JEDDAH: The rise of the fashion industry in Saudi Arabia can be attributed, at least in part, to the Kingdom’s rising designers and models, many of whom are working hard to gain recognition internationally.
The fashion industry in the Kingdom is striving to be more inclusive and diverse, specifically in menswear. From smart outfits to jewelry, men are catching up to women and hopping on the fashion bandwagon, with social media, celebrities, fashion blogs and brands all influencing consumer behavior trends.
Munif Al-Shammari, one talented young Saudi fashion designer, is breaking with stereotypes and encouraging individuals to embrace themselves in their own way.
“I firmly believe fashion is genderless, and has the power to make our bodies socially noticeable and reasonable,” he said. “My style is contemporary; I choose the fabric and design the way I want. Fashion, for me, is like a gateway.”
I firmly believe fashion is genderless, and has the power to make our bodies socially noticeable and reasonable. My style is contemporary; I choose the fabric and design the way I want. Fashion, for me, is like a gateway.
Al-Shammari launched his own label, MNF, in 2019, which gained a lot of popularity in the Saudi market.
“I started off with (a collection of) six designs combined with simplicity and elegance, which was sold out within 10 days. This encouraged me to invest more in myself and my brand,” he said. “In the year 2021, I got nominated to participate in the 100 Saudi Brands Program, the first fashion exhibition organized by the Saudi Fashion Commission, which generated a great opportunity for everyone in the fashion industry.”
Being a self-taught designer, Al-Shammari works on creating new design and style that can really stand out. His creations are usually influenced by his birth city, Hail, and its diverse nature that is streamlined into his clothing pieces representing peacefulness and power at the same time.
The fabric incorporated into his designs is not something usually worn or used by men in Saudi Arabia. “I combine my expertise with how the world is evolving nowadays … in terms of freedom of expression, individual empowerment and gender equality, to create a fashion solution and empower both men and women through my designs and help them look elegant and stylish for every occasion.”
Although not a professional model, Al-Shammari considers it a side hobby, and started modeling in 2017. For him, modeling is not just posing or taking good-looking pictures, but more about self-expression.
“Through clothes, I learned how to express myself as if it was a language. This enabled me to empower myself to become the strong person I am.”
To the upcoming generation of young designers, Al-Shammari strongly recommends they never give up on their dreams, follow their passion and find their own touch within it. The fashion industry requires time, effort, accuracy, commitment and never quitting or giving up.
“As a form of self-expression, fashion can make you and others feel empowered. Most importantly, it is essential to humbly accept criticism and make the best out of it,” he said. “As long as you believe you can do it then work hard to do your best at it. Have positive thinking and surround yourself with supportive people.”