Saudi designer Aljawharah Sadeem Abdulaziz Alshehai seems to live by Coco Chanel’s ethos: Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. The young fashion designer is behind the sustainable label, Sadeem, whose current collection is called Abwaab (Doors). It is inspired by a nation moving forward without letting go of the past. Saudi Arabia has been exploring many of its untapped resources, with a very determined plan, she said. Her collection will take to the runway this Friday evening at Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD.
Luxury is at the core of all Sadeem designs, so silk was a natural first choice of fabric. This fabric is luxurious and delicate and a natural fiber. Silk is also durable and biodegradable and I only work with textile mills that are eco-friendly, she said. This designer does not believe in following trends. When the item is no longer desired, I hope that it would be swapped or handed to a friend, a second-hand shop or donated to charity, she said. These are investment buys. With many of her motifs referenced from the native folklore, architecture, costumes and jewelry of Saudi Arabia, her fashion is about marrying Arab heritage with contemporary design. The geometric shapes and triangles are dozminant, and reflect the design aesthetic of our heritage.
These clothes are for the modern Arab woman but also have international appeal. They are made between New York’s garment district, Dubai Design District and her studio in Riyadh. I dream of creating a fashion foundation that would help to launch emerging young talents within the MENA region, she said. The focus would be on preserving traditional, artisanal and handcrafted work. I hope to achieve a strong network of creative thinkers and to work with communities that practice strategic solutions toward sustainable shared goals. It is fashion labels such as Sadeem that look set to take the story of Arab fashion global.