Quirky Saudi vintage collector lays down a challenge to the fast-fashion world

Alia Kurdi, a 27-year-old fashion enthusiast, uses shirts from her grandfather’s Versace collection that are often loud and bright in her outfits and receives compliments for her style. (Supplied)
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Alia Kurdi, a 27-year-old fashion enthusiast, uses shirts from her grandfather’s Versace collection that are often loud and bright in her outfits and receives compliments for her style. (Supplied)
Quirky Saudi vintage collector lays down a challenge to the fast-fashion world
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Quirky Saudi vintage collector lays down a challenge to the fast-fashion world
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Updated 16 January 2022

Quirky Saudi vintage collector lays down a challenge to the fast-fashion world

Alia Kurdi, a 27-year-old fashion enthusiast, uses shirts from her grandfather’s Versace collection that are often loud and bright in her outfits and receives compliments for her style. (Supplied)
  • ‘Re-accessorize everything, borrow from your friends and lend them stuff. The perfect way to not buy for occasions’

JEDDAH: A young Saudi fashion enthusiast is trying to make people aware of vintage fashion and the footprint that fast fashion has on the world.

Alia Kurdi is a 27-year-old fashion enthusiast who collects, designs, and sells vintage clothes in Saudi Arabia. She has always felt that, growing up, the only way she could express herself was through her clothes,
“There weren’t many venues for self-expression, and because I am a bit of a radical person, I began showing my personality through my clothes, and that is when I began building this connection to different pieces.”
The appreciation of vintage clothes ran within the Kurdi family. She told Arab News that her grandfather collected Versace shirts that were often loud and bright, “He didn’t dress like the typical Arab man. I still wear some of his shirts today, and people compliment them and are often shocked to find out that they belong to my grandfather.”

I feel like I already have a connection with a piece; I feel called to a store, and immediately from a distance, I know the thing I am going to buy as if these pieces speak to me. Usually, they are extremely special, whether the texture or the pattern.

Alia Kurdi

People in Saudi Arabia have always recycled their used items through charity.
However, the situation has changed as conversations around resale and pre-owned pieces have evolved.
Kurdi said that she began shopping mindfully ever since she learned the footprint that fast fashion had on the globe; that is when she started venturing into vintage and second-hand shops. The collector said that once she had started, she never looked back, and 2022 marks her fast-fashion-free seventh year.
Kurdi advised people thinking of going into fast fashion to start with baby steps and set realistic goals, “One of the most negative things is buying for occasions because people think they cannot repeat. Re-accessorize everything, borrow from your friends and lend them stuff. That will be the perfect way to not buy for occasions.”
The collector said that she loves exploring different streets and shops to find her clothes; she described the process of selecting what to buy as “intuitive.”
“I feel like I already have a connection with a piece; I feel called to a store, and immediately from a distance, I know the thing I am going to buy as if these pieces speak to me. Usually, they are extremely special, whether the texture or the pattern,” she said.




Alia Kurdi has recycled these pants from a vintage skirt. (Supplied)

Kurdi also said that the pieces she selects turn out to be beautiful, and she has developed this compass to find hidden treasures.
She describes her style as an “Emo Unicorn,” someone who likes a lot of black but with loud colors, as well. Her emotions are reflected in the outfit she is wearing.
“I did get a lot of negative comments as I was growing up, and I was very triggered by it. However, now not only have I changed my approach, but people are celebrating it a lot more; they say things like it’s amazing that I have stayed true to myself,” she said.
“Still, a lot of people have said that I was much prettier a few years ago, and I recognize that at that time I was much more insecure.”
She said her favorite piece of clothing is a ‘Google Chrome’ jacket that she bought in Berlin: “It’s black with a lot of bright colors. I broke my spending limit rule for this one jacket because I actually had to have it. So many people have complimented me. I made a friend through it as well. I am so glad that it found me.”
She gave that name to the jacket because the colors looked like Google’s logo. If she were to sum up her style and personality in an item of clothing, this would be it: “It is rough in some spots and soft in some, it is all black but also colorful. Kind of like what I feel all the time.”
The collector has started her own brand where she connects people with pieces with stories, “Diskofrenzy was born because often I will find pieces that were very special but not my size, but I had to collect them and keep them with me. My goal for my brand is to make Diskofrenzy the ultimate go-to for vintage and up-cycled fashion.”
The name connects two very personal things for Kurdi: Disco, which is vintage but is now making a comeback, and she said that she feels a frenzy only when she is dancing or shopping. This is why she decided that the perfect name for her brand would be Diskofrenzy.
She said that people often come up to her and say that only she can pull off a certain style. However, in her opinion that is not true, “Anyone can pull off whatever they want. Just be quirky and weird and a little bit rebellious. Express yourself through what you wear.”


Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi poses for Jimmy Choo

Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi poses for Jimmy Choo
Updated 18 May 2022

Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi poses for Jimmy Choo

Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi poses for Jimmy Choo

DUBAI: Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi has given her 47,000 Instagram followers a behind-the-scenes look at Jimmy Choo’s new summer beach campaign.

