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