challenge at the moment is the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having. The pandemic has had a huge effect on the whole world, and the fashion industry has sadly been affected very badly in the last year. The industry has felt the effects of the pandemic in a number of ways.

One of the main effects of the pandemic has been that fashion shows have been forced to cancel, meaning fashion brands are unable to host shows to showcase their work, which automatically reduces brand exposure. Another huge effect has been that celebrities and influencers have been unable to attend events, and so designers are no longer able to create bespoke outfits for them to wear to those events, and so income and exposure has been reduced for many brands.

Luckily, we have been able to use this opportunity as a means of cutting our costs, which has meant that the impact has been lessened to an extent. We have also diversified our product range to include denim, which will expose us to a greater market in years to come, as it is a more diverse market. We have also adapted to use online platforms for the purpose of client consultations, allowing us to produce haute couture gowns without any need for physical contact, which will allow us to reach a more international market, as we will be able to conduct such consultations into the future should a client be unable to come to us.

Finally, we expanded our business to a brand new location in Jumeirah, Dubai. This is a huge step in the right direction for the business, as it is a move towards our goal of international expansion. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to keep Atelier Zuhra going during this difficult time, and I am very grateful to have still had clients to work with, as I know so many businesses have not had this opportunity. I hope to use our new location in Jumeirah as a first step in our plan to reach a wider audience, particularly as Dubai is an incredibly popular location with tourists from all over the world, thus meaning that our designs will now be accessible to a wider audience from across the globe.