Fashion, as singular and subjective as it can be, is also at the same time, a diverse and all-encompassing umbrella. That is its beauty, the very quality of uniqueness in a universe of infinite possibilities.
The goldmine of Middle Eastern talent is out there, flaunting originality and flair with a potency that is strong enough for it to explode all over the world. For decades, Arab fashion designers have brought their fashion A-game to the runways in New York, Paris and Milan, putting the Arab World on the global map.
Of course, the present is no different. Showcasing Arab culture through the truest medium of freedom of expression, established and upcoming designers have dominated the international platform and proudly strutted into the big leagues. From dressing A-list celebrities to debuting in the fashion weeks, they’re doing it all.
We all know Ellie Saab and Zuhair Murad, designers with a fashion footprint that speaks for itself. Murad, born and bred in Lebanon has designed for the likes of Adele, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Priyanka Chopra and Christina Aguilera, to name a very, very few. He’s dressed everyone in Hollywood and his haute couture collections are a sight to behold.
Ellie Saab, another Lebanese export, was the first Arab to be admitted into Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, a smaller trade association part of the French fashion industry’s governing body and the first non-Italian member of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion.
His list of celebrity clientele is just as impressive, if not more, as Murad’s. A shot into international acclaim came through when Oscar winner Halle Berry sported his creation and he transitioned from bridal couture to ready-to-wear. Saab has dressed the royals of Monaco and England, with the royal fashion icon Kate Middleton herself wearing his piece.
Abed Mehfouz, fellow Lebanese, started dabbling in bridal couture by opening a bridal boutique with his sister in his hometown of Beirut. With an official launch on the Alta Roma Fashion Week runway in Rome, Italy in October of 2002 and a ready-to-wear collection displayed during New York Fashion Week in 2010, Mehfouz has big claims to his name. Big names like Selena Gomez, Lindsay Lohan, Carrie Underwood and Irina Shayk have donned his creations.
A female force to be reckoned with is Farida Temraz, founder of the brand Temraza. She hails from Egypt but she’s shown what she’s got all over the world, including London, Paris, Los Angeles, Dubai, Kuwait, Beirut, Amsterdam, New York, and Copenhagen, the cosmopolitan crown jewels of the fashion world. She runs a fashion academy and is credited with putting Egypt on the global fashion scene.
Noon by Noor, Reemami and Mrs Keepa are up and coming names that are soon to compete with the big and the bold of fashion.
Reema Al Banna, founder of Reemami, is spearheading the UAE’s contemporary fashion narrative while Mariam Yeya, founder and creative director of Mrs Keepa has already made a splash in Paris during Fashion Week.
It’s safe to say the future of fashion in the Arab World lies in good hands.