Sara N Al Ateeqi is undeniably a solution-oriented fashionista. If she searches for an item of clothing that she cannot find, she simply makes it as she envisions it. From her practical work trousers to elegant Ramadan Kaftans, Al Ateeqi’s designs depict an effortless, Arab-inspired charm. The charm of understated beauty, Al Ateeqi’s lifestyle brand, Qumar 14, is unattached to passing trends. On the contrary, Qumar 14 reflects Al Ateeqi’s passionate affair with beautiful, well-made garments that reflect her style and attitude towards modern attire suited for her and like-minded women.
With a career in finance, Al Ateeqi never neglected her eye for design, color, and style. Her look is nonchalant from afar, understatedly elegant, and simple. Meeting her for a pre-work coffee, we immediately notice her passion for color and interesting design in the way in which she accessorizes; her monotone outfit of subdued shades of gray and cream comes alive with her vibrant shoes.
Surprisingly to most, Al Ateeqi has been making her clothes for years. She explains, “I’ve been making Kaftans and daily wear garments for years without publicizing my work. It was never quite my intent to do so, yet as I started making Kaftans for myself four years ago, my friends were eager to have some, as well.” Her intent was actually far simpler, as she searched for a simply-styled Kaftan that wasn’t overly embellished, nor made from cheaper quality fabrics, and sometimes even rather overpriced. Although Al Ateeqi never approached people to sell her Kaftans, she received requests with each Ramadan season that came and went.
After an editorial experience about her Ramadan Kaftans with Khaleejesque, an online lifestyle magazine geared towards the Arabian Gulf region, word spread about Qumar 14’s simple, classic, yet captivating line of Kaftans. Al Ateeqi was surprised at the unexpected interest she received. Last year, she undertook several charity projects with sales from her Kaftans, and finally decided that 30 percent of all of her sales from Qumar 14 Kaftans would always go to charity.
Al Ateeqi clearly has an affinity for cultural elements of the Arab region, and her rendition of Kuwait’s traditional Bisht is but a mere reflection of that passion. In this collection, she humbly contests that she wanted something she couldn’t find to be available, so she went on to do it herself. She adds, “I really don’t make to sell, I make what I like, and what I feel represents my style. I love the traditional shapes, and designs of our culture, and wished to take them one step further.” The winter Bishts were well received for their unique representation at last November’s Pretty Little Things event, yet another astonishing surprise for Sara.
In her latest creative endeavor, Al Ateeqi wished to deliver the Qumar 14 vision in the form of a ready-to-wear, spring summer collection. Keeping in line with her branding of Qumar 14, there might be a difference in the aesthetic of Al Ateeqi’s collections in the form of ready-to-wear, yet her focus on small and enticing Arab-inspired details makes her signature vision sharply apparent. It’s not about simply creating modern wear, yet it’s about creating a modern collection that is well-made with quality fabrics, with an oriental touch that represents Al Ateeqi’s brand ethos. Highlighted by sleek Arabic calligraphy, embellished crescents, vibrant colors, and modern cuts, Q14 is Al Ateeqi’s representation of modern wear for Arab women. She explains, “I wanted to create modern clothing for Arab women, and traditional regional attire for modern women. Q14, and Qumar 14 are in essence, two lines that deliver the same lifestyle message.” In her quest for creating valuable pieces of clothing that effectively expressed her style, Al Ateeqi bridges the gap between the old and the new. Traditional attire is evolved to suit the taste of the modern, discerning fashionista, and Western, modern pieces are rendered with traditional glances that are understated and minimal.
From ready-to-wear, traditional Kaftans, accessories to upholstery fabrics, Al Ateeqi sees the Qumar 14 in anything she creates, and is challenged by the opportunities that lie ahead. Although she doesn’t carry the aspirations of a typical designer, Al Ateeqi will go where her challenges take her, “It’s really all about how people respond, and react to my work. The point is to make something beautiful and well-made, using quality materials.”
Photography by Louis Nasta.
Sara Al Ateeqi’s Ready-to-wear Spring Summer collection showcased at the Art and Fashion event, Alwan, at Dar Al Funoon. For order inquiries, email [email protected]. Follow Qumar 14 on Twitter @qumar_14, and Facebook:qumar14 or please call 6644 3360.