January 23, 2019 03:53 PM | by Jennifer Barreto-Leyva
Khawla Alharbi: The New Face of Saudi Fashion
It is not every day that get the chance to talk with a fashion designer, on the top of that, a fashion designer that's your friend and loves her job. I had the opportunity to have a conversation with the Saudi fashion designer Khawla Alharbi. We talked about her plans, her most recent collection, feminism and a lot more.
When did you decide to become a fashion designer? How was the process?
Being a fashion designer was a dream from a young age and having my mother who is a brilliant dressmaker helped a lot in shaping me. It gave me the opportunity to see fashion beyond runways, magazines and stores. I saw the other side that I wanted to be a part of, by creating my own designs and fresh methods, which wasn't always the couture way. So I was faced with some "No's". At that time I was already in too deep and extremely excited to explore more, which clearly meant enrolling in fashion schools and I was lucky to have amazing mentors at the art and skills institute in Riyadh. They were very passionate teachers and taught some important lessons, one of them was to always learn and always be curious.
It is not very common to hear about female Saudi fashion designers. How is this a challenge for you? How do you embrace your culture through your designs?
Yes it’s a challenge. The international markets require certain standards which I hope to face organically with growth. As for representing Saudi heritage, I try not to focus mainly on it. It’s very much a part of what I am but I aspire to relate to females from different backgrounds as well.
What is your inspiration to design?
Mostly from art and people.
Do you believe that fashion should be for everyone? Would you consider designing for plus size women in the future?
Yes definitely, fashion should represent this era and the people in this era with all their differences and beauty. It’s shouldn't be restricted to a certain group and I hope to translate that through my brand.
You recently were a part of an event in Saudi Arabia that has to do with Saudi Arabia Fashion Week. Can you please share with us what it was about?
It was a trunk show. I was a part of the Saudi top emerging designers program, presented by her Highness Princess Noura Bint Faisal Al-Saud, founder of The Global Fashion House.
What type of fabrics do you prefer to use? Which ones are your favorites?
I don't have a constant favorite. I'm more seasonal and this season I'm into silk-velvet and suede.
What is the theme of the collection you just presented?
A night in the desert with a futuristic twist.
There is a lot going on with feminism and women empowerment worldwide. Your region is not an exception. Are you a part of this? What are your thoughts?
Empowerment is always a positive move for society to take; personally I consider it as a main step for all communities toward developing.
And finally, what does the future hold for you as a designer?
I’m planning on continuing my studies in New York City.
Image Credits: Instagram @khawla.s.alharbi
Interviewer: Instagram @jenniferbarretoleyva
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