Arab designers are adding their creative flair to the London Fashion Week calendar. On September 19, two Saudi Arabia-based design houses presented their collections for the first time in the UK fashion capital.
The showcase comes as part of a partnership between the British Fashion Council and Film AlUla under the banner AlUla Creates, a platform that encourages female creatives in the kingdom to collaborate with leading industry professionals and amplify their work.
One of the Saudi labels chosen was Atelier Hekayat, which was founded by sisters Alia and Abeer Oriaf in 2012. The pair creates women’s outerwear that references life in the region, including pieces inspired by the bougainvillea flower and Jeddah landscape.
Atelier Hekayat’s Spring 2024 collection is an ode to women. “We dedicate this collection to Saudi women, and we want to represent Saudi Arabia in London in the best way possible,” Alia told Arab News.
The second fashion house selected was ArAm Designs, founded by Arwa AlAmmari. Approaching fashion with a background in painting and sculpting, AlAmmari offers a diverse range of products including luxury abayas (a long over-garment that is common in Muslim countries), loungewear and evening gowns, one of which was worn by Czech actress Eva Herzigova to the Oscars party this year.
For the London showcase, AlAmmari unveiled a collection inspired by the architecture of Spain’s Alhambra Palace and its gardens. “The stunning gardens, the Islamic floral motifs, carved wood and the stucco work — I got inspired to create a collection to reflect this and tell the story of the beautiful golden era of Islam,” she told Arab News.
This isn’t the first global foray for Saudi Arabian designers. Thanks to initiatives like the Saudi 100 Brands program, which offers workshops and mentorship to emerging designers, more local creatives are entering the spotlight. The Saudi 100 Brands participants held a showroom at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week in July this year for the first time and are expected to show at Milan Fashion Week later this week.
With a growing pool of talented designers hungry for exposure, Saudi Arabia is shaping up to be a force in the fashion world.