Saudi-based designer and founder of label DAL, Dalia Al Karnous talks to EW about building a brand on authenticity and making a mark on her own terms.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

The first 30 minutes of my day are dedicated to my skin care routine and drinking coffee. Afterwards I like to work out, my favourite workout is boxing. With a maximalist philosophy, you’ve been championing the abaya.

How difficult or easy is it to attain modernism without compromising on traditionalism?

In remaining dedicated to my authenticity and ideas, I’ve found it easier to create. The more I trust myself and believe that my dreams are worth making a reality – the more it happens for me. The difficulty of maintaining both modernism and tradition, lies in whether you believe the two can co-exist. If you believe that is possible, you can create such a thing.

Having started your career in law, does a business law degree help you navigate the entrepreneurial front as a fashion designer better?

Although fashion paves a way for several avenues of creativity and exploration, I think that my law degree helps me navigate the entrepreneurial front immensely. It is a useful
tool in creating traction for my brand, alongside dealing with clients accordingly.


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With the evolution of the abaya and its constant reimagination, what do you think GCC women of today look for in this silhouette before investing in it?

Before investing in a piece of history, the GCC woman is after comfortability with a combination of bold novelty that complements their aura – whilst remaining modern.

What are some of the major challenges that you’ve overcome while building this brand?

A major challenge for building this brand would have to be trusting that my hard work will come to fruition alongside time management, as it required way more time and patience than I anticipated.

While the brand’s brick and mortar foundation are solid in Saudi, what are your plans for extending its e-commerce horizon in the rest of the GCC?

We are planning to launch the official website of DAL this year.

From DAL’s inception in 2017, what are some of the brand’s major milestone moments that you can recall?

The biggest milestone would have to be the launch and opening of our Riyadh store in 2021. The second, will be the launch of the DAL website, which we are very excited about.

As most of your collections are on the opulent side, what will be the distinctive factor of the upcoming Ramadan collection?

My brand remains opulent throughout the collections. However, this collection follows a bold ethos complemented by high end silk crepes and linens, in a variety of shades regarding the colour palette.


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What advice would you like to give a young entrepreneur wanting to break into the industry?

Trust the process. Ignore the little voice of doubt in your head and it will all work out.

What is your vision for DAL in the next 10 years, within and beyond GCC?

We are hoping to extend our lines to include ready-to-wear ensembles that will cater to clients globally and chart a new avenue for the brand.

This is The Elevate Issue, how do you elevate your brand year after year?

Year after year, I incorporate a sense of novelty that welcomes a kind of playfulness and curiosity, which creates space for further innovation and state-of-the-art concepts that come to life.

April’s – The Elevate Issue – Download Now

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Images: Supplied by DAL