The Evolution of Arab Fashion Shows

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A Review of Arab Fashion Week.

I seem to have developed an obsession for runway shows – I’m simply fascinated by fashion designers, and feel somewhat proud watching them evolve. The Arab Fashion Week has been one of my favorites so far. Founded by Jacob Abrian in 2015, the platform gathers international, local, and regional fashion designers to showcase the evolution of the fashion industry, especially in the Middle East.

Its 8th edition (2019) was held in Dubai’s 1422 (an interesting name that stands for “1 Council for 22 Countries”), a space dedicated for luxury shopping.

Courtusy Photo

Courtusy Photo

We saw 29 shows from various designers during the 4-day event, with some prominent brand names from the UAE including Aiisha Ramadan, Yara Bin Shakar, BLSSD, and Arshys, and others from Italy, Russia, France, Turkey, the UK, and the US. One name we were all anticipating this season was Saudi designer Sara Altwaim, who was the only Saudi designer at this year’s Arab Fashion Week.

Coming from an artistic family, she attended the College of Art and Design in Jeddah, and then launched her first collection in 2015, later opening her own boutique.

Courtusy Photo

Courtusy Photo

Sara has always been known for her bridal collections and delicate, charming style. Her latest collection, “Meteor,” explores the relationship between nature and astronomy, and “how the aura of nature affects the planets and everything around us,” in her words. We noticed silver, metallic gowns, sheer and white embroidered dresses, shabby chic romantic gowns with ruffles and lace, and some gowns with constellations and stars depicted.

Another exceptional show was Dr. Sara Al Madani’s, a designer from the UAE whose latest collection “50 Shades of Black” pushed the boundaries of the modern abaya, with structured, unconventional pieces featuring bold details, such as fringes.

Courtusy Photo

Courtusy Photo

Meanwhile, Lebanese designer Mikhail Chamoun gave a great show with his second collection “World & Co” – rich, out-of-this-world designs that may not be meant for daily wear, but are definitely meant to showcase his creativity with different materials.

While not every piece on the runway is everyone’s cup of tea, these shows don’t always showcase items for the average consumer to purchase – they are also a platform for designers to display their creativity and ideas. And we’re here for it.

Instagram: Arabfashioncouncil

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