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Daring designer Rana Tabbara, who is known for creating colourfully comfortable clothing for women of all walks of life, is currently producing a line for work and play.
The Bahraini, with Lebanese origins, caught the eye of fashion lovers when she started wearing her own designs in 2012 whilst working as a shop manager at a mall in Dubai.
“I designed some cover-ups and harem trousers for myself and realised I had quite a number of women who were fond of what I was wearing,” said the interior design graduate. “I set out to create a capsule collection of cover-ups and they were sold before I even actually stitched them!”
When the mother-of-three returned to the kingdom with her family at the beginning of 2016, she immediately set to work creating bishts for men and women to adorn.
A bisht is a traditional men’s cloak that is popular in the Arab world and worn over a thobe. It is usually black, brown, beige, cream or grey in colour.
Rana’s bishts, however, are colourful and captivating with intricate designs and prints. “I designed and curated some bishts and sent out invitations to all the people I knew to come view my collection from home. It was a success and I sold out! I knew then and there, this was turning into a profitable business and that I had to start planning bigger more detailed collections.”
Ninousha, which is her and her husband’s nickname combined, was born. She said: “We always support one another. I felt it best represented my identity. Ninousha is all about empowering women, helping them see their beauty, love themselves and feel good in my fashion.”
Her designs cater to women aged 25 to 55 that love to express themselves through outfits while still staying modest. Her collections mostly include bishts, abayas, robes and kaftans, styled cover-ups and harem trousers. Over the winter, she introduced coats and blazers. She is now working on her next line for women to wear by day and by night.
Rana believes in using natural materials such as pure cotton and linen. And while her designs are quite conservative, she says they are also ‘super expressive and unique’.
“I have always been inspired by the East, with its intricate embroidery and majestic looking fabrics and oriental designs, and the West, which can be seen by the symbols and colours that I integrate into my designs,” said the former photographer.
“That is why my creations appeal both to locals and expatriates. I was born in the US, lived there till the age of seven and then moved to Bahrain. As a family we had travelled quite a bit and lots of cultures had been ingrained into my mind.
“My designs call to all women from all walks of life. I use fashion to connect and unite with people.”
Rana, who has featured her designs online, at pop-up markets, exhibitions and in major stores, hasn’t let Covid-19 get her down.
She said: “I knew it wouldn’t be easy from the start. Even despite the Covid-19 situation, owning a business takes a lot of effort, planning and proper execution. But, each and every day, I wake up, hit play and repeat the next day.
“It’s all about constant commitment and non-stop determination. I experimented with ways to capture my audience’s attention. I did face challenges recently, however, I kept finding ways to overcome them and used tactics such as creating promos and discounted ranges and this really helped.
“I’m also currently planning collaborations since this is the time that brands really need to help one another for a higher awareness and stronger visibility in the market.
“My message to all is to never lose faith and just search for solutions to boost your visibility and sales. This is the time to connect with your audience more than ever and let them know that you appreciate their support.”
She can be found on Instagram @ninoushafashion and Facebook and by visiting www.ninousha.com