“I feel the 90s is where the birth of female empowerment came through,” says Saudi designer Arwa Al Banawi, whose recently launched SS19 collection is heavily inspired by the masculinity of the bygone decade. The 90s, she adds, was all about unfiltered beauty: “It was raw, confident beauty from the likes of Kate Moss, Julia Roberts, and Sarah Jessica Parker.”
The highlights of the collection are the statement T-shirts featuring the text “The Reality Is Like A Dream” – a play of the word “riyal,” Saudi Arabia’s currency. Inspired by the new wave happening in the country, the collection is a celebration of women’s achievements. “It’s showing the beauty and power of our youth and our beautiful country that has been inspiring me every step of the way,” she says.
Known for creating androgynous designs with a feminine flair, it’s no surprise that her latest line celebrates female empowerment with tailored suits, safari jackets, and wide-legged pants. With its futuristic, bold colors (think fluorescent yellow, coral, fuchsia, and mint green), the collection is, Al Banawi says, “for women who don’t fear change, women who are confident in their own skin, and women who are working hard on making a change in the world.”