Saudi designer points the way for women drivers

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A stylish way to mark a historic moment.
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Updated 11 May 2018
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Saudi designer points the way for women drivers

  • Mohammed Khoja has designed a black bomber jacket with the insignia “June 24, 2018, 10 Shawwal 1439” — the long-awaited date when women in the Kingdom will be allowed to drive.
  • The jacket could be worn by both men and women who wanted to celebrate the Kingdom’s social progress.

RIYADH: As the day nears when Saudi women take to the roads for the first time, a Riyadh fashion designer has come up with a stylish way of marking the historic moment.

Mohammed Khoja has designed a black bomber jacket with the insignia “June 24, 2018, 10 Shawwal 1439” — the long-awaited date when women in the Kingdom will be allowed to drive.

The founder of the luxury Hindamme label is determined to draw attention to the breakthrough for women by wearing his own creation.

“I get stopped all the time by people complimenting me on the jacket,” Khoja said.

The designer said he was “super-proud” of the direction Saudi society was taking with this “progressive push.”

Khoja said: “I was moved by the decision to lift the ban on women driving, because it seemed like something that would never happen. It is a symbolic gesture. The ban has always been held against us as Saudis.”

Khoja said he hoped his jacket would help fashion-conscious Saudis mark the event.

“Every country has historic days when things happen that shift the course of the future — and this is one of those dates. That was the inspiration. I thought, how can I, as a designer, pay tribute to this?

“I call it a driving jacket to commemorate the date.” 

Khoja said the jacket could be worn by both men and women who wanted to celebrate the Kingdom’s social progress.

“This decision is not only important to Saudi women and men, but also a step forward in our global quest to achieve more equality, balance and peace,” he said.


Yousra Elsadig brings her modest style to LFW

An image from the show in London. (Frederico Velez)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Yousra Elsadig brings her modest style to LFW

DUBAI: An independent showcase of emerging designers held during London Fashion Week, Fashion Scout once again lived up to its name — scouting out and presenting talented designers from across the globe from Feb. 15-17.

Arab News went along to a showing by a UK-based designer Yousra Elsadig, whose Boutique De Nana collection paid tribute to her former home country, Sudan.

“I am trying to depict the beauty of my homeland. It’s so heart-breaking to see what’s happening in Sudan. I want to dedicate this collection to my country and to put the focus on freedom, justice and peace,” she said.

Elsadig, who was named “Woman of the Year” by Barclays in 2017 and “Designer of The Year 2016 by the Modest Association of London, designs for women who want to dress modestly, but with imagination and style.

“The modest element is very important to me — women can be beautiful, feminine and modest,” she said.

Her designs have a simplicity, charm and quirkiness that comes partly from the use of recycled fabrics, as sustainability is a key message she wants to get across. 

Elsadig is unusual in combining her designer role with a full-time degree in optometry. In fact, the day before her LFW show, she sat an exam and then drove from her home in Wales to London. 

She is also the mother of two young girls, but if that’s a lot to juggle it doesn’t show. She was a bundle of warmth and energy backstage — calmly briefing the models.

Her family left Sudan when she was very young and she grew up in Canada. Her family then left Canada to live in Wales in the UK.

It was in Cardiff that she met her mentor, designer Sarah Valentin, who was teaching community sewing and textile classes with a special focus on recycling and sustainability. Valentin said she is thrilled to see Elsadig achieving such success.

“I saw her potential and creative ideas. It’s incredible that she is showing here at London Fashion Week.  I’m so proud of her,” she said.

As the models moved gracefully through the room, the clothes gave off a sense of confident, graceful and highly individual style — perfect for the modern, modest woman of today.