The height of fashion

Emily Handford
Emily Handford

Fashion entrepreneur Khulood Thani explains why Dubai's evolving landscape provides inspiration for her label, Bint Thani, as she shares her thoughts on the city's growing infrastructure for the arts

Born and raised in Dubai, Khulood Thani grew up being fascinated about fashion, design and the arts, and enjoyed visiting fashion museums, design festivals and art fairs.

After years of hands-on experience in the events industry, she decided to combine her business acumen and affinity for fashion to create her own fashion label, Bint Thani.

Applauded for her distinctive silk turbans that became popular at international events such as the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2012 and Dubai’s Fashion Forward season one show, her work has since been showcased internationally.

For me, fashion is a statement, a story, or a certain time, and I would like my designs to document the contemporary Dubai

Khulood Thani, Designer and Founder of Bint Thani

Most recently, she collaborated with Inter Act to produce a 3D printed dress which was presented at the Meet D3 (a three-day community event at Dubai’s new design district). She has also represented Bint Thani at the exclusive fashion trade fair: Origin, Passion and Beliefs in Vicenza, Italy.

Part of the label’s charm, however, is that although her designs appeal to global audiences, they are firmly grounded in Dubai. As Khulood explains, “I like my stories to be localised, even if my garments are international."

Her roots are clearly important. She feels that growing up in Dubai and being Emirati has played a vital role in her inspiration. “Growing up in such a challenging city made me want to challenge the norms, my process of design, and my final designs too."

The modern architecture of Dubai has been influential in Khulood’s work. Some of her recent collection reflects an architectural style, which Khulood describes as, “inspired from the cubism art movement and the modern architecture of Dubai.

"We had pieces that are very architectural, some focused on certain techniques such as organised pleats, disorganised pleats and laser cuts of glass windows in Dubai.”

3D printed dress
Khulood's designs feature bold, jutting edges and laser cut shapes to reflect Dubai's modern skylineImage: Saeed Khalifa

Keen to tell a story through her designs, she aims to record Dubai's evolving landscape. “For me, fashion is a statement, a story, or a certain time, and I would like my designs to document the contemporary Dubai.”

At first, when Khulood was setting up, she found that selecting which stories to tell was difficult.

“Finding yourself in your brand is an important element, and finding your own stories that you want to tell through fashion. As an Emirati woman, I feel really lucky because women have always been involved in the success journey of the UAE in general, and have been empowered at so many levels.”

Khulood is also optimistic about opportunities for other artists amid an expansion of the city's infrastructure for creatives.

“There are a number of great initiatives happening locally, such as the launch of the Dubai Design District and the Dubai Fashion and Design Council, not forgetting projects such as Design Days Dubai and Fashion Forward, which I believe, were the main drivers to grow the creative industry.”