The booming presence of Saudi Arabia‘s fashion industry will be celebrated at the world’s biggest fair very soon. On February 16, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, in collaboration with The Saudi Fashion Commission, will host a fashion show featuring three designers, each presenting a selection of 10 pieces from their latest collections.
Arwa Al Banawi is one of them, who after launching her eponymous label in 2015, became renowned for her edgy designs catering to the modern woman. Combining traditional tailoring with contemporary styles, the Dubai-based brand’s offering ranges from statement pieces to wardrobe staples favored by both, the cool kids and working women. Al Banawi’s Saudi pride also shines through her work, which often features traditional patterns and various slogans and words in Arabic. In 2017, her skillful blend of Arab and western influences lead her to collaborate with Adidas, which enlisted her once again in 2021 to reinterpret its classic Forum Lo shoe unveiled at Al Ula.
Al Banawi will be joined by Tima Abid, the Saudi couturier who made her Paris fashion week debut in 2020, 16 years after establishing her namesake brand. Since then, the designer has gone on to dress a number of stars including Assala and Oumaima Taleb, and was even tapped by Balqees Fathi to create her wedding gown in 2016. After her first fashion show in Paris, which was attended by members of the Al Saud royal family, Abid shared, “I want to be the Chanel of Saudi Arabia. I want to show that the Saudi woman can do it. When any woman wears Tima Abid, I want her to feel strong, elegant, and delicate.” This reflects in her designs which not only feature figure-hugging silhouettes and sheer panels but are also imbued with fearlessness and confidence. Ready-to-wear label Abadia will also be presenting its designs at the show. The label is known for using artisanal techniques for its pieces which feature embroidery and beading, and aim to connect traditional craftsmanship with modern aesthetics.
The event is the Expo 2020 Dubai’s first fashion show dedicated to highlighting Arab designers. Previously, the British Fashion Council in collaboration with HSBC Middle East and Chalhoub Group also hosted an exclusive show for Preen by Thornton Bregazzi at the UK Pavilion.