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)
1 / 3
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
2 / 3
Photo/Supplied
Quirky Saudi vintage collector lays down a challenge to the fast-fashion world
3 / 3
Photo/Supplied
Short Url
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.”


Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair hits Giorgio Armani, Giambattista Valli runways in Paris

Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair hits Giorgio Armani, Giambattista Valli runways in Paris
Updated 06 July 2022

Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair hits Giorgio Armani, Giambattista Valli runways in Paris

Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair hits Giorgio Armani, Giambattista Valli runways in Paris

DUBAI: Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair is taking the fashion industry by storm. 

This week, the rising catwalk star, who is signed to Elite Model Management agency, walked the runway for Rome-based brand Giambattista Valli, Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani and Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika during Paris Haute Couture Week, running until July 7. 

On Tuesday, she wore a voluminous high-low brown dress for the Giambattista Valli show.

During the Armani runway presentation, Al-Zuhair stepped out in a purple-blue set with a glitzy blazer tied with a colorful bow at the waist and oversized trousers. 

She shared a behind-the-scenes picture with her followers on Instagram.  

After the show, she wrote: “Thank you for this magical moment,” tagging renowned designer Giorgio Armani’s page. 

On the first day of couture week, Al-Zuhair wore a multi-colored piece that featured a blue top with floor-grazing sleeves and a two-toned embellished skirt. 

The model, who is based between Paris and London, has already appeared in campaigns for high-end brands like Burberry and Tiffany & Co. 

Al-Zuahir is not the only Arab star who is making headlines at Paris Haute Couture Week. 

On Wednesday, US Dutch Palestinian supermodel Bella Hadid walked in the star-studded Balenciaga show along with A-list celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa, Naomi Campbell and Nicole Kidman.  

Hadid wore a green mini dress with a train of structured floor-length fabric.


Lebanese label Ashi Studio makes ‘waves’ in Paris with Fall/Winter collection

Lebanese label Ashi Studio makes ‘waves’ in Paris with Fall/Winter collection
Updated 06 July 2022

Lebanese label Ashi Studio makes ‘waves’ in Paris with Fall/Winter collection

Lebanese label Ashi Studio makes ‘waves’ in Paris with Fall/Winter collection

DUBAI: Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi’s Beirut-based label Ashi Studio presented its Fall/Winter 2023 collection on the sidelines of Paris Haute Couture Week on Tuesday. The collection, which was presented at the brand’s second live show in Paris, was titled “Waves.” 

Presented under the looming vaulted ceilings of the American Cathedral in Paris, the show featured everything from structured and embellished mini dresses to feathered gowns and glittering skirts with long trains. To better represent its “Waves” theme, the label liberally infused the collection with eye-catching ruffles, pleats and crinkled fabrics, in a manner that was eclectic yet understated.

The designer presented his collection under the looming vaulted ceilings of the American Cathedral in Paris. (Getty Images)

British model Jourdan Dunn was spotted on the front row in a light and airy Ashi Studio ensemble. France-based fashion blogger Veronica Ferraro was also at the event in an all-black, glittering get-up, pulled together with a large bow at the waist. Dubai-based TV host Diala Makki and Russian model Valero Kaufman were also spotted at the presentation.

While Ashi Studio was not on the official Paris Haute Couture calendar, other Arab designers are showing as part of the main event, including Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika, as well as designers Zuhair Murad, Ellie Saab and fashion house Madison Rabih Kayrouz.

A favorite among celebrities in the Arab world and beyond, Ashi Studio is no stranger to making headlines, and did so most recently when Bollywood star Deepika Padukone wore the brand’s floor-sweeping orange gown at the 75th Cannes Film Festival this year. The actress wore the taffeta gown to the premiere of the French drama film “The Innocent.”

Singer-songwriter Kylie Minogue is another star who has previously flaunted Ashi Studio creations. The “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” hitmaker stepped out in 2021 in an off-the-shoulder leopard print dress with puffed sleeves and a long cape. The dress was from the label’s “Silence in the Mirror” Fall/Winter 2019-2020 couture collection. The year before that, she shared a snap on Instagram wearing an all-white, feather couture jumpsuit from the fashion house during a shoot for her 15th studio album “Disco.” 

A-listers including Queen Rania, Beyoncé, Sonam Kapoor and Cardi B have also been spotted in the label’s creations.


Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presents Fall 2023 collection in Paris

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)
Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)
Updated 05 July 2022

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presents Fall 2023 collection in Paris

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika returned to the runway this week as he unveiled his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. 

This is Hobeika’s first show with his son Jad Hobeika, who was recently named the co-creative director of the celebrity-loved brand.

During the label’s first physical show since the pandemic, Hobeika wanted to pay tribute to our planet through couture. The collection’s title, “Eternal Gifts,” reflects the presents that Earth gives to us, according to the show notes. 

His designs were inspired by waterfalls and waves, with gowns in Mediterranean blues along with sunset hues. 

German influencer Leonie Hanne opened the show wearing a mini dress with metallic feathers and crystal embroidery.

“Pinch me!!! Your girl opening the haute couture show for @georgeshobeika in Paris. So much love for Georges and Jad Hobeika,” wrote the runway star to her 4.3 million Instagram followers.

Hanne is one of Hobeika’s loyal clients and has previously been spotted wearing Hobeika’s glamorous creations during fashion weeks and film festivals. 

The father-and-son duo’s newest release featured glamorous gowns with metallic feathers, ornate embroidery, dynamic cuts and daring silhouettes. 

