Living in a big city can easily make one neglect nature. That was the case for 24-year-old Emirati shoe designer Shaikh Al Ali. But the young Dubai-based footwear designer made it her mission to bring the landscapes that surrounded her close to her brand, by filling heels with sand.
“I used Gasah Studio as an experimental space where I would take off any label and just do me”, she says referring to her recently launched shoe brand.
After growing tired of wearing shoes designed by others, Al Ali decided she would create her own. After experimenting with sand and various material, from PVC to henna, the young designer came up with her now-signature and unique Kuthub heel design.
“The idea was stuck in my head and I couldn’t sleep, so I just went for it, and I loved it”, she explains discussing her inherently conceptual but unforced approach.
Citing Maison Martin Margiela as her only inspiration, it’s clear passion and authenticity are what drive Al Ali. In fact, her idiosyncratic (and quite stylish) designs are a deeply personal reflection of her life.
As she notes: “I use fashion to explore and challenge my own self”. And while this has sometimes meant isolating herself to reach her goals, one thing for sure: whatever she designs, Al Ali will never sacrifice her desire for independence and artistic vision.