Meet Aya Barqawi, the Saudi-born social media star

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Barqawi promotes what she calls ‘high-street fashion’ and finds the challenge of adapting to international trends ‘fun’
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Barqawi promotes what she calls ‘high-street fashion’ and finds the challenge of adapting to international trends ‘fun’
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Barqawi promotes what she calls ‘high-street fashion’ and finds the challenge of adapting to international trends ‘fun’
Updated 18 August 2019

Meet Aya Barqawi, the Saudi-born social media star

  • Barqawi promotes what she calls ‘high-street fashion’
  • Barqawi’s Instagram posts are designed with digital frames to add a unique touch to her content

DUBAI: Between the luxurious fashion statements and international runways, Palestinian-Jordanian Aya Barqawi continues to inspire her followers with thousands of on-budget styles.

“I always try to make people feel inclusive. I want to end this intimidation that comes with fashion,” the Saudi-born blogger told Arab News.

Barqawi promotes what she calls “high-street fashion” and finds the challenge of adapting to international trends “fun.”

“I am looking for new ways to make trends work for me,” she said. “You just need a little bit of creativity and imagination.”

Like many women her age with similar passions, the 24-year-old was unable to study fashion in college because of a lack of opportunity in the Middle East. Now, as a design graduate, she incorporates her field of study with a social media career.

Barqawi’s Instagram posts are designed with digital frames to add a unique touch to her content. “Studying design helped me shape my visual identity on Instagram because I do a lot of graphic work on my photos. It makes it easier for me to create digital content,” she said.

The stylist also worked as a fashion photographer for a brand in Berlin. “I never thought they would pick me over people who are actually from Berlin, who were actually German,” she said. “But my work spoke for itself.”

Barqawi is always looking to motivate other women. “No matter what the field of work you are in, never underestimate yourself. Never second-guess yourself and never compromise your standards for anyone or anything,” she said.

The fashion blogger has also worked in media as a TV producer and segment producer. “I have done digital, I have done TV, so now I am just open to anything that comes my way,” she said.


Regional designers wow the front row at LFW

Omani label Atelier Zuhra found new ways to update denimwear. (Getty Images)
Updated 16 September 2019

Regional designers wow the front row at LFW

DUBAI: Emirati designer Ahmed Khyeli showed off his ethereal new collection at London Fashion Week on Sunday, just before British-Afghani designer Osman Yousefzada and Omani label Atelier Zuhra showcased their latest lines on Monday.

Yousefzada’s eponymous label OSMAN staged a showcase of the designer’s dreamy Spring/Summer 2020 collection, complete with frothy tulle, vibrant jungle prints and more structured, belted two-piece outfits in bright pastel shades.

Atelier Zuhra — the brainchild of designer Rayan Al-Sulaimani and entrepreneur Mousa Al-Awfi — put on a show of denim creations. Splattered with what looked like cracked white paint and underlain with delicate white tulle, the Omani fashion house found new ways to update denimwear.

Emirati designer Ahmed Khyeli showed off his ethereal new collection at London Fashion Week. (Getty Images)

For his part, London-based Khyeli wowed the front row with a sneak peak of his Spring/Summer 2020 line, full of dramatic silhouettes in a much lighter color palette that the rich dark shades the designer has become known for.

Although the collection still featured a smattering of midnight blacks, hot salmon pinks, milky pea greens and nude shades were out in full force.

A feathered white ballgown and matching jacket was the main event at the show, with its decadent cascading feathers and sweetheart neckline. Peek-a-boo cutouts, tiny sequins and tightly rouched material also made appearances in the collection.

Khyeli is no stranger to spotlight and his designs have been worn by some of the entertainment industry’s leading ladies.

In March, makeup mogul Kylie Jenner sported a daring ensemble by the designer for a photoshoot.

 Ahmed Khyeli presented a sneak peak of his Spring/Summer 2020 line. (Getty Images)

The 21-year-old, who was recently named the youngest ever self-made billionaire by Forbes, wore a custom-made gown by Khyeli.

The dramatic black minidress featured a frilled train running up the side along with an oversized, ruffled collar.

Lady Gaga took to the Jimmy Kimmel Live TV show in early March to talk about her 2019 Oscar win while wearing a gown by Khyeli.

The beaded tulle gown, with a swimsuit-style bodice and strappy shoulders, hailed from the label’s Spring 2019 collection and, according to the fashion house, took more than 200 hours to embroider by hand.