Sabrina Mouhiedin’s UAE-grown fashion label exudes tough elegance

Sabrina Mouhiedin’s UAE-grown fashion label exudes tough elegance

Born in the south of Lebanon, Mouhiedin grew up to pursue an education in political and administrative science

Of Lebanese origin, Sabrina Mouhiedin is the Founder and Creative Director of Dubai-based homegrown label, Lili Blanc. It aims at making luxury pieces for everyday working women, “to reflect their strength, confidence, and beauty.” The concept was conceived in 2020 amidst the peak of movement restrictions that the UAE witnessed due to the pandemic.

Born in the south of Lebanon, Mouhiedin grew up to pursue an education in political and administrative science, following which she kick-started her career in the corporate world at the young age of 18, before moving to Dubai in 2012, to unlock a new universe of professional opportunities. The year 2020, be it known, was unique in its own way and brought with it a change in perspective, and a yearning for transformation, across the world.

Sabrina Mouhiedin’s UAE-grown fashion label exudes tough elegance
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It was then that Mouhiedin’s drive to exit her corporate professional journey and launch her own label, thus beginning her fashion journey, came to fruition. She noticed a gap in the fashion industry for accessible and comfortable day-to-night wardrobe staples. Being a motivated and multi-faceted woman, she aspired to launch a concept that promised versatile, yet fashion forward outfits.

She wanted to ensure that contemporary woman can effortlessly breeze through her day, while her style remained unruffled. Conceptualised and executed during the height of the pandemic in 2020, the first collection, fittingly named Hope, was created with the belief that in every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity. Mouhiedin’s biggest motivation has always been her father. He continuously encouraged her to pursue her dreams and to believe that everything and anything was possible. She says that he taught her how to be a strong, independent, and a courageous woman. At a very young age, this sowed the seeds and watered her aspiration to follow her passion for entrepreneurship and later, for fashion.

She developed a brand for the modern working woman impacted by everyday challenges, thoughts, accomplishments, dreams and success stories. She was also inspired by vintage architecture and furniture, reading books and listening to her favorite jazz music. Every fresh personal and professional leap requires a strong foundation. While Mouhiedin could have taken the easy route and launched her own label by appointing a fashion expert to manage the brand, she chose to fully learn the ins-and-outs of the industry, by taking a course in Fashion Design at the prestigious Esmod Dubai. Since 2006, Esmod Dubai is the only French Fashion Institution fully dedicated to professional fashion education in the Middle East.

The name of her brand expresses her personal fondness for the flower, and reflects its core messaging – “dynamic and powerful like the flower, the “Lili Blanc woman” adapts to ever changing environments and situations she finds herself in, and comes out strong, blossoming beautifully.” Lilies, it may be mentioned, are a group of flowering plants which are important in culture and literature in much of the world. Mouhiedin’s debut collection Hope features sustainable and organic materials, selectively sourced from Italy and Japan, with the entire collection designed and produced locally in the UAE.

In an interview, she recalled that “starting from sourcing to production, everyone was taking their precautions due to the virus. “We had to account for a lot of expected delays with delivery, at each step. The entire conceptualisation, production and launch journey was a supremely time and energy-consuming process; but I always believe in hope, and for sure, the launch was worth all the challenges we faced leading up to it. “The debut collection was created with the belief that in every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity - and this is a motto I will continue to believe in for every step in the future.”

The limited edition ‘Linen Rose’ collection followed soon after. Since it was directed at women empowerment, there were design statements in it. Lili Blanc’s ‘Time Twist’ Fall/Winter ‘21 Collection, which came after, has retro moods adapted to suit modern dressing, to make the way for functional, stylish, and comfortable office wear for women in the corporate world. It recreates fashion from the 70s to style functional ready-to-wear silhouettes for “the bold and sassy women of today.” Sharing her sentiments Mouhiedin said: “Our newest line flawlessly captures our love for style, wearability, and sustainable fashion.

With corporate spaces opening up and work culture getting back to being what it was pre-pandemic, we thought of designing statement-making silhouettes for working women. “Lili Blanc’s ‘Time Twist’ inspiration travels back into the 70s to recreate the moods and elevates the style quotient to become modern classics.” Lebanese culture is the by-product of the ethnic and religious diversity of its population and has been influenced by various cultures that have informed it. Romans, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks and the French, have all left their impress on clothing and fashion.

One of the reasons Beirut earned the moniker “the Paris of the Middle East” is due to the haute couture in its cultural make-up. Many Lebanese who live in the cities wear modern, stylish, Western clothes though in the countryside, women sometimes wear the traditional colourful long skirts.

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