Saudi fashion

Princess Noura Bint Mohammed Al Faisal Al Saud: “The Future of Saudi Fashion Is Abundant and Full of Potential”

Princess Noura Bint Mohammed Al Faisal Al Saud: “The Future of Saudi Fashion Is Abundant and Full of Potential”

Photo: Nourah Alfaisal
Come February 25, all eyes will be on the Kingdom, where the 2022 edition of the Saudi Cup will kick off. Held over two days, the cup will, as always, see some thrilling races—the winner of which will take home £26 million in prize money. But what’s likely to keep every fashion enthusiast on their toes during the event is the impeccable fashion that’s likely to be on display during the event.
Just like its previous edition, the 2022 Saudi Cup comes with a strong, and extremely special, dress code. Put together by the Fashion Commission of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture, the cup’s style guide puts a heavy focus on traditional crafts and age-old techniques from the Kingdom. The aim? To celebrate the rich heritage of Saudi Arabia and its beautiful attire. All set to watch the best of the races and put the best of Saudi Arabian fashion on the global map is HRH Princess Noura bint Faisal Al Saud, whose efforts towards spotlighting Saudi heritage have gained her immense appreciation across the region. “This year is about owning your culture more than just showing it,” she tells Vogue Arabia in a special interview. “I work on the Saudi Cup for The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA). Essentially, I work between the Club Ministry of Culture on all the cultural activations in the event. Last year, I was proud to be part of the project, as it was the first ever that involved all of the commissions within the ministry. I did work very closely with the Fashion Commission to co-create the dress code last year, and as it was the first year, it was important to represent diversity and authenticity. I was honored and privileged to play my part in what is now, I believe, a significant event in Saudi culture.”
The dress code, for those who may not know, comes with a detailed style guide, spotlighting staples like the bisht, sayah and daglah for men, and thobes and headdresses in rich colors, patterns and embroideries for women. “I hope that this year, we see not only our heritage represented and displayed in its multifaceted and varied way, but that we also see a generation of young designers taking that heritage, owning it and evolving it, so that it expresses them and the culture that they are creating,” Her Highness explains. “We are birthing a new nation, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they create.”
Below, the passionate royal shares her favorite fashion memories, her opinion on how clothing empowers women, and the one piece of style advice she’d like to share with the world. 
Photo: Nourah Alfaisal
Fashion seems to have always been a point of interest for you. Can you tell us how this love story began? What is your earliest memory related to fashion?
I grew up in a family of strong women. My mother and her sisters were all independent, and had a strong sense of self that they expressed through their style. My earliest memories are of these beautiful women, and I remember wanting to be just like them.
Are there any looks from the past Saudi Cups that remain your favorites?
I think we all remember Honayda Alserafy, and the beautiful clothes she designed for the Saudi Cup, and HRH Prince Bandar bin Khalid looked wonderful in Art of Heritage. On a personal note, I loved the outfit that Shahd AlShehail (founder of clothing label Abadia) made for me last year. But there are many images that pop up in my head. It was such a beautiful couple of days.
Just like 2022, 2021’s Saudi Cup dress code focused heavily on spotlighting the traditional clothing of the Kingdom. Would you say that this year’s dress code is in any way different from last year’s? Now that the world is opening up post Covid, do you think that this year’s looks will be even more extravagant or celebratory?
Last year felt like a celebration to me. At the time, we were seeing a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of lockdown, the Saudi Cup winner was a Saudi horse, and it was the first time we had seen HRH Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in public  in a very long time. I think it is best to just wait and see what this year brings—but it is very exciting!
Photo: Lina Mo. Designer: ArAm by Arwa Alammari. Stylist: Zeina Kilani. Makeup: Hessa Alajaji. Hair: Amani Al-shamrani. Creative direction: Latifa bint Saad. Creative lead: Saif. Curation: Hatem Alakeel. Production manager: Ahmed.
‘Fashion’ is a concept that is much larger than just stylish clothes. It helps us express ourselves and stand out as individuals. How would you say that fashion empowers women—and Arab women—in particular?
Fashion does indeed express an individual’s personality, but I don’t think it’s limited to women and not especially Arab women. In my experience, Arab women have always had a strong sense of self identity, and they have many ways in which they express that. Like all women, fashion is one of the many tools they use to do so.
Every country, every region has its own national costume. However, what is it that you think makes the traditional pieces of our region such a joy to wear?
The variety, colors and patterns all combine to make our costumes unique. The fact that every pattern comes from a different region and the way it is worn expresses so much about the person wearing it. It is very nuanced and extremely beautiful.
As someone who has dedicated so many years to Saudi fashion, do you see our traditional crafts slowly fading away, or have you been able to witness a resurgence of our age-old techniques? Does the future of Saudi fashion look promising to you?
I have dedicated my life’s work to supporting the design ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, with all its various streams. And yes, across the board, there was a sense of losing many of the traditional crafts. But all the hard work of the MOC, and many other entities as well, has helped build a resurgence in our connection to our heritage. I truly believe that the younger generation has the ability to protect, preserve and revive theses crafts. The future of Saudi fashion is abundant and full of potential.
If there was one piece of style advice you could share with the younger generations in the Kingdom, what would it be?
Be authentic, be yourself.
Lastly, can you tell us a little bit about what we might see you dressed in during the Saudi Cup?
Now, that I will keep to myself for now!
Below, a look at some of the best traditional ensembles spotted at the Saudi Cup 2021.

