'Driving Jacket' by Saudi Arabia's Hindamme goes on display at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

It's the first piece by a Saudi designer that's been purchased for the museum's permanent collection

Bomber jackets marked with the date women were allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, by Hindamme.
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Driving Jacket, a piece by Saudi Arabian fashion designer Mohammed Khoja, is now part of a new exhibition at the storied Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England.

Created in 2018, to mark the day women were allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, the satin bomber jacket is embroidered with the significant date of June 24 in both Arabic and English. It quickly sold out.

It was made in green and black – the colours of the kingdom’s flag – also featuring gold and black embroidery, and was designed to be unisex. It even has historic-looking medals down the sleeves, in a nod to the rule of King Saud.

The Victoria & Albert Museum has bought a version in green for its permanent collection.

Design 1900 to Now installation shots , 16th June 2021

The jacket has also gone on show as part of the museum's Design 1900 – Now exhibition, which examines 200 years of fashion and design.

With 250 objects from the museum’s unique collection, the exhibition looks at how clothes and objects reflect and shape culture, from the Apple iPhone to the Benetton posters of the early 1990s via a pair of 2015 Adidas sneakers made from ghost fishing nets.

Design 1900 to Now installation shots , 16th June 2021

With its strong social statement, Hindamme's jacket is a natural fit for the show, and is now housed in a cabinet alongside a pair of shoes by Christian Louboutin and the 2015 Selfish book of selfies by Kim Kardashian.

Other exhibits include the Mae West Lips sofa designed by Salvador Dali and a smoker’s cabinet by the Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The jacket is the first piece by a Saudi designer to be purchased for the museum’s collection, and now joins its priceless array of gowns from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, as well as important pieces from the 20th century, including post-war haute couture by the likes of Christian Dior and Balenciaga.

Jory Al Maimam is a lifestyle blogger, who starred in the women driving campaign of Saudi streetwear brand,  Hindamme. Her distinct look and local appeal is a true testament to the diverse faces of Saudi women. Photo by Ekleel Al Faris / courtesy of Hindamme

Khoja says it is a "great honour" to have his work form part of the museum's permanent collection.

"I've always viewed the V&A as truly a beacon of world culture that houses so many of the historic design and art pieces I've studied and admired," he tells The National.

"Knowing that one of my works is now a part of that history gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. I'm also proud that Saudi talent can form part of an international narrative.

"There is enormous talent in the kingdom, both emerging and established, and I’m very excited for what’s to come. Being in Saudi Arabia at the moment very much feels like being part of a cultural renaissance which I am truly proud to be able to contribute to."

In addition to the V&A, the Driving Jacket was also purchased by the National Museum for World Cultures in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for its permanent collection.

Khoja founded his fashion label in 2016 and last year created a successful co-ed collection based on the beauty of Al Ula.

The brand's name celebrates Middle Eastern culture, as "hindamme" is an old Arabic word for being well-dressed.

"I feel I am able to start bringing elements of my culture in a way that the West can appreciate it, that is relatable," Khoja told The National in 2020. "The way I communicated the lifting of the [driving] ban was as a positive outcome for everyone in the world, not just for Saudi.

"I am still trying to find my place as a designer. I am following my own inspiration and I encourage others to give their own interpretation, not what you think is popular and trendy. Be authentic, because that is what makes you interesting.”

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