Saudi designers stitch tradition and modernity

The concept of Bashayer Al-Qounaibet’s ramadan collection is ‘azimah,’ which translates to ‘invitation’ in Arabic, as the holy month is a time for get togethers and invitations. (Supplied)
The concept of Bashayer Al-Qounaibet’s ramadan collection is ‘azimah,’ which translates to ‘invitation’ in Arabic, as the holy month is a time for get togethers and invitations. (Supplied)
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Updated 30 March 2024
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Saudi designers stitch tradition and modernity

Saudi designers stitch tradition and modernity
  • Ramadan gives opportunity to add Arab touch to fashion industry, designers say

RIYADH: The month of Ramadan, with all its social gatherings, is a time for Saudis to update their wardrobes with traditional and contemporary fits for iftar and sahoor events.

Many abaya designers seize the opportunity to produce collections for Ramadan which they showcase on social media or at bazaars. Abaya fashion designer Jana Khojah created a collection of clothing for people aged 45 to 60 in an effort to broaden her brand’s appeal.




Jana Khojah’s handmade bags for her brand’s ramadan collection. (Supplied)

“We wanted our work to be all handmade with Ramadan pieces, and, of course, we used Swarovski for all our collections. This year we designed handmade bags to suit the atmosphere of Eid and Ramadan,” Khojah told Arab News.

The designer said that her sales surge by up to 90 percent during Ramadan and Eid, and that some items sell out fast.




Ghaim Collection, the Saudi designer brand, always ensures that their Ramadan collection is unique and original to symbolize Arab culture and identity, as well. (Supplied)

Sahar Seen, another designer, said that her collection’s unique selling point is that it reflects the “grace and sophistication” of Saudi women’s fashion.

“This year is special for me because it’s my first time participating in Ramadan after a 12-year break and pursuing my passion for design and fashion,” she added.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Designers are experimenting with colors and designs of the jalabiya due to the demand for the traditional garment, a popular and comfortable clothing item for Ramadan.

• Saudi designer Sahar Seen says that her collection’s unique selling point is that it reflects the ‘grace and sophistication’ of Saudi women’s fashion.

• Ghaim Collection, designed by Saudis, launched a Ramadan collection that symbolizes local identity and Arab civilization.

Designers are also experimenting with colors and designs of the jalabiya due to the demand for the traditional garment, a popular and comfortable clothing item for Ramadan.




Abaya designer Sahar Seen says the collection's unique selling point is that it represents Saudi women's fashion as a model for the world. (Supplied)

The concept of Bashayer Al-Qounaibet’s Ramadan collection is “azimah,” which translates to “invitation” in Arabic, as the holy month is a time for get-togethers and invitations.

The classical designs prioritize sustainability, and Al-Qounaibet places a high value on the fabric and stitching used in each piece. Additionally, because each piece is made to order, there are no set sizes for her creations.




Abaya designer Sahar Seen says the collection's unique selling point is that it represents Saudi women's fashion as a model for the world. (Supplied)

“The pieces are suitable for the Saudi client and can be worn over and over without the fear of losing the trend because the pieces are timeless and they are modest.”

Ghada Al-Nuaman’s collection for Ramadan this year includes a trouser jalabiya, a dress and a skirt, to deviate from the traditional style of the garment. It is made in a variety of colors and from fabrics such as Indian linen, silk, cotton and tulle.




Ghada Al-Nuaman's Ramadan 2024 collection stood out for its different designs, which included the trouser Jalabiya, the dress, and the skirt, which deviated from the traditional Jalabiya, as well as a variety of fabrics and colors (Indian lenin, silk, cotton, and tulle). (Supplied)

“Our goal is to provide an ideal product that increases the elegance of Saudi and Gulf women,” said Al-Nuaman.

“The Ramadan collection is different from the rest of the year, because Gulf women focus on wearing jalabiyas during the month of Ramadan, and now with the increasing number of female designers, it requires me as a designer to provide the best product in terms of quality and elegance of design, and this in turn creates my identity,” she added.




Abaya designer Sahar Seen says the collection's unique selling point is that it represents Saudi women's fashion as a model for the world. (Supplied)

Although there are many designers around the Gulf region, there has been a rise in Saudi female designers, Al-Nuaman said: “The Fashion Commission’s support for Saudi female designers by holding Ramadan exhibitions and allowing us to participate has contributed to the emergence of the Saudi designer and getting to know her more.”