The model took to Instagram to share a carousel of images with the caption “summer vibes with Jimmy Choo! Campaign finally out babes! I appreciate everyone that made this beautiful shoot come true.”

The British fashion brand launched the beach capsule collection earlier this week and it is marked by bright and vibrant colors and essential accessories for beachside holidays.

The 23-year-old model posted photos of the new sunglasses range, some behind-the-scenes swimsuit shots and the set crew. The official photos include shots of the part-Arab beauty lounging by a pool and posing on the beach in pieces from the brand’s new capsule collection.

Jimmy Choo Beach Collection campaign. Supplied

El-Maslouhi has made quite a name for herself in the industry. In just the past month she has been a part of three international campaigns: Anthropologie, Zara, and now Jimmy Choo.

She is a rising star in the business and is currently signed with agencies in Paris, London and Barcelona.

El-Maslouhi was born in Milan to a Moroccan father and an Italian mother and made her modelling debut when she was 18. Since she has captivated the industry, gracing runways of stories fashion houses that most models can only dream of, including Dior, Chanel, Valentino, Jacquemus, and more.

She has also appeared in multiple international campaigns ranging from Zara and Anthropologie to Off-White and Lanvin.

In the past year El-Maslouhi has walked for fashion houses in London, New York, Paris, and Milan.

She has also become the ambassador for the luxury womenswear label La Perla’s beauty line, and was further selected to be the face of the French brand’s signature scent.

Other than being a catwalk fixture, El-Maslouhi has multiple magazine spreads under belt including Dazed Magazine and British Vogue.

 


Arab designers put on stellar show in Cannes

Arab designers put on stellar show in Cannes
Updated 18 May 2022

Arab designers put on stellar show in Cannes

Arab designers put on stellar show in Cannes

DUBAI: The 75th Cannes Film Festival rolled out the red carpet on Tuesday, attracting a wide spectrum of movie luminaries wearing their glittering best back to the French resort to celebrate the event.

As usual, Arab designers stole the limelight with their show-stopping looks, including Lebanese couturiers Tony Ward and Zuhair Murad, and Omani design house Atelier Zuhra.

Bollywood actress Urvashi Rautela was among the stars who championed a design from the region.

The Miss Universe 2015 contestant made her Cannes red-carpet debut at the premiere of “Final Cut,” floating in on a cloud of white tulle. The frothy confection was plucked from the atelier of Ward. The Indian 28-year-old looked every inch a Disney princess in the voluminous, asymmetrical gown with a long train. She paired the look with a braided updo and a bold red lip.

Ward also found a fan in American actress Liza Koshy, who stunned at the opening ceremony in a white sheer creation embroidered with pink, blue, and green sequins. The gown featured a single shoulder and a high slit, and she paired it with gold open-toe pumps.

Actress Liza Koshy wore a sequined gown by Lebanese designer Tony Ward. Getty Images

Elsewhere, Dubai-based Moldovan model Elvira Jain, was a vision in a black tulle gown by Atelier Zuhra.

The plunging gown featured a black ruffled cape with a long train. A cascade of embroidered crystals shimmered even more brightly against the flashing cameras.

It was the second time that Jain had opted for a gown from the Dubai-based womenswear brand. She said: “Wearing an Atelier Zuhra (dress) means stepping into a magical world made of opulent gowns worthy of a queen. When I saw this gorgeous dress in the showroom, its spell was cast on me.”

She paired it with diamond-studded jewelry signed Noor by Jahan.


Alice Abdelaziz stepped out in a lavish look by Zuhair Murad, which she paired with a ballooning taffeta cape. Getty Images

Meanwhile, Lebanese reality television star and founder of beauty brand Take Me to Wonder, Alice Abdelaziz, stepped out in a lavish look from Murad’s fall 2021 couture collection.

Abdelaziz made the case for an appealing contrast between voluminous shapes and slim silhouettes in a black sinuous number that was dripping in dark blue and silver sequins, which she paired with a ballooning taffeta cape thrown over it.


Wings is the sci-fi inspired abaya label you need to know

Wings is the sci-fi inspired abaya label you need to know
Updated 18 May 2022

Wings is the sci-fi inspired abaya label you need to know

Wings is the sci-fi inspired abaya label you need to know

DUBAI: The abaya is a sartorial staple for women across the Gulf. The loose robe-like garment, which dates back 4,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia, constitutes national dress in countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, serving as a symbol of modesty.

Today, the abaya is a far cry from the plain black cloak of the past — as elegant as that can be. With time, the floor-length robe has evolved into a fashion statement, with many different designs available. The new wave of garments, while engineered for modesty, features contemporary elements like jewel-encrusted palm trees, black lace trim and embroidered hearts, and come in experimental and playful colors, silhouettes and fabrics that are anything but basic.

One such label reimagining the traditional garment is Wings.

Wings is a handmade abaya label founded by Emirati designer Al Anood Al-Mansoori. Inspired by the movement of birds, Al-Mansoori has produced a lineup of culturally modest attire in powerfully outspoken colors and fabrics that will ensure you are the best-dressed person in any room.

