Alanoud Alhajri — carving a niche

In three years, she has carved a niche for herself in the fashion world with her fashion sense, trendy styles and designer clothing with a riot of colors, though white is the dominant color. More importantly, she has succeeded in beautifully blending local and international trends, reflective of her culture and global taste. Meet internationally acclaimed Saudi designer Alanoud Alhajri, who hardly needs any introduction.
Designing beautiful outfits that embrace femininity comes naturally to Alharji, who launched her own label ‘Alanoud’ in 2011 to give expression to her innate desire to create beautiful things. The brand was created to embrace women’s femininity and bring about a balance between modern designs and traditional elegance.
The designs focus on the use of the best quality of materials and excellent workmanship, and white is the dominant color in most of her collections, suggesting the simplicity and purity of the brand.
Born in 1989 and raised in Saudi Arabia, the designer, who is a Business Administration graduate from AOU in Kuwait, is married and lives in Kuwait. We met with her to learn more about her, her designs and her future plans.
Excerpts from the interview:
What first attracted you to fashion? Where do you draw your inspiration?
Since my younger days, we would wear hand-made dresses made by my mom. but she would let us pick the colors, fabrics and all kind of buttons. I was raised in a very creative environment and my mother is my inspiration. She always encouraged us to follow our dreams and passions.
Tell us a little about your brand and what made you interested in designing Kaftan and not anything else?
I believe there is nothing more beautiful than a woman in a kaftan. I wanted to blend our culture and the modern world into a piece of clothing, the feminine mother and the ambitious working lady into one piece of clothing. Each piece I design is intended to project the wearer in an elegant and feminine way.
How would you describe your style of fashion?
I would say simple but edgy at the same time. I love being in white. It puts me in a really good mood.
How do you see fashion in Middle East? Do you think fashion is getting the required attention in the Middle East?
Yes. I am so proud of how stylish and well dressed women in the Gulf are. They pay a lot of attention to their style and it’s refreshing. I am happy to find that women are encouraging as well.
Tell me first about Kaftans. I’ve read that they can be worn on casual or formal occasions, is this true nowadays? Or do women opt for Kaftan on special occasions?
It’s true. Kaftans can be worn in simple events like iftar in Ramadan or a henna night (a tradition the family of the Khaleeji bride do one day before the wedding). They can be worn on so many occasions and they are getting more and more popular with designers now putting efforts in choosing the best materials that can make you feel light and comfortable yet elegant.
When designing Kaftans, do you follow international fashion trends or do you invent your own trends?
I mix the two.
What are the latest Kaftan trends nowadays?
There are no limits.
Khaliji Abayas have conquered many parts of the Arab world. Do you believe that Moroccan Kaftans can do the same and be worn by many women in Arab countries?
I believe it depends on the acceptance of society. An abaya is designed in a manner where no part of your body can be shown in detail unlike the Moroccan kaftan that embraces a women’s body so well.
What kind of embellishments do you prefer using usually?
Lace, lace and more lace.
How do you put colors together?
Depends on my mood and how the sketches look.
Does the making of a Kaftan take time? And how much?
Yes. Production for each collection takes a month. Each piece takes up to three days of really hard work to make it perfect.
What are your future plans for your fashion brand?
Expansion and to add a line for cocktail dresses and gowns.
Where can we find your designs?
Kuwait, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dubai and Russia.

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