RIYADH: Saudi fashion designer Mohammed Al-Jishi is known for thinking outside the box when it comes to his futuristic cultural designs.
Al-Jishi is a self-taught fashion designer who uses his experience as an architect to create his own unique and eye-catching outfits that draw attention every time he attends a big event.
“My background in architecture influences my approaches in creating fashion garments, mostly focusing on innovation, and how clothing interacts with the human body and space. I tend to think way beyond the box, which results in creating these unique attires,” said Al-Jishi.
Ever since he was a child, he has always been interested in fashion, but due to gender stereotypes in Saudi Arabia, this was only a pipe dream.
“As a young boy, society always related fashion to girls generally, so I wasn’t even allowed to think that I had a shot in the industry.”
However, he believed that getting into architectural studies would open doors for him in other design areas including fashion.
“I made the decision that I am not going to let what others expect from me define who I am. I pursued fashion, I started reading about it, watching fashion shows over and over, it was something I could do without boredom.”
After enrolling in multiple classes to improve his fashion sense, he began creating outfits for himself.
“I moved from the Eastern Province to Riyadh because the chances were higher to prove what I’m capable of doing. I started participating in the big events that are happening in Riyadh and thankfully they were successful experiences.”
Al-Jishi drew media attention to himself during the Saudi Cup by donning a unique outfit, which he claimed was influenced by Al-Soudah mountains in Abha.
“I had a great time in the Aseer region, especially in the city of Al-Soudah, which is famous for its beautiful views and mountains, known as the ‘City of Clouds’ due to its high mountain terrain. It was a great experience, there was one thing missing, that was wings, so I added wings to my outfit which were inspired by the traditional way of wearing the Masnaf. I hope that in the future it will be possible to fly above the clouds in the Abha to enjoy the maximum experience of its beauty,” Al-Jishi told Arab News.
He continued: “Therefore, I used traditional southern attire as a reference for the design and developed a way of wearing them in a futuristic, modern style in line with this year’s theme, the past and the future, In other words, heritage in the future.”
At the last Saudi Cup 2023, Al-Jishi wore a look that he imagined Saudi Arabia’s future city-dwellers might wear. He began to envision the traditional Saudi attire being elevated, and the result was an outfit inspired by the thobe, the mohazam, and the bisht. They have been redesigned to honor Saudi Arabia’s history and to demonstrate how quickly the country is developing.
“My design represents a creation that is traditional but modernized in a futuristic perspective,” said Al-Jishi.
He wore a satin black outfit during Riyadh Fashion Week, representing the black oil that the Kingdom is famous for.
“In this design, oil was used as a reference for inspiration to express its importance and impact on the Kingdom’s economy. Shiny organza fabric was used to symbolize oil and its luster and fluidity. Additionally, a golden belt made of iron was incorporated into the design to add an industrial touch, symbolizing oil as the black gold,” Al-Jishi said.
As for the silhouette, it is a sophisticated dramatic narrative inspired by the thobe chosen to represent and celebrate fashion from the region of the first Saudi state.
Al-Jishi approached the fashion industry with the goal of making a unique piece, which he saw as a challenge.
His attitude to fashion design is influenced by his architectural experience, producing clothes that are not only physically arresting but also take into account the human shape and how it interacts with its surroundings.
“I was initially trained to conceptualize and design buildings, the architecture brings a unique understanding of form and space to their new endeavor. The main approach is to think conceptually and tell a narrative through design that adds depth and meaning to the garment, not just something that looks good,” he said.
“All these designs are the beginning of what is coming,” Al-Jishi added.
He draws inspiration from the Kingdom’s past and portrays it in a futuristic way, which makes his creations stand out. He is now developing his own clothing line.