Nora Aldamer loves a challenge and after discovering a niche in the market, she faced one head on with her sartorial mission of injecting modern cuts while respecting traditional Arabic codes.
The Saudi designer's SS18 collection is available through Moda Operandi’s trunkshow, which is showcasing some of the best up-and-coming talents from the Middle East. Inspired by desert sand dunes, the collection features bright colours and a strong feminine feel that is palpable in the design, silhouettes and light and crisp fabrics.
We have a one-to-one with the Parsons School of Design graduate about her fun collection, how growing up in Riyadh has shaped her designs and getting international exposure.
Tell us what it was like to grow up in Riyadh.
Growing up in Riyadh in the 80’s was a great opportunity. We had an economical boom in Saudi Arabia at that time, and I was one of the lucky ones to have been born in such a society.
How do you think it has affected your design ethos?
It made me have higher standards when it comes to selecting fabrics and garment finishes, plus it gave me the ability to apply trends to traditional designs. It also gave me a sense of balance between creativity and wear ability.
Which kinds of details help give your abayas and dresses a modern twist?
I enjoy seeing modern women wearing what is considered a traditional garment. I always try to introduce modern shapes and silhouettes. Modern cuts make my creations different and unique while respecting the traditional codes.
So you aim to stay true to your Arab roots too. Is it difficult to blend modern and traditional?
It’s a fascinating challenge to appeal to fashionable clients and their daily habits, however globalisation and social media ease the gap between tradition and modern styles and being from Saudi Arabia makes it easier to understand the mix.
The desert inspired your SS18 collection, with colours like yellows, corals, reds and pinks to represent sand dunes and the desert sun. Do you often go to the desert for some downtime?
My family and I spend holidays in the desert almost every year. So I’m always influenced by my surroundings. We enjoy the quiet time and escape the city, I always find myself at peace in the desert.
Femininity and fun also take centre stage in the collection. Tell us about the embellishments, silhouettes and fabrics.
Summer is all about fun and colour, that’s why I used colourful and modern embellishments. The shapes are feminine and flatter every woman’s body shape; I also keep in mind that the pieces need to be comfortable. The fabrics used in this collection are light, flowy, sheer and crisp. They are suitable for the summer climate.
How did it feel to win the Saudi Talents Scouting organised by “Vogue Italia?”
Italians are the world leaders in the industry of fashion and being recognised by them means a lot to me as a designer. Being discovered and supported by Franca Sozzani (the late iconic Editor-in-Chief of “Vogue Italia”) is a permanent inspiration to my creativity.
Moda Operandi’s trunkshow must be another great opportunity to garner international exposure.
Moda Operandi is a trendsetter in the online retail fashion business. That is why I believe this opportunity is a perfect match between international vision and the Middle Eastern lifestyle.