Read Next: The Fascinating & Colorful History Behind Saudi Arabia’s Bedouin Fashion

HRH Princess Noura AlFaisal: “The Future of Saudi Fashion Is Abundant and Full of Potential”

HRH Princess Noura AlFaisal: “The Future of Saudi Fashion Is Abundant and Full of Potential”

Photo: HRH Princess Noura AlFaisal
Come February 25, all eyes will be on the Kingdom, where the 2022 edition of the Saudi Cup will kick off. Held over two days, the cup will, as always, see some thrilling races—the winner of which will take home £26 million in prize money. But what’s likely to keep every fashion enthusiast on their toes during the event is the impeccable fashion that’s likely to be on display during the event.
Just like its previous edition, the 2022 Saudi Cup comes with a strong, and extremely special, dress code. Put together by the Fashion Commission of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture, the cup’s style guide puts a heavy focus on traditional crafts and age-old techniques from the Kingdom. The aim? To celebrate the rich heritage of Saudi Arabia and its beautiful attire. All set to watch the best of the races and put the best of Saudi Arabian fashion on the global map is HRH Princess Noura AlFaisal, whose efforts towards spotlighting Saudi heritage have gained her immense appreciation across the region. “This year is about owning your culture more than just showing it,” she tells Vogue Arabia in a special interview. “I work on the Saudi Cup for The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA). Essentially, I work between the Club Ministry of Culture on all the cultural activations in the event. Last year, I was proud to be part of the project, as it was the first ever that involved all of the commissions within the ministry. I did work very closely with the Fashion Commission to co-create the dress code last year, and as it was the first year, it was important to represent diversity and authenticity. I was honored and privileged to play my part in what is now, I believe, a significant event in Saudi culture.”
The dress code, for those who may not know, comes with a detailed style guide, spotlighting staples like the bisht, sayah and daglah for men, and thobes and headdresses in rich colors, patterns and embroideries for women. “I hope that this year, we see not only our heritage represented and displayed in its multifaceted and varied way, but that we also see a generation of young designers taking that heritage, owning it and evolving it, so that it expresses them and the culture that they are creating,” Her Highness explains. “We are birthing a new nation, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they create.”
Below, the passionate royal shares her favorite fashion memories, her opinion on how clothing empowers women, and the one piece of style advice she’d like to share with the world. 
Photo: HRH Princess Noura AlFaisal
Fashion seems to have always been a point of interest for you. Can you tell us how this love story began? What is your earliest memory related to fashion?
I grew up in a family of strong women. My mother and her sisters were all independent, and had a strong sense of self that they expressed through their style. My earliest memories are of these beautiful women, and I remember wanting to be just like them.
Are there any looks from the past Saudi Cups that remain your favorites?
