Saudi 100 Brands exhibition celebrates kingdom's emerging designers in New York

Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud opened the show at the Iron23 venue

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A new exhibition celebrating 100 designers from Saudi Arabia has opened in New York.

Aptly called Saudi 100 Brands, the exhibition aims to introduce 100 emerging fashion talents from eight categories to a western audience. This includes ready-to-wear, modest, demi-couture, bridalwear, concept, bags, and jewellery. The chosen designers were selected from more than 1,500 applicants, and tasked with creating a unique piece that encapsulates the heritage and sensibilities of the kingdom.

Designers include jewellery brand Yataghan Jewellery, by Sarah Abudawood, who specialises in reworking traditional calligraphy. One ear cuff, studded with diamonds and emeralds, is also inscribed with calligraphy and geometric patterns. Fashion designer Arwa Alammari, meanwhile, also looks to heritage patterns of carpets, translating it on to flowing dresses via her label ArAm.

Another fashion name taking part is Yousef Akbar, known for its lavish proportions, as well as Abadia, a label that champions handmade, traditional techniques. The bag designer Dania Shinkar is also taking part, as are designers Mayan and Bshayeral Qunaibet.

Queen Rania of Jordan wearing a dress by Daneh, one of the brands taking part in the Saudi 100 Brands show in New York. Photo: Daneh / Instagram

Many names are already well known in the Middle East, including Mashael Al Faris, whose dress has recently been spotted on former model and filmmaker Farida Khelfa, while fashion brand Daneh was seen on a dress recently worn by Queen Rania of Jordan.

Each designer on show will also be part of a one-year project, where each will receive expert guidance from the likes of Kering, LVMH, Valentino and Chanel, and access educational programmes from the Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martins, Parsons and Yale.

The travelling exhibition was first launched in 2021 by The Fashion Commission of Saudi Arabia, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Culture.

“The collections that you see here are inspired by Arabia, but they are made for the world," said Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US, during her opening speech in New York.

An inscribed ear cuff, studded with white diamonds and emeralds, by Yataghan Jewellery. Photo: Yataghan Jewellery / Instagram

She continued, “Creativity is not born in one country. Culture is not defined by a border. And what you are about to see is a symbol that has nothing to do with politics, that has nothing to do with governments, but has everything to do with the human spirit.”

The audience in attendance included designers Carolina Herrera and Reem Acra.

The exhibition is on until Sunday, August 7 at Iron23 in the Flatiron district of New York.

Updated: July 29, 2022, 12:52 PM