Stylish Emirati makes her mark in the fashion world
ABU DHABI // Manal Ahmed knew from an early age that she wanted to use fashion to make her mark in the world.
She has fulfilled her dream by becoming the first Emirati woman to receive the title of Fashion and Style Ambassador for Fashion Arabia, an international exhibition that gives global exposure to Arabian designers.
“I was chosen as the first Emirati in the media sector from the Arab and Gulf region,” said Ms Ahmed, 33.
“The choice came based on several specifications – preserving culture and traditions, wearing modest clothing, having style and coordination of colours, as well as wearing the right clothes for the right occasion. Make-up also plays a big role.”
Ms Ahmed said she began to understand the trends of fashion by the time she was 8.
“I fell in love with colours, dresses, designs and make-up. I began learning all about fashion and beauty,” she said.
When she accepts the honour this year, Ms Ahmed will wear traditional clothing and jewellery.
“I am happy to be showing people who aren’t used to our dress style what Emirati traditional wear is. It is important to show the Emirati identity.”
She has worked as a presenter on the Oloum Al Dar news segment on Abu Dhabi TV and said this had given her the chance to show her fashion sense.
“I love getting ready, wearing nice clothes and having make-up put on. I love being special and looking unique,” she said.
“Being on the show allowed me to choose the right clothes – what abaya to wear – and how my hair would look. I believe it opened many doors for me.”
Ms Ahmed believed women must always try to dress stylishly.
“A woman must always be elegant and classy,” she said. “To me, I feel this is how she will feel she is exceptional.
“It is also important to always change something in your style – your hair, your make-up, to change the entire appearance every now and then.”
Girls should try to find their own style, Ms Ahmed advised.
“Every girl has beautiful features,” she said. “It could be her hair, her eyes, anything. She must highlight them.”
Ms Ahmed hopes to host her own talk show, to inspire and educate other women on fashion.
“A lot of women want to look good, they want to feel special but lack the knowledge. They don’t know how to dress,” she said.
Many of her friends and family members heed her advice.
“Every woman needs to know what to wear and when – what works for work, or a party or a wedding – and I enjoy helping and making other people feel special, to give them confidence.”
Soon, Ms Ahmed will launch her new fashion line of couture and ready-to-wear, everyday dresses.
She works as an event specialist at Abu Dhabi Media, which publishes The National.