An insight into the fashionista designer Youma Leth experience living in Dubai, her inspirations, her lifestyle and some hot tips of what to do when visiting this city for the first time.
How long did you live in Dubai?
I lived there for 4 years, from 2012 to 2016.
Why did you move to Dubai?
I wanted to live in an English speaking country, it was in between Dubai or London. Without knowing if I would like the city, I took a leap of faith, booked a one-way ticket and arrived with one suitcase… the rest was history.
What kind of lifestyle did you have whilst living there?
Dubai is a very cosmopolitan city filled with open-minded people and what seemed like a hundred events to attend to every day and night. As a result, my lifestyle was extremely social and active. I barely remembered a time when I had dinner at my own home!
Why did you leave Dubai?
I can safely say that living in Dubai was one of the greatest experiences of my life, however, I longed to be closer to the people I loved and was ready to have a more simplified lifestyle.
What were some of the best parts of living in Dubai?
I had a very lavished lifestyle compared to living in Europe! The service industry and the cost of living are incredible. There were no limits in this city, anything you dreamt could become a reality.
Do you miss living in Dubai?
I loved living in a city that was so new and diverse! I miss the friends I have made over the years and the fact that it is always sunny! However my time there is not at an end, my label is still based there, so I visit as often as I can.
How do you manage a business in a different country?
Being incredibly organized and having strong communication skills is key. As soon as my travel plans are made, all the essentials for the photoshoots are booked, including photographers, models, and locations, depending on the style of the collection. Finding the right team is very important! An example is Iya Shengelia, a talented photographer that I consistently use and my most recent find the make-up artist @muabond1, who I found very impressive!
Do you have a different perspective on life since living there?
Living in a rich city attracts people with bad intentions. I have become streetwise because of this, learning who to trust and who to be wary of. This knowledge I have gained as been practical in running my fashion label and in my life in general.
Can you describe what the fashion scene is like in Dubai?
Dubai is one of the most glamourous cities I have ever encountered! The women here dress every day as if they are going to a gala event, long ball gown dresses, dramatic accessories and the highest of heels. Coming from Paris a city were practical fashion is worn I really admired their dedication to this tinselled style.
Can you share some of your favorite Dubai fashionistas Instagram accounts?
Would you say your fashion label style was influenced by the fashion scene in Dubai?
Completely! My iconic dress style with the small waist that creates beautiful curves was inspired by the women of this glamourous city.
What would you say are the best activities to do to fully embrace Dubai when visiting for the first time?
I would personally recommend visiting any aquapark, dining at At.Mosphere restaurant at the top of Burj Khalifa building (the world’s the highest restaurant), strolling down Fashion Avenue in the Dubai Mall and exploring the Indian neighborhoods ‘Deirah and Satwa’ to enjoy the authentic quality Indian food. Last but not least make sure to visit some gold souk shops to see some extreme bling jewelry. They are also famous for customising personal watches that you can bring along where they add little diamonds.
In your opinion, where are the best places to shop and dine?
The Dubai mall is by far my favorite place to shop. It has all the major labels, from couture (where discounts can be found) to more affordable brands including my personal favorite Miss Guided. The places to dine are in the DIFC district, some of the most delicious restaurants are Cipriani, Zuma, Gaia, Robertos and La Petite Maison, which is personally the best one I have dined at. I also love the restaurant Coya at The Four Seasons Hotel, particularly its private members club where a latino band plays every night.
Dubai can be compared to a mirage, where you can be treated like royalty with endless opportunities, new experiences at every turn and new people to meet from every corner of the planet. What a journey Youma has had!
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I’ve decided to start organising wellness retreats with one of the most important people in my life; my mom.
I know what you’re going to say… isn’t launching a yoga retreat WHILE running a full-time fashion business going to be a lot of hard work?!