DUBAI: From Oct. 20-23, the highly-anticipated Riyadh Fashion Week is set to capture the attention of fashionistas from across the globe as 30 brands from the Kingdom — both veteran and up-and-coming — take to the runway in King Abdullah Financial District.
The week will kick off with a gala dinner and a show by Ashi Studio. The next three days will see the cream of Saudi Arabia’s fashion scene showcase their latest collections. Here, we take a look at the participating brands.
Oct. 21 (Couture shows)
Dubbed the “first couture house of the Kingdom,” Akbar’s eponymous label — established in 1970 and billed as the Kingdom’s first couture house — is known for its ready-to-wear and haute-couture gowns, as well as luxurious wedding dresses. A mainstay at international fashion events since the Eighties, Akbar’s label helped pave the way for up-and-coming designers in the Kingdom, especially when it comes to haute couture.
The Jeddah-born couturier has a career that goes back more than two decades. Abid says she likes to create luxury pieces that are inspired by the Kingdom’s natural landscapes.
This award-winning contemporary eveningwear brand focuses on ethical and sustainable fashion for women.
Founded by sisters Abeer and Alia Oraif, Jeddah-based Atelier Hekayet has its sights set on going global. It’s already had a little help from Saudi 100 Brands, which took the duo’s designs to the US last year.
The brand’s mission is to “offer new meaning to Middle Eastern fashion through bold and contemporary designs that marry Saudi traditional female dress with the latest trends in international design.”
Established in 2016 in the Eastern province by Shouq Almubarak, Pavone creates “designs inspired by nature and art.”
The eponymous luxury label aims to “revolutionize the cultural aspect of outerwear by creating bold and creative designs.”
The eponymous label creates bespoke luxury bridal pieces and will showcase it newest collection this week.
Saudi designer Al-Hanouf Mazen Al-Qabasani founded Dar Al-Hanouf in 2012 as a high-end bridal couture atelier. It has become one of the top destinations for wedding attire in the Kingdom, known for its exceptional design and embroidery. To create her classic pieces, Al-Hanouf sources the finest French lace and haute-couture fabrics from companies across the world.
Hala Algharbawi is a Saudi fashion designer based in Berlin. She holds a master’s degree in fashion management from Rome Business School.. She likes to mix Eastern and Western cultures, creating a blend of “freedom, emancipation and traditional warmth.”
Oct 22 (Womenswear)
Fashion entrepreneur Shahd Al-Shehail, who hails from the Al-Ahsa region, runs an ethical luxury label that “marries traditional crafts with contemporary silhouettes for today’s urban nomads.” Sadu, the geometric weave characteristic of Bedouin societies across the Middle East, has been a mainstay of the line since it was launched in 2016.
Celebrity-loved designer Honayda Serafi made headlines this year for designing the pre-wedding henna night gown for Saudi-born Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein, who tied the knot with Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II on June 1. Serafi’s passion for the culture and traditions of her homeland is communicated through her designs. Honayda is also the first Saudi label to be stocked at the prestigious London department store Harrods.
Kaf by Kaf
Founded by Kawthar Alhoraish, the label represents the Kingdom’s newest wave of contemporary brands looking to create pieces embedded in Saudi heritage. The label creates structured garments decorated with unique patterns that are inspired by the Kingdom.
The Dubai-based womenswear label, created by Jeddah-born creative Arwa Al-Banawi, makes unique pieces “for the woman on the go.” A former investment banker, Al-Banawi saw a gap in the market for womenswear that is both professional and fashion-forward. After studying at the London College of Fashion in Dubai, she launched her namesake brand in 2015.
Founded by Saudi designer Salma Zahran, a graduate of Miami International University of Art & Design, the label aims to “set the tone for fashion in the region.” Her designs are for “women in the modern world — powerful and independent but also romantic and creative.”
Designer Yasmina Qanzal, who is based out of Jeddah and London, wants to build a brand that offers “thoughtfully created womenswear” while supporting skilled communities and utilizing eco-friendly practices operated by an all-woman team.
The Saudi label “reimagines the abaya,” creating collections that combine tradition with modern elegance and design.
Moja Majka, which means “my mother” in Montenegrin, is a slow-fashion label founded by mother-daughter duo Sureyya and Sarah Basaad in 2012. Not basing their designs on trends, the duo follow their own intuition and authenticity, inspired mainly by heritage and nature.
A luxury, minimalist, contemporary brand that “celebrates the success of women through feminine, timeless pieces” that consist of sophisticated, modern designs influenced by Saudi heritage.
Creating timeless, modest pieces for the modern Middle Eastern woman, Nabila Nazer founded her eponymous label in 2007. She says her designs are characterized by “modesty, comfort and elegance.”
Oct. 23 (Menswear)
The menswear label — founded in 2002 by Loay Naseem and his wife Mona Al-Haddad — aims to create “contemporary designs that connect the past with the future.” The duo created the label with a mission to redesign Saudi thobes “to enable Saudi men to love what they wear and be proud and comfortable with their national dress.”
Saudi entrepreneurs Fahad Al-Jomiah and Khalid Al-Jammaz conceived what they bill as the Kingdom’s first streetwear brand in their dorm rooms in London. 1886, now one of the trendiest names in the Saudi market, aims to “bridge fashion to the future by uniting the tradition of urban wear with tomorrow’s innovations and technical aesthetic,” the duo previously told Arab News.
This modern comfort wear label, predominantly focused on creating unisex designs, was founded by Riyadh-based designer Saud Alajaji in 2018 after he moved to New York to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Noble and Fresh
Founded in Riyadh, the fashion brand was another that took part in the Saudi 100 brands exhibition “Saudi Heritage.” Its Salwa jacket design was inspired by the historic palace of the same name in Diriyah.
Hajruss focuses exclusively on two seasons — sun and snow, as they like to call them — creating striking and modern pieces “with comfort and utility in mind.”
The menswear label, founded by Yossef Bin Afesh, brings to life a “new class of contemporary resort wardrobe through effortless, cozy-yet-elegant fabric blends.”
MD29 celebrates the Kingdom’s culture and heritage through its traditional designs, elevating them with exquisite craftsmanship and quality of materials.
The Saudi streetwear brand was founded in 2017 by Yazeed Abahussein with the aim of collaborating with local and international artists to create pieces inspired by local culture.
The contemporary Riyadh-based luxury label “celebrates refined details and understated sophistication,” inspired by designer Sulaiman’s love of the Kingdom’s culture and society.
Uscita’s creative designs reflect the label’s motto: “Be Yourself.” Uscita prides itself on inclusivity, and its sleek, timeless pieces “allow people to express themselves through fashion.”