I think we all remember Honayda Alserafy, and the beautiful clothes she designed for the Saudi Cup, and HRH Prince Bandar bin Khalid looked wonderful in Art of Heritage. On a personal note, I loved the outfit that Shahd AlShehail (founder of clothing label Abadia) made for me last year. But there are many images that pop up in my head. It was such a beautiful couple of days.
Just like 2022, 2021’s Saudi Cup dress code focused heavily on spotlighting the traditional clothing of the Kingdom. Would you say that this year’s dress code is in any way different from last year’s? Now that the world is opening up post Covid, do you think that this year’s looks will be even more extravagant or celebratory?
Last year felt like a celebration to me. At the time, we were seeing a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of lockdown, the Saudi Cup winner was a Saudi horse, and it was the first time we had seen HRH Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in public  in a very long time. I think it is best to just wait and see what this year brings—but it is very exciting!
Photo: Lina Mo. Designer: ArAm by Arwa Alammari. Stylist: Zeina Kilani. Makeup: Hessa AlAjaji. Hair: Amani Al-Shamrani. Creative direction: Latifa bint Saad. Creative lead: Saif Hidayah. Curation: Hatem Alakeel. Production manager: Ahmed AlSenan.
‘Fashion’ is a concept that is much larger than just stylish clothes. It helps us express ourselves and stand out as individuals. How would you say that fashion empowers women—and Arab women—in particular?
Fashion does indeed express an individual’s personality, but I don’t think it’s limited to women and not especially Arab women. In my experience, Arab women have always had a strong sense of self identity, and they have many ways in which they express that. Like all women, fashion is one of the many tools they use to do so.
Every country, every region has its own national costume. However, what is it that you think makes the traditional pieces of our region such a joy to wear?
The variety, colors and patterns all combine to make our costumes unique. The fact that every pattern comes from a different region and the way it is worn expresses so much about the person wearing it. It is very nuanced and extremely beautiful.
As someone who has dedicated so many years to Saudi fashion, do you see our traditional crafts slowly fading away, or have you been able to witness a resurgence of our age-old techniques? Does the future of Saudi fashion look promising to you?
I have dedicated my life’s work to supporting the design ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, with all its various streams. And yes, across the board, there was a sense of losing many of the traditional crafts. But all the hard work of the MOC, and many other entities as well, has helped build a resurgence in our connection to our heritage. I truly believe that the younger generation has the ability to protect, preserve and revive theses crafts. The future of Saudi fashion is abundant and full of potential.
If there was one piece of style advice you could share with the younger generations in the Kingdom, what would it be?
Be authentic, be yourself.
Lastly, can you tell us a little bit about what we might see you dressed in during the Saudi Cup?
Now, that I will keep to myself for now!
Below, a look at some of the best traditional ensembles spotted at the Saudi Cup 2021.

Read Next: The Fascinating & Colorful History Behind Saudi Arabia’s Bedouin Fashion

Saudi-Led European Label Ramzen Celebrates its First Pop-Up in Riyadh with an Exclusive Collection

Saudi-Led European Label Ramzen Celebrates its First Pop-Up in Riyadh with an Exclusive Collection

