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ONORI Is Not Your Average Emirati Label

Sharifa AlHashemi is the designer redefining fashion in Dubai

From streetwear to accessories, there is no shortage of trendy homegrown fashion brands popping up all over the UAE. Perhaps it’s because the retail landscape in Dubai is one of the most profitable on the planet—according to reports, the luxury goods market in the UAE is estimated at $4.19 billion and that number is expected to grow to $5.39 billion by 2029. But beyond all the Hérmes Birkin bags and Van Cleef & Arpels bracelets, there is a new crop of exciting designers quietly making names for themselves. Sharifa AlSharif AlHashemi is one of them. “The spark for fashion was always there. From a young age I used to alter my clothes to fit my taste, even designing my own clothes for weddings. It was a hobby I really enjoyed, and my family business has always had a lot of ties with fashion,” said AlHashemi, recalling how she was a Fashion Week fixture growing up.

But as time went on, the designer ended up taking a more conventional route, pursuing a career in finance in the United States, before formally launching her label ONORI in 2024, eager to pay homage to her father and her late sister. “When I started ONORI, I was always scared that it would be something I would not be able to handle on top of my finance jobs. Though seeing my father and my late sister as my role models, their drive for everything is what gave me the drive to hit the start button as well,” she told MILLE.

AlHashemi’s debut collection is inspired by, in her words, “All my travels to the different environments that I lived in, even the people I am surrounded with or grew up watching” like former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and iconic singer Cher— in fact, if she could design a wardrobe for anyone it would be the Believe singer (“I would do a full crystallized jumpsuit for her, similar to some of the bodysuits in my collection with very exaggerated flares paired with matching gloves and a bandana.”) She adds, “ONORI means a lot to me; it’s a lot of my personal experiences all merged into one thing.”

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AlHashemi’s work blends 1960s, 70s, and 80s-inspired silhouettes with well-tailored separates, resulting in playful, vibrant pieces that certainly stand out amid the monochrome sea of abayas, graphic Arabic text T-shirts, and minimalist separates saturating the local fashion landscape. “Everything was inspired by the 60’s however I managed to design in a way that added a modern sense of glitz to everything,” shares the young designer. “I did a lot of flared sleeves and pants. The flare cut is something that in my eyes never went out of style. Elvis rocked it. I played around with a lot of feathers and tassels in my debut collection. Feathers and tassels were also a big part of the rock culture in the 60’s. I concentrated mostly on flared cuts in this collection. Even the statement collars on some of my pieces were all inspired by the 60’s and 70’s. I designed collars and added my touch of crystals to make a statement,” she added.

Beyond her skills as a designer, AlHashemi is refreshingly candid about the type of women she is creating clothing for. “The pieces in this collection are very head turning pieces, some quite daring. ONORI is for confident, bold women who aren’t afraid to wear statement pieces,” she said. “I want women to feel amazing in my designs– confident, elegant, and totally in touch with their feminine side. When they wear my pieces, I hope they feel like the best version of themselves, radiating strength and grace. It’s all about celebrating their unique beauty and empowering them to own it with style.”

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