Mid­night oil burnt as tai­lors stitch up fi­nal or­ders for Eid


After mid­night dur­ing the fi­nal days of Ra­madan, the tai­lors’ street near Air­port Road in Abu Dhabi be­comes a buzzing hive of ac­tiv­ity as staff sew and fam­i­lies shop un­til the early hours, all rac­ing to get the per­fect out­fits ready in time for Eid.

A fam­ily of seven des­per­ately bobs in and out of one shop’s fit­ting room, try­ing to find dresses for two of their young daugh­ters. Through an­other win­dow, a tai­lor can be seen count­ing cash and iron­ing pa­per bills.

The staff at Mo­hammed Hay­dar’s tai­lor­ing shop are busy at work, with 20 more or­ders to fin­ish overnight.

“We have been re­ceiv­ing Eid or­ders for four months,” Nabih Ah­mad says.

“Ev­ery­thing has to be ready be­fore Eid be­gins ... we will stay open un­til dawn.”

The tai­lor­ing re­quired is un­com­pli­cated, with the de­sign “all in the fab­ric it­self”.

Next door, Maryam Al Mazrouei eyes jal­abiya fab­rics closely, sep­a­rat­ing them into piles.

“Can I get your opin­ion? Be­tween those two, which one is nicer?” she asks, be­fore de­cided to buy both, even though she had long fin­ished her Eid shop­ping.

“I got my Eid clothes a long time ago. Now I am just pick­ing up some or­ders I placed be­fore,” the 47-year-old Emi­rati says.

“But I found these ready­made fab­rics with beads, which is now in fash­ion, so I am buy­ing a cou­ple of them to keep for gifts and so on.”

Since the start of Ra­madan, she has spent Dh7,000 on gar­ments.

“They are not all gifts of course, most are for me and fam­ily,” she says.

Um Mubarak bounces her year-old-son on her shoul­ders as she watches her seven and four-year-old daugh­ters try on Eid dresses. Her sis­ter, hus­band and teenage son all fran­ti­cally search for the right sizes.

“We all fin­ished our Eid shop­ping in mid-Ra­madan, only my daugh­ters are left and we can’t find their size,” she says, point­ing to a pink, Vic­to­rian-style dress with golden em­broi­dery.

Her sis­ter holds up a sim­i­lar white and gold dress, and asks the tai­lor if he has a big­ger size. The en­tire fam­ily then dis­cuss dresses and sizes in vain.

“If we don’t find what we need, we will hop from shop to shop all night,” the 30-yearold Emi­rati house­wife says.

At Dar al Bayan Tai­lor­ing, head tai­lor Mo­hammed Sha­keel counts Dh200 and Dh100 bills, plac­ing them in sep­a­rate piles. He then pulls out an iron and starts flat­ten­ing Dh10 bills.

“They get wrin­kled in my pocket, so I flat­ten them out with the iron,” he says.

He has al­ready fin­ished all his or­ders. How­ever, even at this peak sea­son, busi­ness is not as boom­ing as it once was.

“We get half the or­ders we used to get be­fore, ev­ery­thing has be­come more ex­pen­sive and peo­ple can­not buy that many items,” he says.

“I don’t know if the new tax is the rea­son, but that’s the way it has been for the past year.”

Fam­i­lies will shop into the early hours near Air­port Road to en­sure ev­ery­one has an out­fit in which to cel­e­brate Eid

Les­lie Pableo for The Na­tional

Su­man Nath sews a dress at Mo­hammed Hay­dar’s tai­lor­ing shop dur­ing Eid rush in Abu Dhabi

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