Lamya Abedin, Emirati designer and founder of UAE-based fashion house Queen of Spades, talks family, fashion and breaking fasts.
“Ramadan is a beautiful time for self-reflection, spirituality and blessings. It fills our homes and hearts with peace and generosity, bringing everyone together.
No matter how busy our lives are, during Ramadan, my husband and I always make it a point to break our fast with the whole family. The kids are especially excited to have the company of grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins who often come together to share iftar. This special time with relatives can often be neglected in today’s fast-paced world. Such family times during Ramadan also teach our children a lot about the virtues and privileges of having a loving and caring family. The special food we cook – the crunchy luqaimat (sweet dumplings) in my mom’s house dripping in date syrup, the thareed (lamb and vegetable stew) that my mother-in-law makes that I love eating with khoubz (flatbreads) – are all parts of our family traditions, that make memories that last a lifetime.
Growing up, we would visit my nana in her beautiful home for iftar and she would encourage us to help her in the kitchen. This became an annual family tradition that we looked forward to. Now I see my mom take this role with my little Jana and it fills me with nostalgia and emotions.
Every day of Ramadan is a beautiful occasion when we can count our blessings, which brings us closer to our culture. Be it the food we cook, the traditions and rituals of every family or the clothes we wear – all have a way of taking us back to our roots. I often find myself drawn towards the traditions and folklore. So when it comes to my designs and creations for this season, they are always a reflection of deep-rooted culture. My customers, like me, are looking for more traditional wear during this time. In the past I’ve taken inspiration from Turkish sultans of yesteryears and this year I’ll be exploring Jordan’s rich history. I’m working on very decorative pieces, full of superb craftsmanship and embroidery, in amazing coloured patterns and fascinating patchworks.
Of course, there are also the preparations for Eid, which are another integral part of this month. The buying of new clothes and the giving of gifts are special Eid festivities we observe. I love involving my kids in preparing and wrapping small gifts to exchange with their friends and relatives. It adds a personal touch to the gifts and unlocks their creativity as well. While it’s a family tradition to get a new dress, or a pair of shoes, we also believe that giving is as good as getting. So while we engage with various charitable organisations throughout the year, during Ramadan our family extends a helping hand to those less privileged. We try to give these institutions our time and I encourage my children to do the same. We give our clothes to orphanages and old-age homes and my kids pack these themselves.
Every Ramadan Queen of Spades also partners with charitable exhibitions such as Designs of Hope to support the UAE Water Aid Initiative and other other humanitarian causes.
Ramadan is a peaceful time, with each one taking me closer to whom I really am. It’s the time when I reflect upon my life and family, relive my traditions and pray for health, happiness and spirituality for all those near and far.”