VCUarts Qatar alumna, Rabab Abdulla, is a Doha-based freelance designer whose work is inspired by local identity and cultural heritage. She practices storytelling through material exploration and narratives that stem from Qatar’s community.
Here, she tells us how she found her footing while creating a new streetwear jewelry line, the importance of raising awareness through design and making her first open-making piece.
When was the first time that you realized that you are a creative person?
My interest started at a very young age, maybe six, but it became more obvious around the age of 15 years old. I would come home from school and make drawings related to fashion.
What was your inspiration to design the Al-Maha (Oryx) streetwear jewelry line, and how does it relate to streetwear?
Streetwear is something that people personalize and create on their own. Something that you don’t find anywhere. It’s a personal touch.
Most of my work is derived from the community or the culture. The Oryx is unique and adapts itself to different environments. Its strong persona embodies how we live now and how we lived in the past; both in the city life and in the desert life.
How do you describe Oryx’s personality, and how it relates to us?
The Oryx is fearless; powerful yet unassuming. Many of us remain very quiet, but we have a strong understanding of where we come from and of our values. If you really test our patience, we will stand up and let you know that you’re crossing the boundaries. I’m not sure why, but I find myself unconsciously relating it to women. That’s interesting!
Then, how do you imagine the woman who will wear the Al-Maha (Oryx) streetwear jewelry?
Firstly, I imagine myself! I like to dress up, and I’m not afraid to add my own unique touch when it comes to fashion for events. For others, I envision a young woman wearing it under her shella, or young adolescents who are bold, playful and athletic wearing it everyday. This jewelry is for the woman who is bold in a positive way, who accepts change, who is able to adapt, who is living in the NOW.
What is your ambition with the new Al-Maha (Oryx) streetwear jewelry line?
I see it as something that people can wear wherever they are from – Qatar or abroad. My next step as a designer is to see people wearing my designs and see how I feel about this. And, also bringing awareness of the topic of semi-extinct animals because it is very important to preserve them. I’m excited to see how far this project can go, how people will receive this product and what dialogue it creates.
I hope to make the pieces available on different platforms and locations that promote sustainability and nature preservation, such as the VCUarts Qatar bookstore, M7 Qatar or at the National Museum of Qatar.
What part of the design process did you enjoy the most?
You want to put good feelings into the products that you create. I enjoyed visualizing and translating a whole figure into something that is simple and personalized. And I know that I’m not doing something right if I don’t learn something new.
What important information do other designers have to keep in mind when they will recreate one of the jewelry pieces available as open source?
They can modify the piece to make it more interesting for them. I really want them to learn something from the product itself.
The product should be able to educate them about Qatar, its culture and heritage. It should inspire them to know more about this animal, for example. As it is created to be streetwear, it also opens doors for people to get out of their comfort zone and add a personal touch to it in their own way. I would be curious to see how others take the jewelry and make it their own.
Any recommendation or insight about the material to use?
I have created the pieces in plated rose gold in matte and gloss finish, but hope to do a new series completely in gold. I personally prefer the pieces in gold, silver or copper because it’s the vision for the aesthetic for this jewelry line that I had from the beginning.
I encourage the designers to experiment with different materials, and to keep in mind that more sustainable materials are coming soon from the industry. I guess that bio-plastic will come in filaments for 3D printers within the next two years. I believe strongly in innovation.
Why did you choose to work with the computer application Rhino 3D?
The Rhino 3D program has been my favorite because of my background in Interior Designer and Fashion Designer. I was able to visualize and translate my design faster. It’s a computer application that you can easily learn. Even people that are not designers can use the basic tools that are available. It’s amazing to see an idea come into a 3D form with just a click of a button.
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The two clip earrings mesmerize with their bold simplicity. Designed to be worn solo, or mixed and matched with other pieces, this versatile piece can be styled endless ways, day or night; the final look is up to you.
Collection: Al-Maha (Oryx) streetwear jewelry
Piece 1: Al-Maha Swirl
Height: 1.3cm x Length: 1.3 cm x Width: 1.4 cm
Collection: Al-Maha (Oryx) streetwear jewellery
Piece 2: Al-Maha Bold
Height: 4.5 cm x Length: 2 cm x Width: 1.2cm
Material available: Gold, rose gold and silver
Designer: Rabab Abdulla
Contact for order or further information: @designer.rabab
Please respect the designer’s rights and give credit to ©RababAbdulla2021 for any use of her design.
Discover makers near you!
Rabab Abdulla is part of a new designer community in Doha who aspires to share her work with a global audience.
Her Al-Maha (Oryx) streetwear jewelry line is inspired from the national animal of Qatar and its personality traits embedded within its form. The process to make the three jewelry pieces also covers how doodling turns into a 3D wearable form. All of the pieces can be ordered directly from the designer at @designer.rabab
Interested in creating your own Al-Maha Swirl ear clip?
Site visitors have the freedom to use and study design process for non-commercial use here.
Open source promotes a collaborative mode of intellectual production to develop local economy, reduce environmental impact and increase collaborations between designers. From it, a community of users and designers are born. Share your creations with us by tagging #almaha_rabab .
The designer chose to release her design of the Al-Maha Swirl ear clip under a Non-Commercial license. Please respect the designer’s rights and give credit to ©RababAbdulla2021 for any use of her design.
AlMAHA Jewellery Series ©2021 by Rabab Abdulla is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeriatives 4.0 International. Click here to see the licence.
Steps and process
Let’s start by working on 3D software: Rhino.
1. Download the image of the Oryx here.
2. Open Rhino.
3. Place the image using the Cmd ‘backgroundbitmap’.
4. Trace the desired curve to create a closed curve.
5. Extrude the curve using Cmd ‘ExtrudeCrv’, upwards for about 1.2mm.
*Note that the curve was enlarged and rotated 90 degrees.
6. Next, draw a cylinder or tube using the cylinder or tube tool. The extrusion is curved onto the cylinder. (Refer to Video 1 – SWIRL)
7. Draw a surface just large as the extrusion using the 4-point surface creating tool. In front view, assure that the extrusion sits well on the surface.
8. Using the Flowalongsrf, curve the extrusion on the surface of the cylindrical object. (Refer to Video 2 – FLOWALONGSRF)
9. Export the model as ‘stl’, and open in the desired 3D printer and share your file to a printing company.
Book your private making session with the designer at @designer.rabab or contact the designer to create a new piece in collaboration!
Video 1 - SWIRL by Rabab Abdulla
Video 2 – FLOWALONGSRF by Rabab Abdulla
Rabab Abdulla is a Doha-based interdisciplinary designer, a VCUarts Qatar graduate with MFA in Design studies, BFA in Fashion Design and Interior Design. Her work intersects between fashion design, product design, health and henna.
She won the W Fashion Award in 2013 and Golden Needle Award as the best designer in the same year. Her collection was showcased in Qatar, the United States and at the New York Fashion Week.
Her focus involves critical thinking, innovation and solutions that spark conversations and inform narratives through which perspectives are exchanged and shifted. She practices story telling through material exploration and narratives that stem from Qatar’s community, tradition and its relation to global concerns. Practicing interdisciplinary paths, her extensive work includes empowering those with ADHD in Qatar, where design becomes as mean create dialogue.