Unexpected cut outs marked the collection, with the models’ midriffs and hips on full display in some of the eye-catching gowns.  

They also showcased a few menswear designs, including blazers, luxurious coats and tailored pants in earthy tones, complete with Hobeika’s signature embellishments and pattern work.

Hobeika is not the only Arab designer on the Haute Couture calendar, however. 

Designers Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab will present their latest collections on Wednesday, while Lebanese fashion house Maison Rabih Kayrouz presented its couture and ready-to-wear lines on Monday.

“I think about the woman, I like to dress her for her real life,” Kayrouz explained to Vogue US. “For me design isn’t a mood, but a thought, a consideration,” he added.

His most recent collections built upon the designer’s famed reputation as a master of refined, understated style.

Taffeta and recycled polyester jostled for attention as fashion lovers took in an offering that was marked by voluminous trapeze-shaped sweeping evening gowns and billowing shirts.

Diaphanous fabrics worked to make the collection seem airy, while expert tailoring ensured it remained faithful to the house’s distinctive style.


Celebs remember late Tunisian designer at Alaia show in Paris

Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)
Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)
Updated 04 July 2022

Celebs remember late Tunisian designer at Alaia show in Paris

Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)

DUBAI: The who’s who of the fashion industry, including French model Tina Kunakey and Jordanian Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi, attended a runway presentation by Alaia on Sunday.

The label, founded by late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa, released a statement ahead of the ready-to-wear Spring 2023 show that explained why the latest offering is being marketed with the slogan “Rough and Real.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ALAÏA (@maisonalaia)

“Real – as creation should remain far from the likes, far from the screen. These clothes are meant to be worn, meant to be touched and felt. Raw and imperfect, to effect and affect,” a statement signed by creative director Pieter Mulier read.

Shown on the eve of couture week in Paris, Mulier’s third collection for the iconic fashion house took natural fabrics and elevated them into fashion statements. Entire cowhides were shaped into skirts and lengths of boiled cashmere were transformed into cocktail dresses worn with high-heeled fur booties in a line that was equal parts raw and chic.

“It’s about taking all the codes of Azzedine and explaining them to the young generation that don’t really know it,” the designer said backstage, according to WWD. “It’s basically empowering women in a different way than other brands can do,” he added.

The Belgian designer explained that he took many cues from one of Alaia’s 1984 collections, while one design was a replica of a 1992 creation by the Tunisian creative talent that never made it onto the runway.

The glittering front row added to the glamor at the event, with Kunakey joined by her husband, French actor Vincent Cassel, as well as Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, Karlie Kloss and Laura Harrier.

They took in the show in a gutted out space that is set to be a future Alaïa flagship store and offices.

Known to be a fan of the fashion house, Kunakey has showed off Alaia looks on a number of occasions, including in September 2020 when she attended a lavish Bulgari bash in Rome.

For the occasion she donned an elegant fuchsia-colored gown with a scooped, exposed back and a halter neckline. She elevated the look with a selection of sparkling Bulgari diamond rings and a serpent necklace.


Model Shanina Shaik kicks off wedding season in style

Model Shanina Shaik has starred in a number of fashion campaigns. (File/ Getty Images)
Model Shanina Shaik has starred in a number of fashion campaigns. (File/ Getty Images)
Updated 03 July 2022

Model Shanina Shaik kicks off wedding season in style

Model Shanina Shaik has starred in a number of fashion campaigns. (File/ Getty Images)

DUBAI: Part-Saudi model Shanina Shaik kicked off wedding season in style by attending the nuptials of fellow Victoria’s Secret model Nadine Leopold and tech entrepreneur Andrew Barclay.

The pair tied the knot at an undisclosed location and while Shaik respected the couple’s privacy and did not post shots of the wedding, she did take to Instagram to show off her wedding attire and shared a short video of fireworks at the reception.

Shaik opted for a cream-colored silk shirt that grazed her baby bump and captioned the photo of her outfit, which she shared on Instagram Stories, “bestie’s wedding.”

The growing baby bump is not news to Shaik’s 2.9 million Instagram followers, who learned of her pregnancy in May.

The catwalk star took to Instagram on Mother’s Day to share the happy news followers, posting three images of her bump with an extended caption in the form of a letter.

“To the new love of my life, thank you for choosing me to be your Mum. I have always wanted you for as long as I can remember, and at times my patience was tested. The timing had to be right, and I can say with confidence that I am ready to be your guide, your protector and your best friend,” she said.

The 31-year-old model, who is of Saudi, Pakistani, Lithuanian and Australian descent, is expecting the baby with her partner Matthew Adesuyan, the head of a record label in Los Angeles.

“As each month goes by during this precious journey of pregnancy, I am learning what the role of being a mother entails. I worry a lot, especially about your wellbeing and development. It’s a feeling that I’ve never experienced before, not even about myself. I would do anything for you, be anything for you and sacrifice anything for you,” she added.

She praised her own mother mentioning that she was raised by an “amazing woman” who taught her a lot about motherhood. “She has set the bar high and I don’t want to disappoint you. I want to raise you as she raised me.”

The mom-to-be ended the lengthy caption saying: “Sharing you with the world today is the most precious gift I could possibly receive on Mother’s Day. Mummy and Daddy can’t wait to meet you!”

Since sharing the news, Shaik has treated fans to regular updates about her pregnancy, including a post late last week that she captioned “baby kicked,” as well as her prenatal stretching tips and skincare routine.