Fashion in the GCC is elaborate yet tasteful with inspiration found from around the world and Al Riwaq’s Market 338 certainly met the expectations when it came to representing the talent of local designers. Accessories and garments make up nearly half of the stands in Adliya and t-shirts have dominated the fair.
Paraphernalia was first to catch my eye, the simple print tees are by young Saudi designer Mohammed Khoja whose collection of gold guns and Mexican inspired skull prints are produced on high quality fabrics in Turkey and Italy. Edgy yet casual, his collection can be dressed up or worn casually with jeans.
The T-Shirt Shop Bahrain was present in all its glory, with a wide range from a variety of regional designers. The lady with an eye for spotting the tops, which are mostly a fusion of West meets Middle East, is Johara. Her bubbly character is as bright as her stand, which also features some of her very own designs.
Week two has seen Day N Age pop up with their Khaleeji inspired prints such as the Starbucks-esque Lady Gahwa motif and ‘Yes I’m a Chicken Nugget’. Their humorous take on growing up in Bahrain has proven popular although the later catchphrase had to be explained to me by a friend. Describing themselves as printing ‘questionable giraffes for you to enjoy,’ Dirty Tease T-Shirts stand out as much as their name, their graffiti style is fresh and quirky.
More fashion inspired by the region comes from Anna Emy and Anna Tuna. Anna Emy has a contemporary collection of blazers, shirts and tops embellished with studs and stones while her aunt designs women’s abayas incorporating the traditional bisht embroidery found on men's clothing in the Gulf.
In Part 1 of my review of Market 338, I mentioned the talented Hana Tawfeeqi. Also present at the fair is her equally talented sister Nada Tawfeeqi, blogger founder of Pretty Little Things Bahrain, who is show casing a small sample of stunning stone accessories – I especially loved the gold plated cuffs and drop down earrings.
La Boutique 92 is covering both fashion and accessories at the market. Girly t-shirts and more glamorous eveningwear tops are must have items from Market 338. Founder Azza Al Hujairi is an accredited jewelry professional and her stand boasts beautiful accessories from a collection of international designers as well as her own lines Azza and NinetyTwo.
Noora Alghatam of Noon Jewelry presents a stunning collection of delicate gold pieces inspired by the Gulf. Fine rings, necklaces and brooches are composed of chains and tiny charms with attachments like the Bahraini shield, Arabic letters and more contemporary symbols such as a mustache.
The Haraka Watches stand is bright and inviting, displaying not only unique watches but also t-shirts and stationery from the popular Bahraini brand. I was fortunate enough to attend a t-shirt making workshop hosted by the lovely founder Muna, where she talked us through the process and encouraged us to get in touch with our creative side.
My personal pick of stalls in the second week is Dandelion Boutique. As soon as I saw the clothing and accessories being displayed I knew this was where I wanted to do some (more) shopping. The pieces are simple, unique and stylish; this new concept brand is perfect for classic feminine style with beautiful tailoring and high quality fabrics.
For the second week of Market 338, two new stalls will delight those with a sweet tooth. Both The Cookie Jar and Vanilla Villain are new companies dispensing an assortment of treats to market goers. The Cookie Jar has been running a small competition in the area for kids and adults alike; a ‘cookie thief’ has hidden one of their jars somewhere in Adliya and the reward for hunting down the missing jar is one of their yummy cookies. Maha Al Zayani of Vanilla Villain admitted having been up since dawn to ensure all her goods were as freshly baked as possible – the cinnamon swirls and snicker chocolate brownie are mouthwateringly good.
There is much more to Market 338 than the stalls I mentioned in my coverage for Khaleejesque. On the final weekend there was a performances on Thursday 13th December at 8 PM by Al Harith and Alderon on the stage, followed by Ali Alaiwi at 9 PM; and on Friday the 14th, The 13th Note performed from 8 PM – 10 PM.
– Lucy Moore