Startup of the Week: Saudi startup adds bags of choice to popular fashion items

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Updated 02 February 2021

Startup of the Week: Saudi startup adds bags of choice to popular fashion items

  • Saudi startup adds bags of choice to popular fashion items

The innovative ideas and creativity of Saudi youth have contributed to a huge growth in the number of business startups in the Kingdom.
And among them is Mine Bags, which has found success in the highly competitive handbags market with its interchangeable products that allow customers to alter the look of items by switching between different brooches and straps.
Accessories for its leather bags are designed and made by other Saudi startups, NGOs, and charities.
Noor Zahid, of Mine Bags, said: “We thought of adding something to the bags to make them attractive to Saudi youth. Originally, we looked at embroidery, but it was difficult to embroider on leather.”
However, after further research they came up with idea of personalized brooches and leather bags designed specifically for the purpose. The handbags are supplied with single or multiple holes for the attachment of decorative brooches which are either machined or hand embroidered.
“Mine Bags’ motive was to involve as many local NGOs and charitable organizations as it could. We aim to bring the right pin with the right bag, with the right hole, while maintaining elegance and coherence,” Zahid added.
The startup’s main challenge was to find a regular supplier of quality leather but when the raw materials it required could not be sourced in Saudi Arabia the search shifted to Tunisia.
The company’s first line used off-cut leather from mass-produced, high-end brands.
Zahid said: “The atelier we contacted to make our bags told us they had no use for the (leftover) leather, so we decided against buying excessive amounts of it and used what they provided.” This helped the brand to be sustainable and affordable, and reduced the amount of waste.
Mine Bags also offers embroidered straps, tote bags, small pouches, laptop bags, and other items and has expanded its range to include on-demand T-shirts.
Zahid pointed out that products were designed with versatility, uniqueness, slow fashion, and practicality in mind while ensuring that components were multipurpose.
“You can change the brooches to fit wherever you are going and can use the straps with other bags. The brooches can also be used on clothes and as headpieces,” she added.
Although the brand is currently only sold in Saudi Arabia, the company has signed a contract to start supplying to Bahrain.
“Because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic we have noticed that people are more interested in local brands and designers, which is enabling new designers to emerge.
“So, during the lockdown, we focused on our made-in-Saudi line and once everything was open, we were ready with production,” Zahid said.
She also revealed that the brand was collaborating with fashion designer Nasiba Hafiz. Mine Bags products are available on Instagram at @mineofficially.

Adidas faces backlash for dropping Bella Hadid from sneaker campaign

Updated 19 July 2024

Adidas faces backlash for dropping Bella Hadid from sneaker campaign

  • Shoes linked to 1972 Munich Games killing of Israeli athletes.

LONDON: Adidas on Friday dropped American model Bella Hadid from an advertising campaign for sneakers that are associated with the 1972 Munich Olympics, following criticism from pro-Israeli groups.

The German sportswear company apologized for the “upset and distress” caused by choosing Hadid, whose father is Palestinian, as the face of its relaunched SL72 sports shoes. The original version of the footwear was created for the 1972 Games, during which 11 Israeli athletes and a German policeman were killed by a Palestinian militant group.

The relaunch of the shoe last week drew criticism from the Israeli government, in a message posted on social media platform X, and several Jewish groups. They questioned the decision by Adidas to select Hadid to advertise a shoe originally associated with an event during which several Israelis were killed.

Adidas said it would “revise” its campaign and added: “We are conscious that connections have been made to tragic historical events, though these are completely unintentional, and we apologize for any upset or distress caused.”

Hadid has repeatedly made public comments critical of the Israeli government and in support of Palestinians over the years. In an Instagram post dated Oct. 23 last year she described the military campaign launched by Israeli authorities following the Oct. 7 attacks as “the most intense bombardment in the history of Gaza,” and lamented the loss of innocent Palestinian lives.

“US White House National Security Council dangerously says Israel ‘owes no one any justification’ and that it will have ‘no red lines.’ Innocent lives should always be justified in the name of humanity,” she added.

“Israel has completely shut off telecommunications and electricity across Gaza. Injured civilians currently can’t call ambulances. Medics are begging reporters to let them know where bombardments are happening, but reporters don’t know either because of the internet outage. The people of Gaza have nowhere to go. Children are dying. Please.”

The decision to drop Hadid from the campaign prompted a wave of support for the model on social media, with figures such as journalists Mehdi Hasan and Candace Owens criticizing Adidas. Some people called for a boycott of the company.

What We Are Buying Today: Saudi brand ‘Lora’ skincare product

Updated 19 July 2024

What We Are Buying Today: Saudi brand ‘Lora’ skincare product

  • The brand’s products are inspired by the 13 regions of the Kingdom, with scents sourced from around the country to reflect Saudi cultural heritage

Lora, a Saudi brand operating under the Ministry of Culture and Al-Balad Development Program, offers a range of natural, handmade soap and skincare products that showcase the rich agricultural heritage of the Kingdom.

