From the very first season, Hindamme found its niche bridging Eastern and Western cultures in contemporary ready-to-wear collections that exude an effortlessly powerful blend of heritage. Fast forward to a week before the Saudi brand’s Season IV debut and it’s clear Hindamme—meaning “to possess perfect form in harmony and aesthetic” in Arabic—continues to stay true to its name and blend the vibrant influences of ancient and modern cultures in timeless artisanal interpretations. Inspired by the art and identity of the Nabatean civilization, the “Al Ula” collection features silk velvets, golden pleats, and custom embroideries of the Arab world’s legendary desert people. Further cementing Saudi Arabia’s place as a rapidly-emerging fashion capital, Hindamme’s latest collection in collaboration with the Winter At Tantora Cultural Festival will be on display throughout the entire festival in a meaningful nod to the Kingdom behind the designs. In an exclusive online launch of the upcoming collection, Vogue Arabia talked with Hindamme founder and designer Mohammed Khoja to dive deeper into the inspiration and creative process behind his yet-to-be-released creations while contemplating what’s next for the rising brand.
What was the starting point of this collection?
The starting point of my collection was looking at the flora and fauna as well as the wildlife of the Arabian Peninsula, and then my attention quickly shifted towards the petroglyphs and ancient rock art formations. Ultimately, that led me to the incredible Nabatean civilization in Al Ula. I was also very much inspired by the 1960s, the American Vogue editorials by Henry Clarke, and early designs by Yves Saint Laurent. With Season IV, also known as the “Al Ula Collection”, I wanted to create timeless pieces that applied old-world techniques rarely used today—such as goblin style embroidery—yet at the same time were very contemporary, current, and wearable.
How did you find inspiration in Al Ula?
There were so many elements to look at when finding inspiration from Al Ula, from the rock art and inscriptions to the colors from nature and, of course, most visibly the beautiful architecture of Mada’in Saleh. But finding inspiration from the wardrobe of the ancient Nabateans from Al Ula was a bit more challenging as there are very few records of what they had worn. I knew they applied natural plant-based dyes and may have worn a lot of canvas long sleeve tunics but, aside from that, there were very little references. During this process of mood boarding the collection, I also got in touch with several researchers in Saudi Arabia and abroad, such as Dr. Helen McGauran who works closely with the Winter at Tantora Cultural Festival, and shared my collection with her after I had designed it to check on cultural and historical inaccuracies if any.
But I was aware that there was a very strong Greco-Roman influence on the Nabatean aesthetic, both within architecture as well as their style of art. When sketching my initial designs, I had included some Greco-Roman inspired shapes, such as the oval motifs that feature Nabatean inscriptions which I have included in some of the prints and embroideries, as well as the paneling shapes that frame some of the robes and jackets in Season IV.
I present a much more artisanal approach to ready-to-wear with Season IV and worked closely with craftsmen and textile experts, who usually work on restoration projects for museums, to create some of the custom brocades and embroideries that I have integrated into some of the pieces. Season IV is mostly inspired by the architecture, the natural colors, and the landscapes of Al Ula and is very much a retrospective into the visual history and culture of the Nabateans through the lens of contemporary fashion.
What was the first thing that caught your attention when you first visited the city and how did you interpret that in the new collection?
Unfortunately, I have yet to visit Al Ula and drew my extensive referencing and inspiration for the collection through imagery, research, and reading. But one thing I’ve heard from mostly everyone who has visited was how majestic and dramatic the ancient structures were, especially within the expansive desert backdrop. I very much look forward to visiting this year during Winter at Tantora.
Tell us more about the exhibition you will have there for the new collection. What does that mean to you?
I am honored to collaborate with Winter at Tantora and exhibit and sell this collection there. Season IV will have its own dedicated retail space at the festival and will share the venue with some of the most respected regional and international brands.
You often get inspired by the culture in Saudi Arabia; have you already found the inspiration for the next collection?
I usually don’t like to put myself in a corner when being inspired and prefer to keep my inspiration organic, but there are so many wonderful elements to be inspired by from Saudi Arabia and ones that are rarely referenced outside of their forms. I’m very proud to say that I was one of the first designers to find inspiration from patterns such as “Al Qatt Al Aseeri” and to integrate them into contemporary ready-to-wear fashion. I find these patterns and the story behind them incredibly inspiring and my hope is to be able to continue presenting them in a new light and contribute to creating more appreciation and awareness towards them. I have a specific theme for my new collection which I’m currently working on, and I look forward to bringing it to life in 2020.
Where do you see your brand in 10 years?
I would love to expand into becoming a more global brand and one that interprets fashion more as an extension of culture and self-expression. In an increasingly globalized world, I am inspired to create more meaningful and contemporary pieces that reflect important themes—whether social or historical—and making them accessible and relevant to a new generation. I am also beginning to create design objects, such as vases and furniture pieces, that integrate and revive Arabian patterns that have slightly been forgotten. My first project was a commission for a luxury hotel being built by Emaar in Jeddah.
In the end, my true aim is to be able to contribute to creating a universal design aesthetic in this transformational time that presents Arabia in a new light.
Hindamme’s Season IV in collaboration with the ‘Winter at Tantora’ will be exhibited at the festival, which runs from December 19th, 2019 until March 7th, 2020.