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How Saudi fashion brand Atelier Hekayat mixes art, history and theater in its designs

DUBAI: Launched in Jeddah in 2012, Atelier Hekayat was founded by fashion designers and sisters Abeer and Alia Oraif.

With a mission to bring new meaning to outerwear through bold, contemporary designs that combine traditional Saudi women’s dress with the latest international fashion trends, the brand was recently chosen by the Saudi Fashion Commission to be part of of the Saudi 100 brand program. She exhibited her designs in New York (July 26-August 7) ​​in “Saudi 100 Brands,” a global traveling exhibition featuring a curated selection of apparel and accessories from 100 Saudi designers.

“We like to think of our creations as wearable works of art,” Alia Oraif told Arab News. The brand name “Hekayat”, which means “stories” and “tales” in Arabic, was chosen to reflect his vision. “Suspense is found in our designs through hekayat or stories,” Oraif said. “Mystery is our job and serenity is our slogan.”

The clothes reflect exactly that; a luminous explosion of colors, shapes and patterns on materials such as lace, silk, organza and chiffon. Bell sleeves and ruffles added to katfans, kimonos and dresses create elements of surprise and drama.

Oraif says she and her sister grew up in a creative family. Their father is an interior designer. From an early age, the sisters regularly traveled to Milan, Paris and Istanbul to attend fashion week.

“We used to design dresses for our relatives and friends, then we decided to study fashion and turn our passion into a business,” Oraif said.

Oraif holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah and a certificate in design and sewing principles from the same university. In the faculty of home economics, she took courses such as clothing and textiles, knitting and crocheting and hand embroidery. In January 2022, she was chosen as a founding member of the Kingdom’s first non-profit professional fashion company, established by the Ministry of Culture and approved by the Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan.

Abeer Oraif holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Management from King Abdulaziz University. She also holds a degree in Fashion Journalism and Fashion Business from Conde Nast College London.

The inspiration of the two sisters comes from art, theater and history. “We like to mix vintage pieces with modern pieces,” said Alia Oraif. “It’s the Hekayat style.”

They also practice sustainable fashion, which means their designs are timeless and can be worn from season to season. They also use and produce their own fabrics, with a preference for French taffeta, moiré and silk. “It all depends on the history of the collection,” Oraif said.

Over the past few years, Atelier Hekayat has collaborated with many luxury brands, including Mouwad Jewelry, Maserati and Chopard.

The brand also participated in the first Fashion Futures Saudi Arabia; an event launched in 2019 as the first dedicated fashion event in the Kingdom. Atelier Hekayat was one of nine Saudi fashion brands selected by Princess Nora bint Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

“The fashion industry in Saudi Arabia is brighter than ever,” Oraif said. “We know fashion very well and how it can be linked with craftsmanship and culture, tradition with art and heritage. Saudi Vision 2030 aims to become one of the pioneers in the fashion industry. fashion.We have many projects and surprises coming.Our goal is to go global.

About Debra D. Johnson

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