Tabark Saleh, a tenth grade student of the American-British Academy in Muscat, has taken her first steps into the world of fashion, but with a mission. With the theme of the school project being ‘eco-friendly’, Tabark turned to her passion for fashion designing to shape her project upon.
“I planned to make an ecofriendly fashion line, which would also be inspired by nature and cuisine,” says Tabark. She researched to find out what is the most eco-friendly fabric available in Oman, and found it to be sateen. In her research, she found how “sustainable fashion is the need of the hour”.
Says Tabark, “The fashion industry is one of the most polluting right now. Generally, when people hear ‘eco-friendly’ fashion, they think it wouldn’t be pretty or nice, and could be cheap, or not wearable. So I want to change that perception and make it wearable yet eco-friendly.”
The elegant sleeveless, flowy dress was sketched, designed, and sewn entirely by the young girl, with help and guidance from her two older sisters and mother.
Tabark chose mint green as the colour of her dress – which is also her favourite colour. “It is in keeping with the theme of cuisine, as it reminds of mint chocolate,” she says with a laugh. With a shoelace pattern at the back, made of brown felt, the dress is embellished in the front at the waist with sequins. Tabark is inspired by her favourite designers Ellie Saab and Zuhair Murad. She also has words of appreciation for retail companies like HM, which focuses on sustainable fashion.
“They are known to recycle clothes,” says Tabark, who practices recycling and upcycling her own clothes. She gives the example of transforming her old dress that she had outgrown, into a skirt. Tabark’s mother, Sundus, is a proud parent, who beams at the young girl – the third among three daughters – who is making a difference at such a young age. “I support all her endeavours,” she says.
Some of Tabark’s sketches of her designs
Sundus has been a guiding figure for Tabark throughout her project, helping her in buying the sewing machines, taking her through the stitching processes, and taking a final look at the finishing. Tabark has made four other sketches for dresses, and hopes to begin work on them soon, “hopefully in the summer vacation”.
She wants to make clothes for teenagers, and so wants to make them affordable, with quality. “I want to make casual dresses, which are the most wearable and hence mostly consumed,” says the budding designer.
As consumerism gains a steady momentum, Tabark aims to spread awareness of sustainable, eco-friendly fashion, “especially in this part of the world”, where people have the power to spend.