Young, Restless and Driven – Hanan & Hessa

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  • Photograph by: Sarfaraz Ali Photography

Photograph by: Sarfaraz Ali Photography

Photograph by: Sarfaraz Ali Photography

Meet those that are changing the face of the industries they call their own. The young ones, whose vision of the world push us to look past our boundaries and expand our horizons. The ones that dared to dream and fought to achieve

Hanan and Hessa AlShafar


Emirati designer duo, Hanan and Hessa AlShafar launched their independent fashion label in 2014 to bring together ready-to-wear and made to measure. Keeping their focus on quality, craftsmanship and beautiful silhouettes, they drew their inspiration from art, architecture, the environment and subcultures. “We decided to combine the tradition of the East with the modernity of the West to create a design that refines emotions by being brave, courageous and powerful,” explains Hessa.

“We always knew we wanted to launch our independent fashion label. We were curious about creating exceptional silhouettes under a solid fashion brand,” she says. But the sisters realised that what they lacked was an education in fashion. “We decided to take short courses in fashion design and materials from the London College of Fashion and this helped us gather the knowledge we needed to take that first step.” Knowing that learning does not stop, the girls are constantly improving on their skills and enhancing their knowledge through the people they work with and the rich industry they surround themselves with. Carefully dividing the roles based on core strengths, Hessa looks after design and production of their atelier while Hanan manages business operations and oversees quality control. “That being said, we share everything as this is a dream we both shared and we are accomplishing this together,” explains Hessa.

With POSE/ARAZZI coming to life during the winter, the girls drew the inspiration for their Autumn/Winter collection from the winter coat with its shape and usage being the core elements. The collection ended up being a combination between various types of coats that was represented with different cuts, structures and shapes. “With choosing to target two different audiences, we had to develop a design that catered to both. So, each design came in two versions, a long coat and a short coat,” she says, going on to explain that their signature pieces can be worn in different styles, such as, their coat/ jumpsuit piece.

Bringing together ready-to-wear and made-to-measure is what makes POSE/ARAZZI unique. “We also have our own formula for limited editions,” says Hanan, “with only five editions of each design, the pieces become unique and exclusive to the client.” They also take into account that the climate over here, while cold, is not extremely so which is why they use waterproof fabrics, genuine camel leather and a mix of cotton and wool. These are fabrics inspired by the winter but are not too warm for the region. Taking their unique angle to another level, the girls came up with a name that is a hybrid too. “We brought ‘pose’ and ‘paparazzi’ together to pay tribute to our core clientele who are the high society ladies of this region. These ladies are photographed at numerous events and like to show off the outfits they are wearing,” explains Hessa.

With their attention now set on their Spring/Summer 2015 collection, the girls want their brand to grow organically. “We are working on establishing a presence in certain concept stores, retailers and online platforms. We’re also looking at introducing new segments for the brand. But most importantly, we want to introduce innovative concepts and designs,” says Hanan with the understanding that, in the end their clientele want quality pieces and tailored service. She ends with telling us, “To have our own flagship store, is what we are aiming for.”

By Sharon Carvalho