Photo: Courtesy of Ramzen
Milan-based fashion house Ramzen, helmed by Saudi designer Abdul Al Romaizan recently opened the doors to its first pop-up. With his hometown Riyadh as the chosen location for the landmark boutique, Al Romaizan also paid tribute to his roots with a Saudi-exclusive capsule collection. The limited pop-up, from November 15-18, follows the brand’s debut at Milan fashion week earlier this year. “Each exciting milestone feels like a moment in history both for Ramzen and for me personally,” shared the designer with Vogue Arabia.
Upon his arrival in Saudi Arabia, Al Romaizan received a warm welcome from the city, fueling him to build his brand further. With a vision to honor his heritage and the Kingdom, the creative director plans on “showcasing the talent that resides within Saudi’s borders, as well as making Riyadh one of the world’s foremost fashion cities.”
Photo: Courtesy of Ramzen
Portraying fashion as a universal form of art, every piece of Ramzen’s Saudi-exclusive capsule collection reflects the current state of the Kingdom. “The pieces are vibrant, youthful, and designed to reflect the pride and optimism I feel as Saudi talents embrace new opportunities and make their mark in the global cultural economy,” he says. “The styles are comfortable, yet tailored. Saudi green is the predominant color, and we have honored my heritage in a variety of symbolic ways, both obvious and subtle.”
Photo: Courtesy of Ramzen
Claimed to be the first Saudi-led European fashion house, Ramzen has come to be known for its unique combination of Saudi creativity and Italian craftsmanship. “Our brand is very experiential,” says Al Romaizan. “At the pop-up, we are inviting fashion lovers not just to view, touch and try the styles we have created but to also embrace their own personal sense of elegance and expression. Of course, we are eager to show clients the quality of materials and craftsmanship: Each piece is made in Milan, Italy, with exquisite attention to detail. And we are also offering Saudi clients first access to our custom, made-to-measure services, as well.”
Ramzen’s limited pop-up is located at Mansard, A Radisson Collection Hotel in Riyadh, and runs November 15-18.
Read Next: This Emirati Label Will Launch a Unique Series of Clothing for the UAE’s 50th National Day

Emerging Saudi Arabian Designers To Have On Your Radar, And In Your Wardrobe

Emerging Saudi Arabian Designers To Have On Your Radar, And In Your Wardrobe

Emerging Saudi Arabian designers are dreaming up brands that speak to the power of community and ownership of self, building a homegrown industry along the way.
Back row, from left Mazrood designer Saud Alajaji, Realself Muse Saud Tarek Barzanji, Galag collection model Abdullah I Ali, and Galag collection founder Sultan Bin Mohammed front row, from left Realself founder Nouf Alhazmi, Mazrood Muse Sausan Alkadi, Lama Albluwi Muse Rahaf Sbeih, Aspect Doré Muse Asmaa Alturk, and Aspect Doré founder Nouran Nazer

The Saudi Arabian creative landscape has blossomed in recent years from the ground up, thanks to passion, drive, and gumption, along with support from the Kingdom’s leadership. Initiatives led by the Ministry of Culture, such as the establishment of the Fashion Commission (one of 11 cultural commissions created), act as a springboard for Saudi creatives, designers, and entrepreneurs. Through the commission, incu-bators will be launched for fashion education as a wider subject, as well as bringing direct investment for the development of regional designers, fashion manufacturers, and brands.
There has been an emergence of Saudi ready-to- wear fashion designers that defy and challenge the typical notion of what and who a designer can be expected to be, and how a brand may be established. Diverse talent and new perspectives are generating a rich design landscape that is being further empowered by the evolving consumer behaviors and buying habits across the region. Furthermore, with designers having recognized the significant challenges in regional textile sourcing and production, there is a real motivation to tackle these issues head-on.
Fashion so often reflects the changing dynamics of society, and that is most boldly seen with some of Saudi Arabia’s emerging designers. Recognizing the evolving experiences of Saudi women and the changing face of society, the designers offer garments that are embedded with comfort, accessibility, versatility, and attitude. Jeddah-based Nouf Alhazmi is one designer who stands true to this idea.
Muse Rahaf Sbeih wearing Realself. Photography Muhanad Alothman

Having studied fashion design at Woodbury University in California, Alhazmi returned to Saudi Arabia with the aspiration of developing a luxury streetwear brand designed and made in Saudi. She recognized the absence of and demand for quality ready-to-wear for women that was both “chic and comfortable” from a now highly active and mobile female clientele. Alhazmi established a production studio in Jeddah, where her brand Realself was founded in 2019, with design, sampling, and small- scale production being implemented on-site with her team. As she continues to grow with the support of the Saudi community, Alhazmi is helping pioneer the Made in Saudi fashion model, standing true to her brand’s ethos of being your “real self.”
Designer Nouran Nazer and her Muse Asmaa Alturk wearing Aspect Doré SS20

