by Ayesha Shaikh
  • 4 minute read
  • December 19, 2021
Maryam AlSelaich On Taking Her Brand Slouchyz To Milan Fashion Week Next Year

In the universe of Emirati designer Maryam AlSelaich, the founder of Slouchyz, fashion and art are perfectly aligned. Her creations are akin to mosaics that dress her creative otherworld with unconventional cuts, quilting stitches and sculptural silhouettes, which have altered the way the world sees traditional modest-wear. She founded the brand in 2008 as a loving, lyrical essay to smart tastemakers, summoning them to be whoever they want to be, as she continues to sell a sensibility that nods to eccentricity, inclusiveness and boundary-pushing fashion.

With her usual aplomb, Maryam recently launched her cosmos- inspired Fall/Winter 2021 ‘Citrine’ collection of 25 futuristic abayas, cloaks and wraps that offer a lesson in form and function. The hues and designs give a nod to astrology, signs and planetary symbolism, topics that recently piqued her interest. “I’ve been reading extensively on astrological symbols as a way of making sense of the world, especially since the onset of COVID-19,” she says. “It helped me place myself within the universe and channel my personal identity into the designs I create.”

The ‘Citrine’ collection takes its name from the eponymous stone, which symbolises self-healing, improvement and positive energy. “The colour palette is informed by planetary hues, from pale yellow and warm amber that depict Jupiter and stand for prosperity and joy, to cyan that embodies Uranus, which is the planet of innovation and liberation,” explains Maryam.

The colourways also include the bright azure blue of Neptune that references creation, allusion and awareness, and the green, brown, orange and blue tones of Earth, Jupiter and Mercury that symbolise love, balance, harmony and hope. And then there are the monochrome hues of Pluto and Saturn that signify regeneration and change.

In Maryam’s fashion habitat, intricate techniques abound – think natural draping, unique construction, fringes and padded stitching, a signature of Slouchyz’s aesthetic sensibilities since 2015, as well as fabrics like French crêpe, silk cotton and linen voile, neatly wrapped up in a space-age chic collection. Among the pièces de résistance is the outfit that is Maryam’s modern interpretation of a medieval-era cloak.

“There are also pieces with short sleeves and elastic that’s intricately stitched into the fabric for flexibility and airiness,” she explains, alluding to the versatility of the designs. “Style your look with the ‘Citrine’ collection by layering same-toned pieces and breaking them up with a vibrant pop of colour,” she recommends.

Maryam has pulled an international audience into her orbit, as she opened the Fall/Winter ready-to-wear showcases at Paris Fashion Week 2019. A reimagination of trench coats as abayas, the 15-piece collection received great applause for its globalised take on local modestwear. “This was a stepping stone in my career, which opened multiple doors for Slouchyz and put the brand on the world map. I feel a great sense of fulfilment to see the brand go from strength to strength,” she notes.

The process of shifting the industry’s course continues for Maryam, as Slouchyz is gearing up to participate in Milan Fashion Week’s Fall/Winter 2022 showcase in February next year. With the collection being a work-in-progress, it’s expected to give a fuller sense of the brand’s creative journey and promises to place it at the centre of the conversation. Maryam is currently working on a special capsule collection inspired by nature, gardens and lights. “We’re also creating new pieces in celebration of the UAE’s 50th anniversary, so stay tuned,” she reveals.

A real tour de force, Maryam considers fashion to be an evolutionary process. “I’m a self-challenger and it’s essential for me that Slouchyz continues to offer a fresh take, which I’ve prioritised for every seasonal collection over the last 13 years. I see beauty in the smallest details and that inspires my creative process,” she states.

Taking a retrospective glance at the brand, Maryam notes that some of Slouchyz’s most memorable milestones include her being named ‘Designer of the Year’ at the L’Officiel Arab Woman Awards 2011 and frequently participating at the Ataya Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan. Slouchyz was also commissioned by Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah in 2016 to design abayas for the Emirati staff at Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel.

As a fashion icon among the local community, Maryam has a unique sense of style that she often shares via her Instagram platform. “Always ensure that your dressing reflects your personal identity and keep challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with your look,” she advises.

For those who wish to follow in her footsteps, the Emirati designer emphasises the importance of being a ‘self-starter’. “Always believe in yourself and don’t measure your success based on the achievements of others,” she stresses. “Carve out your own niche.” And that’s the secret of Slouchyz’s soaring success.

Maryam AlSelaich photographed at her design studio in D3

Style File by Maryam AlSelaich

Pair a t-shirt with a slip skirt, pointed heels and a mini bag.

Spruce up your look with a high top and straight-cut skirt, rounding them off with square-toe heels, an edgy croc-effect clutch and stacked rings.

Wear a sleek dress with a puff-shoulder Slouchyz cape and pointed heels for timeless appeal.

Adorn a black or lime green signature slip dress with a t-shirt and add a pop of colour with fuchsia or purple shoes. As a finishing touch, add one statement piece with crystals, like a bag or earrings.

Dress up your sweatpants and top with eclectic shoes by a brand like Christopher Kane.


Wear an edgy piece with a classic. Style them individually.

Pair a silk frilled top with jeans.

Style a sleek dress with boots.

Mix denim with silk.

Adorn a t-shirt with a loose skirt and belt.

Shop Slouchyz at the brand’s store in AlQuoz Warehouse No. 5 and on Follow @Slouchyz on Instagram.

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