Ghaim Collection, designed by Saudis, launched a Ramadan collection that symbolizes local identity and Arab civilization.

Stitch Label, a Saudi brand known for its creativity in stitching, created a collection called Gharza that features elegant designs that reflect the elevated style of Arab women.

“The month of Ramadan witnesses many social occasions, such as iftar, ghabgas and social visits which require special clothing appropriate to these occasions,” said Sara and Muneera Al-Yumna, the owners of the brand.

“Ramadan is an important month for us as Muslims and Arabs, and it has a special character. Launching special collections for the month of Ramadan is an opportunity to express creativity and add Arab touches that leave a positive impact on the local fashion industry, and enhance its position in the global market,” they added.

The Fashion Commission is eager to promote traditional clothing by organizing several events all year long and unique bazaars during Ramadan, like the Tashkeela exhibition.

 


Saudi ambassador presents credentials to Egypt's president

Saleh bin Eid Al-Hosseini presents his credentials as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Egypt. (SPA)
Saleh bin Eid Al-Hosseini presents his credentials as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Egypt. (SPA)
Updated 15 July 2024
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Saudi ambassador presents credentials to Egypt's president

Saleh bin Eid Al-Hosseini presents his credentials as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Egypt. (SPA)
  • Al-Husseini was warmly welcomed by El-Sisi and wished him well in his role as ambassador

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Egypt Saleh bin Eid Al-Hosseini presented his credentials to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Sunday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The ambassador conveyed the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and their wishes for continued progress and prosperity for the Egyptian people.

Al-Husseini was warmly welcomed by El-Sisi and wished him well in his role as ambassador.

El-Sisi asked the ambassador to extend his greetings to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, wishing them continued prosperity and progress.

 


Zest for life: Disabled Saudi artist finds expression in his work

Rakan Kurdi’s paintings have won acclaim from across the country and abroad. (Supplied)
Rakan Kurdi’s paintings have won acclaim from across the country and abroad. (Supplied)
Updated 14 July 2024
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Zest for life: Disabled Saudi artist finds expression in his work

Rakan Kurdi’s paintings have won acclaim from across the country and abroad. (Supplied)
  • Saudi Rakan Kurdi will not let his genetic condition affect his desire to create

JEDDAH: Meet Rakan Kurdi, a Saudi artist who was born with spinal muscular atrophy and is determined to navigate life, and explore art, on his own terms.

Kurdi’s journey with paints and brushes began at a young age when he joined the Children with Disability Association, a specialized school for people with disabilities in Jeddah.

He is now one of the coastal city’s most popular artists, selling works and winning many prizes.

Rakan Kurdi’s portraits of Saudi royals has earned him viral recognition on social media. (Supplied)

A graphic designer and motivational speaker in addition to his art, Kurdi spoke to Arab News about his life.

An enthusiast from childhood, he was encouraged by his teacher’s words when she told him at the age of 8: “I can see an artist in you. You must work on your talent, learn more at home and keep practicing to develop your skills.”

Speaking about the challenges he faced in school, he said: “My parents decided to enroll me in a regular school in order to associate with regular kids. Unfortunately it did not work right for me because kids at school bullied me and were making fun of me all the time. That’s why I couldn’t pursue my studies.

I am an artist; that’s how I see myself. I don’t want people to like my paintings because of my physical condition.

Rakan Kurdi, Saudi artist

“My greatest strength and source of motivation through all this has been my parents. They never let me feel that I lacked anything.”

After leaving school after the fifth grade, Kurdi dedicated himself to his love for painting, eventually realizing that it was his true calling.

Working from his studio, Kurdi is well on his way to becoming a big name in the region’s art world. (Supplied)

Working from his studio, Kurdi is well on his way to becoming a big name in the region’s art world.

But creating artwork is no easy task for the 32-year-old, who was born with a neuromuscular genetic disorder that left him paralyzed.

However, it has not dampened his creativity. Kurdi has been painting since the age of 8, with his works being showcased in local group exhibitions.

