Under The Abaya: Saudi's first ever street-style book is here

A revelation and a celebration; this collection of photos is so much more than the sum of its parts. Here's why it's changing the game...
Under The Abaya: Saudi's first ever street-style book is here
Photo: Lina Qummosani

To say that the world's eyes are fixed firmly on Saudi at the moment would be something of an understatement. The forward-thinking sea change in tandem with Saudi Vision 2030 is head-spinning in its momentum, although we can't help but wonder if it's indicative of exactly how progressive, even renegade, KSA has been for a while, if only under the surface. Or - in this instance - under the abaya.

It's something that Jeddah-based Luxury Consultant and Journalist Marriam Mossalli is only too aware of, publishing a book of the same name in partnership with Cadillac and launching it at ​the Art Books Jeddah Fair in February. The first ever Saudi street-style book, no less.

Photo: Abduljalel Felemban

With the laudable intent to "expose the Saudi female’s unique versatility," Under the Abaya is a collection of photographs submitted by the women themselves, and designed to live on beyond the book via an online initiative that encourages girls to send in their images, too.

Photo: Khaled Yousef Aldakheelallah

Edgy, creative, surprising; the images are as eye-opening as they are inspiring, serving as a peephole - and a wake-up call to the rest of us - to a culture that is truly coming into its own on the world stage, finally having been given the opportunity to showcase its women's "adventurous style, enigmatic persona, and how [they] celebrate this newfound era of fashion independence." In the weeks after the inaugural Saudi Fashion Week, we can't wait to see how this evolves even further.

Photo: Orjwan Hussainii

"Under the Abaya presents our fashion, but more importantly the woman wearing it - the progressive Saudi woman who has always existed but has yet to be revealed to the world," they say. And what a revelation that is. The world, no doubt, continues to watch.

Photo: Manal AlKholidan

Photos: Courtesy of Under the Abaya. Pre-order it here: undertheabayaksa.com