Jeddah-based banker-turned-fashion-designer Nouran Nazer launched her brand Aspect Doré in 2019, with the aim of creating pieces that are versatile and playful. Her journey as a designer began some 10 years ago upon her return to Jeddah as an engineering graduate. When she noticed what she describes as an absence of “creativity and style,” she began to design informally, until 2014, when she moved to London to study fashion styling at the London College of Fashion. There, she found her voice as a designer, learning the fundamentals to create garments true to her vision. Her collections have featured the use of corseting, sheer textiles such as silk tulles and lace, as well as patent leathers, which she curates with the aim of manifesting garments that feel like an armor that “empower and celebrate the femininity of its wearer.”
Proud Angeles Muse Dareen Bassas wearing a piece from a collaboration with graffiti artist Deyaa Rambo

Designer and entrepreneur Moe Bajbaa is also harnessing the power of fashion as a platform and social tool. Bajbaa founded Proud Angeles in 2014, a fashion and lifestyle brand inspired by “the individuality and dreaminess of LA with the Saudi hunger and drive to shine.” Proud Angeles has evolved into a brand that also stands as a collective hub for some of the region’s most exciting emerging musicians, skaters, and creatives, as is reflected in the often oversized, easy ready-to-wear collections.
Designer Moe Bajbaa wearing a T-shirt from his brand Proud Angeles

With its regional artist collaborations for one-off drops and immersive installations, energy and gusto have become synonymous with the brand. Proud Angeles supports the development of Saudi creative culture through the curation of festivals, basketball academies for both males and females, as well as supporting the Made in Saudi initiative led by Riyadh-based concept store Personage SA. The store’s founder and owner, HRH Princess Deemah Bint Mansour Bin Saud Alsaud, states, “For those who are committed to their vision and strive for the best, we do the utmost to support them in their journey and growth. Saudi Arabia can be a creator.”
Design director Sultan bin Mohammed with Abdullah I Ali wearing Galag Collection

Also merging fashion, subculture, and community is Galag Collection, an offshoot from the sporting collective Team Galag. Initially designed as merchandise, the brand was later formalized by design director Sultan Bin Mohammed with designer and manager Quinner Baird in 2017. The brand offers staples including T-shirts, hoodies, accessories, shirting, and soon footwear. High-impact graphics resembling lashings of vivid paint, which are, in fact, over-defined Arabic calligraphy letters spelling the brand’s name, ensure the essence of a Saudi design influence is ever-present while offering a product range that is globally approachable to the streetwear community. Their upcoming collection, described by Al Saud as its most innovative to date, has been worked on by Saudi artisans and tailors. The bolstering of such relationships between Saudi designers with regional craftsmen, artisans, and textile makers is an essential component in the development of an empowered Saudi-specific fashion manufacturing industry.
Muse Sausan Alkadi wearing Mazrood SS2

The hybridization of cultural and global philosophies has long been a means of innovation and creative development. Riyadh-based designer Saud Alajaji’s brand Mazrood took flight in 2018 following his move to New York, where he studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology. As well as learning about pattern making, fabrication, and textile application, Alajaji also formed collaborative relationships with other designers and creatives. From such, he presented a collection of jersey and nylon technical streetwear in collaboration with a New York-based material designer, which catapulted the brand forward regionally. Collaborations with the Al-Ula festival on customized merchandise and the Personage store saw the brand further mobilize across the Kingdom.
Mazrood founder and Designer Saud Alajaji

With an aspiration to establish one of the first manufacturing plants for fashion in Saudi Arabia, Alajaji has recently begun producing smaller scale drops and pieces regionally, while importing textiles from Europe and Korea.
Designer Lama Albluwi with her Muse Rahaf Sbeih

