BOHEMIAN

Words by REBECCA ANNE PROCTOR

RHAPSODY
Emirati fashion designer, LATIFA AL GURG weaves her love for travel to far-flung abodes and
diverse cultures into her collections, specially for the jet-setting Arab woman,
writes PRIYANKA PRADHAN
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STYLE

From China to Antartica and from Denmark to London,
Latifa Al Gurg’s designs tell stories of her journey across
the world. The engineer-turned-fashion designer’s own
Scandinivian-Emirati background is sometimes reflected in
her label, Twisted Roots – a name that resonates with her
mixed heritage and outlook on travel.
But she’s not your average Instagram filter- friendly
traveler, as her passion for travel goes well beyond just
sight-seeing and taking pictures. Al Gurg applies her deep
love for architecture and design and an unrelenting thirst
for research on history to her travels and eventually, into
her collections.
“Culture and tradition is something very important to
me. I’ve always liked to read about the history and evolution
of costumes across the world. I approach fashion from an
intellectual perspective and I’m trying to bring that into my
collections,” she says.
“For example, I’ve always loved everything about Chinathe architecture, the culture and fabrics so I’ve created an
adaptation of the iconic Chinese roofs into the shoulder
details of some of my pieces and also created a reference to
the incredible terracotta warriors into some of my other
pieces from my Green Tea collection,” she adds.
Her love for in-depth research was what led her to launch
her own label, when she realized that there’s a gap in the
local market for modest clothing for Arab women.
“As a family, we travel a lot. When I travel, I dress
modestly even though I don’t wear an abaya so I kept
struggling to find appropriate clothing for my travels. I
wondered why there were no brands that do this because it’s
quite a tedious task to put everything together. So I decided
to research this further and realized there’s definitely an
opportunity here.”
Born out of this need for a one-stop shop for the jetsetting Arab woman, Twisted Roots caters to qualityconscious modest dressers who appreciate fine
craftsmanship.

RIGHT: Latifa Al Gurg
BELOW: Some of the
latest looks from the
designers Twisted Roots
label

“Most of our fabrics are custom dyed for us and our silks
are woven especially for us- we work with the mills to
develop this from scratch,” she says, “Even in the making of
a simple shirt for example, sometimes the fabric is sourced
from turkey, the buttons from Italy, thread from Taiwan and
we bring it all together at our atelier in Dubai.”
“We put a lot of effort and attention to detail so that the
final product is something that a customer would cherish
for life- it’s meant to be something that stays with you for a
very long time, not just for a season or two,” she adds.
While her first collection was a tribute to her own mixed
culture with the silks and embroidery being very typically
Emirati and the color palette being predominantly Danish,
her latest collection is inspired by the sights, colors and
textures of London- greys, blues and structured tailoring
that reference the architecture – an aesthetic she hopes will
appeal to the local cognoscenti.
“I think as Arabs, we travel more widely and tend to
absorb more cultures - curious and interested, open to
explore. So the Middle Eastern customer is so much more
aware of quality, craftsmanship and our worldview is so
broad. This makes the customer tough to please but also, a
pleasure to work with. We are also a part of the shopping
culture across the world and that makes the Arab customer
so unique because we bring back and wear what we’ve
experienced,” says Al Gurg.
Going forward, Al Gurg is keen on exploring new journeys
for Twisted Roots, well beyond the UAE. As she puts it, “The
journey is what makes the story worthwhile. It’s all about
evolving and learning – in entrepreneurship, in travel and in
life itself!”

“CULTURE AND TRADITION IS
SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO
ME. I’VE ALWAYS LIKED TO READ
ABOUT THE HISTORY AND EVOLUTION
OF COSTUMES AROUND THE WORLD”
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