“I decided to look to Saudi Arabia for my 2019 capsule collection because we are really at a time where our beautiful country is giving so much support to creatives and entrepreneurs,” reveals Saudi Arabian designer Arwa Al Banawi. “I wanted to shed light on the talent who are getting a lot of support, love and inspiration at the minute.”
Aptly entitled The Saudi Dream, Arwa’s collection is a cool and colourful mash-up of floral prints, fiery hues (including crimson red, turquoise and electric blue), and athleisure-inspired silhouettes. Her motivation? “Saudi Arabia’s street culture,” she proudly declares. “Saudi fashion has always been very vibrant – even when people wear local garments, it’s always in a really stylish way. I really wanted to capture that essence – the lifestyle and the energy that I grew up in. I wanted to show that to the world!”
But in showcasing her admiration for The Kingdom, the designer hones in on an emblem that may feel unexpected to some: The Pepsi logo. Expressed through both Arabic and English, the familiar red, blue and white is littered across T-shirts and dresses. “Pepsi is a brand that of course has a huge influence when it comes to celebrating youth, celebrating dreams and celebrating the people who are making positive changes in the world,” Arwa shares.
The campaign was shot throughout Jeddah’s heritage souks, showcasing a fierce juxtaposition between old and new. Saudi Arabian model Shahad Salman stars in the images and looks incredible, donning a vintage-inspired Pepsi-Cola T-shirt underneath a laid-back but luxe tracksuit, or a brightly coloured printed dress championing the tagline, The Saudi Dream. “When you think of street culture and you envision Saudi Arabia, Pepsi plays a huge role in it. Growing up you’d always see that Pepsi symbol in the cool, vibrant souks of Jeddah,” the Dubai-based designer recalls.
Beside a love for Pepsi, the collection is anchored through its dedication to print. Delicate florals are as feminine as they are fresh (the latter is most likely due to her choice of a neon palette), and the paisley prints ooze with modernity when met with playful silhouettes. “Some of the fabrics found in the collection are from the local shops in Jeddah, and the prints are inspired by a traditional textile.”
Arwa confesses, “The story was so mesmerising to me, I wanted to give people a snippet of what Saudi youth culture looks like.” With a collection as energetic and wearable as Arwa’s, we’re totally sold, whether wearing it on the streets of the Kingdom, the UAE or beyond.