Fashion on-the-go with Arwa Al Banawi


Saudi Gazette

A Dar Al Hekma graduate, Arwa Al Banawi is a young Saudi designer using her voice and passion to empower women through fashion.

“I get inspired by my background, my surroundings, topics that speak about our world and our social political issues. I still always speak of one certain topic that always inspires me and that’s ‘the woman’, the silhouette of a woman and her importance in society. Every collection has a story,” Al Banawi told Saudi Gazette. Her brand is based in Dubai and the designer herself lives in between Dubai, Jeddah and Zurich. “I have just recently got a studio and showroom in Dubai Design District. I am working on launching online and when the time is right I’ll start the men’s line officially,” she revealed.

So far her brand caters to the urban female who is always on the move. Her last collection of eclectic, sharp and well tailored suits that transition from day to night created quite an impression on women in the Arab world. “I focus on urban tailoring as it’s for the on-the-go woman who doesn’t really have time to spend hours getting ready but she’s still attractive, confident and natural. She wants to wear something that represents her and it’s easy to move on from a day to night look,” she explained. Al Banawi’s background helps mold her choices when it comes to aesthetics and vision for urban women internationally. “I grew up in Saudi and spent a large part of my life in Zurich and Munich and I’ve witnessed that underground street lifestyle of those urban cities and my brand is inspired by both of those worlds. I can think and relate to the Saudi woman and the European woman because I live in both those societies,” she said. Al Banawi said she was one of the few women in Saudi to have started the street art and street wear movement in 2010, particularly in Jeddah. “Not a lot of people got what we were trying to do but we started an exhibition at my university and I think that’s where the whole story started for me.” She went on to study fashion and is currently working on the SS18 collection. “I’m grateful to my country to have given me the inspiration and also grateful for Dubai for giving me a business studio, a home and d3 is a place that empowers creatives to collaborate and make amazing things together.”

Speaking of challenges, Al Banawi believes having a set of supportive like minded individuals nurture creativity. “Challenges come every day, it’s life. But mostly it’s gathering the right support from the right people to help and support our ideas as designers and entrepreneurs. We need support always because we are creatives more than anything and we can’t create if there’s no support.”

Arwa’s ‘must-have pieces’

1. The suitable woman tee; I also love it because we produce our tees ourselves and the fabric doesn’t tinkle!

2. The robe is an important one as most of the time I don’t want to think about what I’ll wear in the morning and I wear my robe that’s elegant and fun with either heels or slippers and I’m off to my destination.

3. ‘I studied in America’ sweater

4. The vanilla white suit