Under The Abaya: Street Style from Saudi Arabia received amazing global recognition and interest and generated demand for another street-style book to be conceived, curated and edited by Mariam Mossalli. To the delight of fans, the seasoned Saudi fashion editor and entrepreneur is actually working on a second edition of the book, which can also help change the way the world views Saudi women.
Bigger and probably just as riveting, Under the Abaya: Saudi Women Who Inspire will be launching sometime in 2020. And according to the website dedicated to the books, it will “focus more on the persona and accomplishments of women wearing the abaya in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” The goal is to launch the book globally in partnership with some respected Saudi institutions that share the same vision on women empowerment. The much-anticipated book includes a foreward written by Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States of America and the first female envoy in the country’s history. Mossalli, a Jeddahwi, has started receiving loads of submissions already, and if you are interested in being part of its creation, you can contact [email protected].
Only a week after posting about the first book, Mossalli, who has also put pen to paper for a couple of other books, including Glamour Globals, received over 1,000 submissions from women. However, the first-of-its kind coffee book with a skillfully curated photography collection became much more than a documentation of the Kingdom’s mushrooming fashion scene. Under The Abaya: Street Style from Saudi Arabia, which was launched in 2018, became a platform for Saudi women to show the world how they want to be depicted in their own way.
“This book is not for locals; it’s for the outside world. We already know how we look and what we can achieve. We want others to know now,” explained Mossalli to The National newspaper while talking about her first endeavour. “We want the world to meet the progressive Saudi woman, who is fashionable, who is embedded in her heritage and fully confident with her own sense of cultural identity. We are as interesting as the changes that are currently happening in the country.”
Featuring photos of female fashion lovers who hail from different parts of Saudi Arabia, the book was described as “fashion’s Arab Spring and a “peephole into the Kingdom’s regional fashion scene.” While the book obviously featured all kinds of beautiful abayas, there was also a whole range of stylish pieces, from pantsuits and midi skirts to ripped denim and cool sneakers. And they all highlighted the modern Saudi woman’s risk-taking style and enigmatic personality.
Mossalli, who was born in Sri Lanka and lived in various places like Korea, Malaysia and Switzerland, crafted a career in journalism by establishing the “Life & Style” section in Arab News, a leading English daily in the Middle East. In 2011, the George Washington University graduate founded the Kingdom’s leading luxury communications consultancy, Niche Arabia. Mossalli, who also started the ShoesandDrama.com blog, is seen as a key player and ambassador when it comes to raising the international status of the Saudi Arabian fashion industry. For example, she was the only Arab professional invited to the Celebration of Design Gala in 2015, which was hosted by former First Lady Michelle Obama. Mossalli still has her fingers on the pulse of the journalism industry as a contributor to international fashion titles.