The fashion designer reveals that she is deeply influenced by sci-fi movies and TV shows. Supplied

“I have always been inspired by the boldness of an independent woman,” proclaimed Al-Mansoori. “All my life I have worked toward becoming one myself,” added the electrical engineer turned fashion designer.

“I am pretty much driven by the thought of freedom and breaking through,” she explained, hence the name Wings, which boasts multiple meanings.

The fashion designer, who reveals that she is deeply influenced by sci-fi movies and TV shows such as “The Matrix” and “The X-Files,” is currently studying for her master’s degree in artificial intelligence, and it is clear how biology, physics and algorithms inform her designs.

One bestselling piece is a graphic printed chiffon abaya that comes with a matching stretch jersey dress and opera gloves, which can also be worn on their own. The design’s print evokes the chronophotographic lines of bird wing movements.

 

A graphic printed chiffon abaya that comes with a matching stretch jersey dress and opera gloves is a bestseller. Supplied

The designer’s inspirations also culminated into an expansive lineup of edgy and contemporary looks that include an exquisite black overlay embroidered with a giant bird on the back and creations that merge the trench coat with the traditional abaya and can easily double as outerwear.

However, Al-Mansoori states that having unique creations is only one element of a successful clothing company.

“To thrive in such a local business, you can’t just be good at designing garments,” she said. “You have to master project and relationship management. You should always be up to date with worldwide trends in the fashion industry and any new entrepreneurship hacks.”

She explained, for instance, that she is using her education in artificial intelligence to see how she can predict her customers’ behaviors and thus improve customer loyalty through her findings.

However, judging by how quickly her creations run out of stock online, it is safe to presume that Wings is steadily on the rise — no fancy app or elaborate program necessary.  

 


Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty heads to Italy for Tod’s campaign 

Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty heads to Italy for Tod’s campaign 
Updated 18 May 2022

Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty heads to Italy for Tod’s campaign 

Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty heads to Italy for Tod’s campaign 

DUBAI: Italian fashion label Tod’s tapped Australian-Lebanese model Jessica Kahawaty to star in a campaign for its Spring/Summer 2022 line.   

The actress, humanitarian and entrepreneur took to Instagram to share shots from the her time in Amalfi, Italy, as well as behind-the-scenes footage from the trip. “Grateful for these days of happiness, fresh air and beautiful nature,” she wrote to her 1.1 million followers. 

In the warm-toned pictures, taken by Italian photographer Gabriele D’Agostino, Kahawaty was seen sporting stylish cat-eye glasses with an oval-shaped white bag complete with the Tod’s logo.

She also wore a colorful printed knit dress accessorized with a hot red bag with gold detailing. 

In other pictures, the Dubai-based star was seen wearing a long-sleeved fringed mini-dress, beige blazers and an orange jacket. 


Supermodel Irina Shayk has starring role in Saudi-Iraqi singer’s new music video

Supermodel Irina Shayk has starring role in Saudi-Iraqi singer’s new music video
Updated 17 May 2022

Supermodel Irina Shayk has starring role in Saudi-Iraqi singer’s new music video

Supermodel Irina Shayk has starring role in Saudi-Iraqi singer’s new music video

DUBAI: Russian supermodel Irina Shayk got a starring role in Iraqi-Saudi singer Majid Al-Muhandis’ latest music video. The former Victoria’s Secret angel appeared in the Arab hitmaker’s clip for his newest song “Waareftek” (“I Knew You”) from his 2022 album of the same name. Shayk stars as the singer’s love interest in the five-minute-long clip, which he teased to his 2.4 million Instagram followers this week —and social media users can’t seem to get enough.

“We are in the timeline in which Irina Shayk stars in a Majid Al-Muhandis music video, and that’s impeccable,” wrote one user on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by irinashayk (@irinashayk)

Another Twitter user quipped: “Let’s take a break from politics. How old were you when you found out that an Iraqi singer named Majid Al-Muhandis made a video clip with the one and only Irina Shayk!?”

A month ago, Shayk took to Instagram to share a sneak peek of the unreleased music video by way of a still from the clip displayed on a video camera. “UAE for 24 hours,” she captioned the carousel of images, that also included a snap of an Emirates airline first class cabin and a behind-the-scenes snap of her on set.

The lyrics for “Waareftek” were written by the Chairman of General Authority for Entertainment in Saudi Arabia, Turki Al-Sheikh.

It is not the first time that the now-36-year-old model has starred in a music video.

Shayk famously appeared in rapper Kanye West’s music video for “Power” that was filmed 11 years ago.

In the footage released in the summer of 2010, Shayk is seen sitting on a throne in front of West as he raps.

Al-Muhandis and West are far from the first musicians to spice up their visuals with the addition of a runway star.

George Michael’s “Freedom! ‘90” featured the top supermodels of the noughties, including Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington lip-synching along to the ballad.

In 2015, Taylor Swift enlisted a supermodel girl gang that included Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss, Martha Hunt and more to star in her “Bad Blood” video.