Dubai: As the countdown to Eid Al Adha begins the modiste, seamstresses and intricate designmakers are racing against the clock to meet their delivery deadlines.
Fashion designing and tailoring shops from the bustling bylanes of Bur Dubai to the tall towers of Jumeriah Lake Towers are teeming with women trying to translate their dream design into a garment of preference for the festivities next week.
Master cutter Usman Haider Idris from the popular tailoring joint Dream Girl in Bur Dubai said, “It usually gets busy around all festivals. But Eid Al Adha is special as many of our customers are travelling to UK or US or other parts of the world to celebrate with families. They find it easier and inexpensive to get dresses tailored here. We have entire families — grandmothers, mothers and granddaughters come in for special Eid dresses. Now we are into last minute fittings and alterations and every tailor in the shop is deluged with deadlines. But we enjoy this buzz.”
The basic tailoring charge for an Asian ensemble of a tunic, dupatta and trousers at Dream Girl costs Dh100. “But charges go up for lining, embroidery and other embellishments,” said Haider who added that each tailor at their unit was stitching up to six outfits in a day this week.
The great festival rush this season began in mid-July, according to Faiza Malik, seamstress, designer and founder of Ensemble, a haute couture store in Dubai. As a child in Pakistan, Malik learned the art of embroidery from the nuns at her convent school and designed her own clothes with special hand embroidered motifs every Eid. “My passion led me to become a seamstress and designer and I enjoy spending my time at Ensemble that I founded seven years ago. The rush this year began nearly a fortnight ago. “By July 15, our regular clients had started coming in with their dress material. We had entire families troop in for Eid outfits. Usually, I sit in with them to provide my suggestions for the design, the trimmings, the embellishments and the accessories such as bangles, earrings and necklaces that we retail. For Eid we have all new collections in costume jewellery as well as ready-made outfits from popular Pakistani and Indian designers. Those who are impatient usually try out our ready to wear line and get it altered to their sizes. Others get their fabrics tailored,” explained Malik.
Most women prefer to get their dresses tailored and that is why planning is essential and that explains the rush from a month before Eid.
Sabiha Hassan, a Dubai expatriate of 18 years explained: “I like to watch the fashion trends, the colours, the cuts and the designs before I design my own outfit. This Eid it is the usual sharara, ghararas (flared trousers with trimmings) and very embellished tunics with lace trimmings in pastel shades that are in. I am getting mine designed at my tailor in Bur Dubai.”
Malik said: “I have a staff of ten — two master cutters who are entrusted with taking the right measurements and cutting the fabrics and each of the master cutters has about three tailoring hands who stitch the garments. I have two karigars (handwork men). One of them is an expert in diamante and beadwork and the other does embroidery and lace work. Once I have discussed the cut and the embellishments with the client, the master cutter takes the measurements and the fabric is cut. If there is any embroidery or trimming, the karigars work on that and then pass it on to the tailors. Once the job is done the master adds his final touches and calls the client in for fitting. In case, there is any further alteration to be done after the trial, that is carried out. So the whole process takes at least a week,” elaborated Malik. Her team has been putting in 8 hours of work each day with some time for rest in between. “We cannot stress out our tailoring team and provide them ample rest time. In case work is pending they pull in some hours on weekends on overtime,” she added.
The Eid fever is palpable throughout the community. Bella Aggarwal, a UK national and expatriate resident of Dubai for the last 15 years is getting a special Eid trousseau ready at Ensemble. “I have been coming to this place for years. I love the embroidery, the cuts, beads, baubles and embellishments. I have many Eid dinners to attend on those three days. So I came down to buy a few dresses. I am picking up from the ready to wear line and getting outfits altered and matching them with the right accessories. I also have a wedding coming up in UK in the winters and feel these outfits will serve both purposes.”
At Tailormade, tailoring and fashion designing unit in Jumeirah Lake Towers, sisters Jigna and Reshma Parmar who also happen to be married to two brothers in the famous Parmar tailoring family, have been working overtime to meet the Eid rush. “We have a team of seven tailors of whom two are master cutters. Each one of them is finishing up to seven outfits a day,” explained Jigna.
This Eid most of her clients from India are getting Indo Western outfits tailored for Eid. “These outfits look smart and dressy and can work for other formal occasions too,” explained Reshma.
The sisters love the festive buzz and arrive early morning at their shop before their staff troops in. They contribute to designing and dealing with clients and make sure the tailoring process is streamlined. “We make sure things work smoothly as there is a pile of work to be done and it is important we supervise and take care so that we are able to meet the deadlines for the festival. The Parmar sisters predicted the rush to last right until the eve of the big day. “There are last minute customers who come in just to get a dupatta (stole) designed for an existing outfit or have alterations to be carried out. So we have braced ourselves to meet their needs right up to Eid,” said Jigna.