In the heart of Dubai, where tradition meets modernity, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Ahmed Al-Mansoor, a master tailor renowned for his exceptional craftsmanship in creating the iconic traditional attire of the region—the thobe. In an exclusive interview, Ahmed sheds light on his passion for tailoring and the significance of the thobe in the rich cultural tapestry of Dubai.
Q: Ahmed, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell us a bit about your journey into the world of tailoring?
A: Thank you for having me. My journey began decades ago, inspired by the artistry and precision of traditional tailoring. I apprenticed under my father, who was also a skilled tailor. Over the years, I’ve honed my skills and embraced the evolving trends in the fashion industry while staying true to the essence of our cultural attire.
Q: The thobe holds great cultural importance in the Middle East. What makes it such a significant garment, and what drew you to specialize in its creation?
A: The thobe is more than just a piece of clothing; it’s a symbol of our heritage and identity. It’s comfortable, elegant, and its simplicity reflects the values of modesty and tradition. I was drawn to the thobe because of its cultural significance. I felt a deep connection to preserving our traditions while contributing my own touch to make each piece unique.
Q: Can you describe the process of crafting a thobe from start to finish?
A: Certainly. The process begins with selecting the finest fabric, often a high-quality blend of cotton or linen to ensure comfort and breathability. Precision is key in taking measurements, as the thobe should fit perfectly. Then, I meticulously cut the fabric and start the intricate process of stitching. Traditional embellishments and embroidery add a touch of sophistication. Each thobe is a labor of love, and the final step involves careful inspection to ensure it meets the highest standards.
Q: How has the demand for traditional garments like the thobe evolved over the years, especially in a city as dynamic as Dubai?
A: Dubai’s dynamic nature is reflected in its fashion trends. While modern clothing styles have gained popularity, there’s a growing appreciation for traditional attire, especially during cultural events and celebrations. Many locals and expatriates alike seek the timeless elegance of the thobe, recognizing its significance in bridging the gap between tradition and modernity.
Q: Are there any memorable stories or experiences from your career that stand out to you?
A: Oh, plenty! One that comes to mind is when I had the honor of creating a custom thobe for a local dignitary. It was a moment of great pride to see my craftsmanship worn by someone who values our cultural heritage. Each thobe I create carries a piece of my story and the stories of those who wear them.
Q: What do you envision for the future of traditional tailoring in Dubai, and how do you see the thobe evolving with time?
A: I believe traditional tailoring will continue to thrive in Dubai, adapting to the changing tastes while preserving our cultural roots. As for the thobe, I see it evolving with subtle design innovations, perhaps incorporating modern elements without compromising its essence. It’s about striking the right balance between tradition and contemporary style.
As our interview with Ahmed Al-Mansoor concludes, we leave with a profound appreciation for the artistry and dedication that goes into creating the iconic thobe. In a city where tradition and modernity coexist, master tailors like Ahmed play a pivotal role in preserving the threads of cultural heritage, one stitch at a time.
Our Culture Mag & Partners