The result is a US$1 million (Dh3.6m) concept for a pair of sunglasses designed to replicate the burqa, but with a modern twist.
“We wanted to create a product that combines fashion with culture,” says Olivier Auroy, the managing director of GS Fitch in Dubai.
The burqa was widely used by women from the Gulf in nomadic times. Not to be confused with the head-to-toe cover worn by women in Afghanistan, it covers the nose and forehead and is made of a piece of fabric dyed with indigo.
Aware that Ramadan would be slow for his business, Mr Auroy had his team come up with the design, branding, logo and website for a product that could be put into production instantly, assuming a GS Fitch fee of $1m is met.
“I had always been fascinated by the burqa,” he explains in his funky office in Dubai Media City, which comes complete with a “playroom” full of Fatboy beanbags. “I wanted to create something for modern women in the Gulf that would reflect their culture.”
The sunglasses, with gold rims reminiscent of the burqa, also bear a striking resemblance to a pair of skiing goggles.
“I think this is the first time that a design company has instigated such a project,” says Mr Auroy, pointing to a feature on the website www.bq.ae where you can upload a photograph of yourself and see what you look like in the glasses.
While critics might say he is making a spectacle of himself, Mr Auroy says the concept has been well received, with interest from a member of the Royal Family and a local manufacturer.
The company has also designed the interiors of a shop where the sunglasses would be sold and produced a small film that can be viewed on YouTube.
If this venture proves to be a success, GS Fitch in Dubai has plans to roll out similar concepts on a regular basis. Other designs for the drawing board include a modern take on the abaya and an Arab car.“It will be a four-wheel drive with a typically Arab design, full of curves,” Mr Auroy says. “My team is very excited about it.”