With her urban-tailored suits and statement T-shirts popping up in publications like Vogue, The New York Times and Marie Claire and spotted on street style stars across the world, Arwa Al-Banawi doesn’t need much of an introduction anymore. And the Saudi fashion designer recently showed why she continues to be a prime example of the region’s stellar talent at Fashion Forward Dubai October Edition 2019.
During the successful homegrown four-day fashion extravaganza, which took place in Dubai Design District, Dubai-based Al-Banawi ensured to keep attendees engaged, whether it was the pieces from her SS20 collection or the surprise appearances on the runway. As well as getting UAE-based singer Layla Kardan to open the show, the designer who stands for empowering women and exporting culture through her brand had Saudi model Shahad Salman light up the runway in a chic look.
While Al-Banawi was born and raised in Jeddah, she also spent a large part of her childhood between Germany and Switzerland, leading to travel becoming a major inspiration. And her latest collection, called A’la Safar, ticks on important subjects around taking trips, like travel mode and movement.
“As travel reminds me of moving on, of reflection on life and letting go, that is symbolic to women empowerment as I always live to highlight strong women in my collection to remind them of their worth and their strength therefore the travel story is my main inspiration in this collection,” the designer who is known for her subtly androgynous yet undoubtedly feminine silhouettes, said.
The collection is also inspired by the psychedelic hues that were prominent in the 70s and Andy Warhol’s boldly coloured art pieces. The reflecting colour palette includes blue, orange and black, but also tones down to softer pastel tones like yellow, baby blue, purple and faded tie-dye.
There are boxy suits with utility pockets and loose baggy pants in the collection. Plus, there’s a range of functional trench coats, available in a range of pop colours, while peak lapels, cropped pieces and big exaggerated shoulder pads reflect the 70s era with a nod to futurism.
T-shirts come with statements like “Women,” with the WE and WON highlighted, “Let’s go on a trip together” and “Baby Bye!” Then there are the airport codes from around the world that reflect independence and its relation to travel, to make decisions and keep moving.
As usual, Al-Banawi, who has starred in Generation M.E, has opted to use a wide range of functional fabrics in the collection. These include polyamide, silk, cotton and viscose, which are the perfect choice for the woman on the go.
ABOUT ARWA AL-BANAWI
Before launching her urban-luxury ready-to-wear brand in 2015, Arwa Al-Banawi joined the fashion world as a fashion and lifestyle blogger in Jeddah, her hometown. The former investment banker studied at the London College of Fashion in Dubai after she saw a void in the market for womenswear that is suitable for the professional female who is looking to be stylish while on the go. Known for blending traditional-classical tailoring with contemporary ”East meets West perspectives,” Al-Banawi won Best Regional Designer at the 12th annual Grazia Style Awards and received a Future Stars Award during the Arabian Business Achievement Awards 2018.