“We need humanity, more than cleverness… life will be violent, and all will be lost” read the screen at Emergency Room’s “Borderline” show. With a name that stems from the belief that the world needs to drastically change its wasteful ways, the Beirut-based sustainable and ethically focused brand portrayed a united world where flags are obsolete. On the runway, a series of white pieces, hand printed with various visa stamps represented the different countries designer Eric Mathieu Ritter and his team have visited. Elsewhere, the collection focused on pairing up-cycled denim with white cotton and mish mashing sports jerseys, knitted sports scarves and polyester flags, to usher in the upcoming World Cup.
Iranian designer Mohammad Amin Pour Eskandarian’s everyday couture boutique in downtown Tehran visually conveys the everyday impact the Middle East’s crisis has on everyday life. Here at Arab Fashion Week, a series of genderless designs were indicative of a world in transition. Velvety, floor sweeping dresses fashioned with hoods and fanciful layers were crafted to facilitate a wide range of movement and activities. On an emotional note, the brand said that its embroidered sewing technique infuses each item with a tree-trunk feel, inspiring viewers here to contemplate the world, beyond the fashion industry.
Born in Exile
Since leaving Libya in 2014 upon the outbreak of civil war, Libyan designer Ibrahim Sheban has used his designs to remind the world of the undiscovered beauty of Libya, his eternal muse. “His latest “Never Love Me Again” collection is composed of irreverent designs, leather jackets, trench coats and an updated kandora demonstrating how society is rapidly evolving. A mosaic tile print emblazoned onto a mini skirt and jacket ensemble, a fanciful sun dress and a track suit conjured the architectural treasures of Libya.
Silk abaya-inspired ensembles awash in a palette of Arabian sunset- to-sunrise colors, sashayed down the runway to the tune of heritage soundtrack. After six days of international shows and new perspectives, it was a refreshing reminder of the region’s origins and the creative mystique that emanates from Arabian Peninsula. This time, the simplicity of the abaya came to the fore, consciously enhanced with sartorial elements like trench collars, fringe details and innovative textiles and prints like polka dot and architectural tile motifs.
Unapologetically fierce, Slimi Studio churned out a collection of spandex designs bright enough to light up the night sky. Laser cut bodysuits, miniskirts and leotards were paired with oversized puffer jackets. Amped up with gathered sleeves and asymmetrical cuts, the collection embraced couture heritage with eye-catching feather detail and romantic drapery.
Death by Dolls
London-born, LA-educated Sara Al-Saud’s Death by Dolls runway injected the last day of shows with a Hollywood club vibe. The brand that has dressed megastars like Britney Spears and Beyonce returned to Arab Fashion Week with rule-breaking designs like barely-there bandeau tops and lingerie-inspired ensembles. A child of the punk 80s, Al-Saud continues to stand by her vibrant, bright colors, anything shiny and sparkly, intense textures, even among her more modest looks involving denim jackets and her hijabs.
The Giving Movement
An urban palette of grey, black, and white set the tone for last show on the Arab Fashion Week roster. The Giving Moment, the Dubai- LA- KSA brand pioneering ethically made, sustainable athleisure and street wear unleashed a collection mirroring the faces and figures walking the Dubai streets today. Hijabs, silky pajamas, utilitarian track pants and tees crisscrossed with hiking straps, and models clad in work out gear, closed the curtain on one of the most dynamic fashion weeks of all.