Marriam Mossalli, marriam [email protected]
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2011-08-03 19:34

“We feel it’s our duty to help promote local, tender businesses,” stated Ayman Jamal, president of JYBC. “We were able to contact Al-Sawani and get them on board with this initiative.”
Al-Sawani commits their third floor back room, as well as their retail cashier system, at no cost to the event as a way to assist aspiring lifestyle designers in the Kingdom.
“The second time around, things are always better,” stated Iman Attar of Iman Attar Events referring to the event’s obvious progression from its initial launch.
“The first time it was hard to find talent to fill the 10 designer slots and we ended up only showcasing eight. Fortunately, this time we were able to fill the slots pretty quickly.”
The current issue now is filtering the application pool for quality and uniqueness in a country saturated with abaya “designers.”
As the mastermind behind the execution of the bi-monthly event, Attar is involved in every detail, from designer selection to overall theme.
“Since this STITCH is occurring over Ramadan, I wanted to make it special — take it up a notch,” she revealed. “We decided to do have a very traditional motifs, from the designers’ names painted in gold Arabic calligraphy, to the subha (prayer beads).”
The rich colors of black and gold created a mature and elegant ambiance that reflected a refinement of artistic aesthetic. In addition to the designers, Attar involved local artistic talent, collaborating with calligraphist, Mohammed Ghulman, Photopia’s Abdullah Kurdi and veteran Saudi artist Ibtisaam Refai.
Fashion entrepreneur, Muna Abusulayman showed her support for the emerging talent with an appearance at the event’s launch. Jeddah’s young creatives were also in attendance thanks to Design’s network. The only main critique of the initiative would be the price points of the items being sold. Albeit, Al-Sawani is known to cater to the privileged fashionista, the designers are still emerging and many have many kinks to work out in terms of the execution (and sometimes, even design) of the product.
With clothing items ranging from SR1,200 to SR2,800, and accessories ranging from SR350 to SR1,500, many of the high school and college-aged supporters who often attend such events are unable to — or even unwilling to — part with the greater part of their allowances. With Al-Sawani providing a free venue, JYBC’s belief in social responsibility, and the clear fact that most of the items are locally manufactured, it’s puzzling to see such elevated prices on emerging designer labels. 
Yet this critique in no way means that the event is not worth attending. On the contrary, the passion of the designers should still be commended and their efforts praised. The event is a great opportunity to showcase local talent while reflecting an artistic insurgence of Saudi creatives who have revolted against the traditional societal roles. To be a designer in Saudi is no longer taboo. In fact, it is now rather common. Perhaps, the greatest asset of STITCH will be its ability to instigate a dialogue among these designers and the local fashion scene, thereby, helping each other solve some of those “kinks” that come solely from lack of experience.
The following designers participated in this edition of STITCH: Ghassan Al-Oshban, t-shirt designer; Lutfia Momena, baby wear designer; Maha Shuwail, thobe and abaya designer; Mariam Polding, jewelry designer; Samah Khashoggi, abaya designer; Suad Al-Zamil, thobe designer; Rajaa Al-Fassi, thobe, abaya and jewelry designer; Rana Al-Dabbag, thobe, abaya and subha designer; Rawan Azhar, abaya designer; Wujain Sirwi, thobe, abaya and dress designer.  
STITCH will run through Sept. 27 at Al-Sawani department store in Red Sea Mall. 

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