Rakan Kurdi, Saudi artist

He said: “I am an artist; that’s how I see myself. I don’t want people to like my paintings because of my physical condition. I would like to know that my work is self-standing and impressive, regardless of the capabilities of its artist.”

Kurdi continues to live life with an ever-present smile, despite his challenges.

He added: “I have never thought my disability was an obstacle to my dream. Since I stopped going to school, I (have) just continued doing art, participated in various local exhibitions, started to sell my portraits nationally and internationally, and most importantly got married. I am so happy with my life.”

Portraits of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the late King Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Sheikh Zayed, celebrated Saudi singer Mohammed Abdo, and the late Talal Maddah helped to get Kurdi noticed.

He admits that the biggest project of his career was creating 80 by 110 cm oil paintings of the king and crown prince. His subsequent post on social media received more than 1 million views in less than 19 hours.

He said: “Definitely they are my most expensive and most important portraits.

“I also dedicated a special portrait to Prince Turki bin Salman, who really liked my work and decided to hang it on the wall of the Royal Palace in Jeddah.”

Kurdi’s paintings have won acclaim from across the country and abroad, with commissions ranging from about SR10,000 ($2,666) to SR250,000, depending on the size of the work.

Inspired by the work of Leonardo da Vinci, he said: “We both belong to the same school of art.

“Despite my disability, it’s not difficult to make a realistic painting.”

Social media has proved an important tool to promote his work. He has about 500,000 followers across Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, and says he receives his orders via the platforms.

With many projects in the pipeline, Kurdi’s hands are full.

He is also continuing his work as a motivational speaker, and added: “(I) just want to inspire everyone to identify and follow their dreams, no matter the obstacles.”

Now that his work has earned recognition in the Kingdom and other Gulf Cooperation Council states, Kurdi hopes to showcase his work in London or Paris.

“It is my dream to showcase my work internationally,” he said.

 

 


Women in Tabuk eager to take the reins

Women in Tabuk eager to take the reins
Updated 14 July 2024
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Women in Tabuk eager to take the reins

Women in Tabuk eager to take the reins
  • Al-Talbi is encouraging more women to embrace equestrianism, highlighting benefits that extend beyond physical health and enhance psychological and mental well-being

RIYADH: With the resurgence of equestrian sports in the Kingdom, Saudi women in Tabuk are reconnecting with their heritage and taking the reins with skill and passion.

In a recent interview, equestrian Arwa Al-Talbi spoke to the Saudi Press Agency about the beginnings of her journey into the world of horses.

“My relationship with horses began five years ago when I read about the psychological philosophy of equestrianism, which inspired me to learn to ride,” Al-Talbi said

Saudi Vision 2030 has ushered in a new era for women’s sports, enabling them to pursue various sports, with equestrianism a standout. (SPA)

She said that equestrianism is not just a physical activity, and that there is a spiritual and mental connection inherent in one of the oldest sports known to humanity.

“My journey into the world of horses started thanks to God and the wise leadership’s support for equestrianism and the empowerment of women in various sports,” Al-Talbi added. Her love for horses and skill as a horse rider has led to her becoming an accomplished show jumper and free rider.

She is learning the sport of tent pegging, which is a “test of a rider’s skills due to its historical ties to ancient warfare.”

FASTFACTS

• The Tabuk region is currently hosting a foundation training course for the sport of preliminary tent pegging, organized by the Saudi Equestrian Federation.

• The 15-day course, held at the Al-Thunayanh stable, has attracted about 30 riders of various ages, both male and female.

Al-Talbi is encouraging more women to embrace equestrianism, highlighting benefits that extend beyond physical health and enhance psychological and mental well-being.

Another female rider, Ohoud Al-Majzoub, said her deep connection with horses is rooted in her pride in her Arab identity and a lifelong passion that began in childhood. She followed her dream of becoming an equestrian by training to acquire all the necessary skills.

Now she excels not only in free riding but also in show jumping, a discipline that demands navigating a series of obstacles, from simple vertical heights to intricate courses. Her journey is testament to her unique and distinctive sporting creativity.

In the SPA report, equestrians Raghad Mahmoud and Heba Al-Fares said that their childhood dreams of horse riding were once just hopes, because of the lack of clubs. However, Saudi Vision 2030 has ushered in a new era for women’s sports, enabling them to pursue various sports, with equestrianism a standout.