Lama Albluwi founded her namesake brand after graduating from Dar-Al Hekma University with a BA in fashion design in 2019. Her latest collection draws inspiration from her Bedouin heritage – she grew up in Al-Ula – as well as the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, the acceptance of imperfection. She sourced Bedouin tenting textiles, formulating them into garments with inside-out seams and imperfect raw hemlines, all of which harked back to the collection’s driving theme of celebrating the beauty of imperfection. Having been fully designed and made by Albluwi, larger-scale manufacturing was later mobilized under her guidance as demand expanded, with specific support from Al-Ula festival as a retailer and distributor. As the brand develops, Albluwi aims to continue celebrating the cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia through the sourcing of regional materials that bode the garment authenticity, passion, and a timeless story.
Designer Lama Albluwi, muse Bilal Abdulaziz wearing Proud Angeles, muse Dareen Bassas wearing Proud Angeles, designer Moe Bajbaa, and muse Rahaf Sbeih wearing Lama Albluwi

As the industry looks to the future, the landscape is blossoming with designers and entrepreneurs who take pride in their heritage and are conscious of the many changes and social developments around them. Increasingly, the potential, power, and value of collaboration and community are being appreciated and amplified. Platforms, spaces, and stores such as Personage SA exist as vital infrastructure in the long-term grounding and development of Saudi designers. With this, Saudi Arabia is emerging as a stirring pioneer of how to create, experience, and engage with fashion and design – now and in the years ahead.
Read Next: Vogue Arabia Cover Story: The Fascinating & Colorful History Behind Saudi Arabia’s Bedouin Fashion
Originally published in the December 2020 Issue of Vogue Arabia

What You Need To Know About Noura Sulaiman’s Debut Ready-To-Wear Collection

What You Need To Know About Noura Sulaiman’s Debut Ready-To-Wear Collection

Saudi designer Noura Sulaiman launches her refined ready-to-wear brand this month.
Photo: Supplied

Noura Sulaiman beams as she recalls the first dress she ever made. “It was a blush pink, long tail dress made with a special headpiece that I designed using fresh baby roses.” If her design acumen has matured since the dress she made at 12 years old, it still carries airs of purity and joy.
Photo: Supplied

With the support of her family, including interior designer sister Aseel Al-Hamad, who is always spotted in her designs, but particularly her mother (“Her smile could last for days and this gave me so much confidence, allowing me to fully tap into my own creative freedom”), Sulaiman enrolled at the Arts and Skills Institute in Riyadh, earning a degree in fashion design. Over time, Sulaiman developed a fondness for elegant, chic, and timeless designs. Long, regal silhouettes, modest and precise tailoring as seen in abayas, vests, and dresses from the Middle East are her particular forte. Meanwhile, the grace and welcoming nature of Saudi women is always at the forefront of her mind when putting pencil to paper. As she launches her eponymous brand this month, she reveals that each piece has a sustainable aspect.
Photo: Supplied

Contemporary farwas are designed with faux fur and all-natural fabrics are chosen meticulously from Italy and France to reflect the season. The clothing is crafted in Riyadh and Europe. “I believe in creating long-lasting and high-quality pieces,” she says of her brand that will offer seasonal drops and Ramadan capsules and is retailed through e-commerce.
Photo: Supplied

“We are coming to an era when Saudi women are rising and to me, that is very important. I want my designs to empower and bring joy to such women in our region,” she affirms. Not one to rest on her laurels, she’s focused on future goals. “In five years’ time, I hope for my brand to have gained regional and international recognition; for someone to spot a design and say, ‘This is a Noura Sulaiman dress.’”
Read Next: How To Build Your Fashion Career – The Experts Tell All
Originally published in the December 2020 Issue of Vogue Arabia

Saudi Label Leem’s New Collection is All About Understated Elegance

Saudi Label Leem’s New Collection is All About Understated Elegance

Are you craving a more minimalist, pared-down wardrobe in 2021? Have you been looking at those spur-of-the-moment fast-fashion buys with shameful regret? Are the world’s vast environmental issues weighing heavily on your mind? It’s time for a refresh. Look no further than the streamlined elegance of Saudi label, Leem, whose second drop of Fall 2020 […]
The post Saudi Label Leem’s New Collection is All About Understated Elegance appeared first on Vogue Arabia.

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