Dome has launched the first-ever joint Italian–Qatari collection of abayas for teens in the region, dedicated to clients that are gradually introducing new colours and styles to replace the traditional black.
The company, Dome, started in Qatar during the lockdown last year, a collaboration between Fatima Al Ansari, an 18-year-old Qatari from Doha, and Aimee Jade Monti (AJ), a 16-year-old Italian from Rome, hence the name DOME.
The Italian Chamber of Commerce and Qatari Business Women Association (QBWA) have both supported the girls to develop DOME. The Italian Chamber hopes that Dome will encourage other female entrepreneurs with private-label projects to develop bespoke clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery collections in cooperation with Italy.
The Italian Chamber also supported the first Qatari shoe designer Hissa Al Haddad to find the finest Italian artisans to handcraft her collection.
The Dome fashion project blends Italian style with traditional abayas using the finest Italian fabrics from the regions of Abruzzo and Marche. AJ and Fatima designed and produced the abayas and together they possess a rare set of skills, considering their young age. They have called their collection Dream Big 2021.
I am Italian and have lived in Doha since 2007. I have grown up with both Qatari and Italian culture in my heart. I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer since I was seven years old and my dream is to go to The Polimoda in Florence, which is ranked in the top three fashion institutes in the world.
During the pandemic, with a lot of time on my hands and a Grade 10 personal project coming up, I decided to design my first collection and reached out to Fatima to partner with me.
I researched to see if there were any similar products or companies with Italian and Qatari partners and discovered that surprisingly we were first in the market.
My idea to create a line of abayas dedicated to teens is quite innovative, as this is a market segment that is not really targeted. We worked hard and visited local abaya productions and analysed the abaya companies on Instagram in order to develop a trendy product suitable for the local culture.
I believe that teenagers should Dream Big! To build their self-esteem through practical things. An experience like this stays with us all our lives regardless of the success we have – we shall be more focused on our goals and not waste time on superficial things.
The Dream Big Collection was mostly inspired by the feelings and communication styles that are typical of teenage years. From the freedom of the butterflies to the adventurous mermaids, the fragility of Japanese flowers to the social media icons and emojis, we have depicted the symbols of a teenager’s world.
Fatima and I have many things in common: we have strict mums that don’t allow us to sit all day in front of the TV nor be superficial on social media – for example, only our business account for Dome is public. Also, both of our dads are pilots.
I realised that reaching out to your personal network is very important in business. Photographer Marco Piazzi is a family friend and so is the fashion designer Eliana Casaula; they both gave me design lessons on Zoom, along with the webmaster Anna Guglielmo.
I’ve learned a lot about cultural integration on this project, working with Fatima and even by going to the tailor to follow the production. He comes from India and at first, he thought I was crazy putting butterflies on an abaya but after he saw my determination he showed respect. People from different cultures with a common passion can work well together, understanding and respecting each other.
Our next step will be an exclusive event in the presence of the Italian Ambassador with a select group of ladies. I am so proud of promoting companies from Italy here in Qatar and I would like to find an angel investor for Dome Fashionistas.
Fatima Al Ansari
I am an 18 year old Qatari and my dream is to pursue a career in fashion management. When Aimee spoke to me about the idea of starting an abaya business for teenagers, we immediately clicked. I became her partner, sharing my cultural knowledge and personal insights on what abayas teens are wearing. While thinking about our business, I came up with the name ‘Dome’ that blends the initials Doha and Rome, the cities where we were born. Nayef Al Obaidan, a Qatari architecture student, designed the logo. He incorporated two major structures from each city: the famous Doha tower and the beautiful Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
This project was very challenging to achieve, as it took lots of thinking to come up with colour styles, patterns, and fabrics. Sometimes we didn’t agree, but we always ended up with meeting halfway. Our idea consisted of creating a line of abayas that would not only respect Islamic traditions but also stand out for its originality. Teens, regardless of their culture, spend a significant amount of time and concern on their appearance. Sometimes we want to fit in and follow the most common trends, but other times we want to be unique and stand out. A teens’ style is what makes them who they are.
We communicated daily with the help of social media and met whenever we could, and while working together, we discovered how well we got along. We shared many of the same interests, and because of that, we became a very effective team. Both of us are reserved yet strong-willed and determined women.
Passion is a force that brings people together to help narrow cultural gaps and break stereotypes. This is precisely the spirit that Qatar will show to the world in 2022. I am Qatari, and Aimee has lived in Qatar most of her life. It’s a country we both love very much and wish to set an example of integration as teenagers.
A word from Alessandro Prunas, Italian Ambassador to QATAR
We are pleased to encourage fashion projects between Qatari designers and Italian SMEs that can supply the craftsmanship and the finest materials, from clothes and shoes to jewellery and accessories.
This particular project involved three companies from the region of Abruzzo and Marche, where craftsmanship still plays a big role and artisans are the backbone of the economy.
From the refined jacquard silks and the innovative denim fabrics to the rhinestones used for the decorations on Aimee’s abayas, the materials are all made in Italy.
Italian fashion designer Eliana Casaula was a mentor to our young designers via Zoom and supported them to develop the Dream Big Collection.
I hope this initial cooperation will lead to a bigger exchange between Qatar, and Abruzzo and Marche. This is a wonderful holiday destination just a couple of hours’ drive from Rome Fiumicino Airport. Marche is renowned for its shoe production, while Abruzzo has many SMEs related to the wedding sector.
Qatari shoe designer, Hissa Al Haddad, produced her shoes in this region with the help of the Italian Chamber, and the Italian Embassy supported her launch event in Qatar at The Gate Mall. In 2015 we showcased in Qatar the handmade shoes of Doriano Marcucci, who counts among his clients many heads of states and celebrities.
The rare and precious necklace for brides called La Presentosa originates from Abruzzo based on local traditions. I think it would have enormous success in the Gulf.
In 2020 we were supposed to host a delegation of companies led by the famous fashion designer Filippo Flocco with a trade mission to Qatar. Hopefully, they will come soon, they are very interested to explore this market.
We need to work together to support local SMEs in joint projects with our crafted Italian artisans who are probably among the best in the world in the fashion industry.
For additional information about DOME, contact Palma Libotte, President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce, on 5547 2952
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