They have since learned to ride and excel in show jumping and free riding and said the availability of such sports and the establishment of dedicated clubs will ignite the passion of many women, whether in equestrianism or other sports.

Noting the growing interest in equestrian sports among women in the Tabuk region, Nasser Al-Nasser, who owns stables in the area, confirmed to SPA that there is a year-round increase in demand for the sport.

Women’s interest in the sport led him to open a special track for women with a focus on show jumping and with female trainers on hand. He added that, despite its long history in the region, equestrianism is now seen as a modern sport that has captivated young men and women alike. In Saudi culture, he said, it symbolizes courage, pride, beauty, strength, heroism and authenticity.

The sport also enhances self-confidence, teaches patience and endurance, and provides numerous psychological and physical benefits to its enthusiasts, he added.

The Tabuk region is currently hosting a foundation training course for the sport of preliminary tent pegging, organized by the Saudi Equestrian Federation. The 15-day course, held at the Al-Thunayanh stable, has attracted about 30 riders of various ages, both male and female.

The training course aims to promote the sport in Saudi society and encourage its practice among horse riding enthusiasts regardless of gender, the SPA said in its report.

The course includes a theoretical part that educates participants on the key regulations and laws of tent pegging. The practical part focuses on training techniques and skills in using spears and swords in various approved competitions.

Participants who complete the training will be awarded certificates by the federation in collaboration with the Leaders Development Institute.

 


Masam 7 continues Saudi Arabia’s support of Yemeni people

Ousama Al-Gosaibi. (Supplied)
Ousama Al-Gosaibi. (Supplied)
Updated 14 July 2024
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Masam 7 continues Saudi Arabia’s support of Yemeni people

Ousama Al-Gosaibi. (Supplied)
  • Al-Gosaibi said the project’s work strategy was built on strong foundations after extensive studies of the nature of the threat posed by mines of all kinds, in addition to Yemen’s complex terrain that requires concerted human and material efforts

RIYADH: The head of Saudi Arabia’s Project Masam, Ousama Al-Gosaibi, thanked and praised the Saudi leadership for the help and support provided to Yemen to eliminate the threat of mines and explosives.

As the Saudi aid agency KSrelief extends Masam’s contract for landmine clearance in Yemen for the seventh consecutive year, Al-Gosaibi said in a press statement that the project succeeded during the past six years in carrying out its humanitarian operations on Yemeni territory, achieving high performance rates in all its field operations.

He said this is considered a significant achievement based on international standards, with the total clearances between the project’s first day and the end of last week totalled 450,919 mines, unexploded ordnance and explosive devices.

Al-Gosaibi said the project’s work strategy was built on strong foundations after extensive studies of the nature of the threat posed by mines of all kinds, in addition to Yemen’s complex terrain that requires concerted human and material efforts.

He added that the project also took into consideration the ongoing military operations, planting of mines, and booby-trapping of land and civilian installations with all kinds of explosives by the Houthi militias.

He said the seventh year will be a continuation of what the project started in mid-2018, with a focus on localized work by intensifying training and logistical support.

 


Saudi National Water Co. implements 14 projects in Qassim

Saudi National Water Co. implements 14 projects in Qassim
Updated 14 July 2024
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Saudi National Water Co. implements 14 projects in Qassim

Saudi National Water Co. implements 14 projects in Qassim
  • The company explained that the environmental projects being implemented in the region include seven projects, with a total value of approximately SR283 million

RIYADH: The National Water Co., represented by its northern sector, has begun implementing 14 water and environmental projects in various parts of the Qassim region, with a total cost exceeding SR561 million ($149.56 million).

This aims to increase the coverage rates of water and environmental services, improve their quality, and meet the growing demand for these services.

The company explained that the environmental projects being implemented in the region include seven projects, with a total value of approximately SR283 million, featuring sewage lines and networks extending over 329,000 linear meters, in addition to the construction of a lifting station with a capacity of 1,350 cubic meters per day.

It further stated that the water projects currently being executed in Qassim also encompass seven projects with a total value exceeding SR278 million. These projects involve network and line extensions surpassing 833,000 linear meters, along with the implementation of the waterway system for the Al-Mukharram and Umm Hazm wells.