6 Designers Transforming the Image of Fashion in Saudi Arabia

Pushing Boundaries in a Growing Industry

RAZAN ALAZZOUNI

 




(Source: Razan Alazzouni Instagram)

Razan Alazzoun’s designs are modern, feminine and ethereal and have made a meaningful mark on the fashion industry.  A favourite in the region, her coveted, beautifully detailed designs have garnered international recognition and have been worn by everyone from the region’s fashion-savvy to some of Hollywood’s hottest trendsetters. Razan sees fashion as form of expression and her delicate yet bold designs draw inspiration from culture, sculpture, and her background in fine arts.

 




(Source: Razan Alazzouni Instagram)

MASHAEL RAJHI

 




(Source: Mashael Rajhi Instagram) 

Mashael Al Rajhi is a pioneer in the industry. She founded her atelier which fuses streetwear with couture in 2013. AlRajhi’s collections are a real blend of aesthetics, from masculine pinstripes with frothy tulle to tapered trousers with a flowing cape. She debuted the Nike Pro Hijab in 2017 in her collection at Fashion Forward Dubai. “The Nike Pro Hijab is the perfect extension for my collection, as it symbolises femininity and independence - values that I believe are more essential than ever for women today,” said Al Rajhi. 

 




(Source: Mashael Rajhi Instagram) 

ARWA AL BANAWI
 




(Source: Arwa Al Banawi  Instagram)

Arwa Al Banawi grew up in Jeddah, and spent most of her upbringing in Switzerland. After studying at the London College of Fashion in Dubai, she launched her namesake brand in 2015. Her work is an eclectic mix of traditional-classical tailoring with an urban, contemporary perspective, creating an aesthetic that is subtly androgynous yet undoubtedly feminine. Her urban-tailored suits in vivid prints have graced the pages of Vogue and have been spotted on street style stars around the world.

 




(Source: Arwa Al Banawi Instagram)

HATEM ALAKEEL

 




(Source: Hatem Alakeel Instagram)

Dubbed the Middle East’s Tom Ford, Hatem Alakeel’s designs are the embodiment of when the cherished traditional meets the contemporary in perfect harmony. Alakeel grew between Europe, The United States and Saudi Arabia and gained unrivalled fashion experience on an international scale by working with and advising some of the world's most prestigious global brands. The name of his brand – Toby – meaning “My Thobe” in Arabic, is a symbolic metaphor for personal individuality. Tony is known for transforming men's classic robes and shirts into highly crafted contemporary fashion statements for the modern man.  He says he became inspired to design his own thobes, characterised by their sharp silhouettes and sophisticated tailoring, when his personal style was cramped by having to wear the standard thobe at the office every day.

 




(Source: Hatem Alakeel Instagram)

ASHI STUDIO

 




(Source: Ashi Studio Instagram)
 

Launched in 2007, the Beirut-based Saudi label ‘Ashi Studio’ by the designer Mohammed Ashi, has established itself as an international luxurious fashion house and has rapidly gained acclaim among celebrities and a distinct clientele from around the world including Sonam Kapoor and Lady Gaga. Ashi is a master of dramatic, architectural silhouettes, with results that manage to be both romantic and avant-garde all at once.  Ashi says that his work “represents the vision of artists and designers in the Middle East who try to escape from their world into a fantasy where they can find their sensibility and express their imagination.”

 




(Source: Ashi Studio Instagram)

SOTRA




(Source: Sotra Instagram)


Sotra is the brainchild of fashion designers Mariam bin Mahfouz and Nouf Hakeem who pride themselves in designing and producing their playful, feminine and urban take on the traditional thobe and tunic in Saudi Arabia.  Sotra, which means modest in Arabic, ranges from casual attire to evening wear and often exhibits contrasts, whether it’s dark against light, tradition against modernity, oriental against occidental,  masculine against feminine. The duo say, ‘an abaya is a superhero’s cape and women are the modern-day superheroes’.

 




(Source: Sotra Instagram)


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