Today marks International Women’s Day, a day solely dedicated to recognizing women. To celebrate, we shine a light on triumphant Arab women in the fashion industry who channel their influence and talent towards supporting their sisters by way of charities and initiatives. From world record-breakers and charity supporters to non-profit organization founders, we highlight inspiring women that strive to give back.
HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud
A trailblazer in her own right, HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud is the CEO of luxury retail company Alfa and oversees Harvey Nichols in Riyadh—a department store where she initiated the hiring of female employees. HRH Princess Reema is also the founder of the luxury accessories label, Baraboux, and she is a staunch supporter of 10KSA—a breast cancer campaign that aims to raise awareness and funds for the Zahra Breast Cancer Association. The initiative set a Guinness World Record in 2015 for the largest pink ribbon formed by women.
HH Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan
Ataya, which means “giving” in Arabic, is the prestigious, annual, charitable exhibition that takes place in Abu Dhabi. Created under the support and vision of HH Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan and organized by the Emirates Red Crescent, the expo serves as a platform to support talented individuals as well as regional and international small businesses, by inviting them to showcase fashion, jewelry, and lifestyle designs. A higher committee carefully selects participating brands, and past exhibitors include Bil Arabi, Sarah’s Bag , and Razan Alazzouni. All proceeds collected from the expo go towards supporting charities.
Lebanese fashion designer Nour Najem is more than just the founder of her eponymous label—she’s the creator behind her own non-profit organization called Kenzah Foundation. With an aim to preserve endangered artisanal crafts in the region and transmitting the know-how of these crafts to underprivileged women, Kenzah Foundation’s artisanal designs are incorporated in Najem’s collections.
Maryam Solati and Noor Salih
Iraqi designers Maryam Solati and Noor Salih—the women behind the brand Lili.Aiya—have not only attracted attention for their label featuring modest designs and contemporary separates, but they are also recognized for generating funds through a portion of proceeds from sales that goes towards supporting women in need via various charities.
Tala Hajjar understands the hardship of young, emerging designers trying to make names for themselves in the fashion industry. Along with her co-founder, designer Rabih Kayrouz, the Lebanese native launched Starch. The non-profit organization selects a number of designers under its wing for a year to help each develop his/her collections, branding, and distribution.
She’s the brainchild behind her adorable UAE-based, bespoke, handmade doll company called Dumyé that’s threaded with a heartwarming, charitable twist. For each doll purchased, another doll is gifted to an orphan or an underprivileged child, who will then have the opportunity to create their own Dumyé doll at a workshop.
Saudi designer Razan Alazzouni is known for her ethereal, embroidered designs and is a strong supporter of giving back. Her capsule collection “Threads by Razan Alazzouni” is comprised of one-off kaftan designs that stand out for supporting a charitable cause. For each piece sold from the capsule collection, the designer donates another kaftan to charity.
Palestinian designer Ayah Tabari is the founder of her brand, Mochi, a name that’s built on the concept of supporting stitching communities around the world. Tabari’s designs are brought to life through the use of ethnic fabrics from different locations. Each collection supports a community and creates job opportunities for women that specialize in the artisanal craft of traditional weaving.
Sarah Beydoun, the designer and founder behind Sarah’s Bag, works alongside female prisoners and ex-prisoners in Lebanon. Beydoun designs the bags before the inmates and women who have completed serving their sentences create them employing artisan-trained techniques.
Start getting to know Mariana Wehbe. She is the founder of her namesake public relations firm and her company is involved in organizing the highly anticipated pop-event Caravan Beirut that will take place in Washington D.C next month. The four-day market-themed exhibit will shine light on Lebanese talent as well as raise funds for Skoun—a Lebanese prevention center that fights addiction.