All products are crafted using local ingredients from around Saudi Arabia, including olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, shea butter and glycerin.

Located in the heart of historic Al-Balad, a UNESCO heritage site, Lora blends art, culture and nature. The brand’s products are inspired by the 13 regions of the Kingdom, with scents sourced from around the country to reflect Saudi cultural heritage.

Lora’s product range includes 12 types of natural, handmade soap blocks, as well as body, hair and beard oils, and facial care products infused with fragrances such as kadi, full, Arabian jasmine, Taifi rose, lavender, rosemary and more.

Flora’s signature soaps are not only affordable, but also high quality, gentle on the skin and highly moisturizing. They effectively combat acne and dryness, and enhance skin texture.

For those interested in skincare and soap-making, Lora offers soap-making workshops and classes led by owner Hashim Al-Shawi.

The 90-minute workshop provides theoretical and practical training, with the necessary materials, shapes, molds, natural coloring and fragrances provided. Participants can take home their handmade soap block, perfect for personal use or as a gift.

For those with a basic understanding of soap-making, Lora offers a 10-day informative diploma program to become a certified soap maker.


Mohammed Khoja pays homage to the Kingdom in latest collection 

Updated 20 July 2024

Mohammed Khoja pays homage to the Kingdom in latest collection 

  • The Saudi fashion designer discusses his new shirts, inspired by different regions of his homeland 

RIYADH: “I was very motivated by (the idea of) integrating my experiences as a Saudi and contributing to the creation of a more contemporary Saudi design identity through my point of view,” Saudi fashion designer Mohammed Khoja, founder of luxury label Hindamme, tells Arab News. “My ultimate goal is to open more doors and to spread Saudi culture to global audiences. 

“Hindamme has grown considerably since its inception, and I am very optimistic about what’s to come. I believe brands such as mine are proving to be more lucrative and I’ve observed an uptick in demand, and opportunities for growth, in recent months,” he continues. 

Hindamme is an old Arabic adjective that roughly “a harmonious aesthetic form.” That is what Khoja hopes to capture in each of his creations — combining a bold but minimalist approach to ready-to-wear fashion.  

Mohammed Khoja is the founder of luxury label Hindamme. (Supplied)

Hindamme’s “Season V” collection, for example, drew on color theory, and included “mood-enhancing” gradients as well as futuristic, nature-inspired themes in fabrics including velvet, nylon, and satin. Khoja debuted those designs in Paris in June last year, along with 15 other Saudi designers at a pop-up event called Emerge, organized by the Saudi Fashion Commission and MoCX, the Saudi Ministry of Culture's General Department of Innovation, in partnership with the Saudi Visual Arts Commission, the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission, and the Saudi Music Commission.  

“Season V” was designed during COVID-19 lockdowns, and was partly inspired by Khoja’s desire to “reconnect” with the Earth. It included a heat temperature-gradient blazer, which Khoja intended as a stark reminder of the threat of climate change. 

For his latest collection, his sixth, the designer was inspired by different regions of his homeland.  

“It is inspired by my love of travel and pays homage to the Kingdom’s drive to promote tourism. I designed pieces that were sort of like elevated post cards for every region — it truly is like a love letter to our cultural diversity. The new designs are also a lesson in visual storytelling; they invite you on a journey to discover each of these glorious regions.” Khoja says.  

Khoja says he spent months conducting extensive research. “I integrated the landmarks of each region that I felt were the most iconic and synonymous. Each design incorporates the iconography of that area, such as Jeddah, Riyadh, Aseer, Eastern Province and AlUla.” 

Here, Khoja discusses some of the pieces from his latest collection. 


“The ancient languages and rock art are important elements for AlUla because of its rich ancient history of Lihyanite and Nabatean civilizations, so I utilized it for the shirt. Along with the ancient inscriptions and carvings, the AlUla shirt is decorated with famous ancient sites and landmarks such as Hegra and Elephant Rock, along with the integration of the majestic Arabian leopard,” the designer says. 


Khoja’s Aseer silk shirt includes a hand-painted backdrop of Rijal AlMaa village, decorated with Al-Qatt Al-Aseeri patterns, which the designer credits as a major source of inspiration throughout his career. “Aseeri culture has always been a great influence. I grew up reading books about the beautiful crafts and how women of the region specialized in this art,” the designer says, adding that Al-Qatt Al-Assiri was also the inspiration for his debut collection. 


“Jeddah is a colorful array of iconography representing the bright colors of the coastal city,” Khoja says. “Jeddah is very famous for its breathtaking sunsets and I wanted to present its sunsets as the centerpiece. The shirt also includes the famous fountain as well as architecture from Jeddah’s historical district, Al-Balad.” 

Eastern province 

“With the Eastern Province design, I featured iconic landmarks of the region, with refences to Jabal Qarra in AlAhsa, Ithra and Dammam Well No. 7 — the first oil well discovered in the Kingdom,” says Khoja. 


“The Riyadh silk shirt is another piece of visual storytelling and features iconic modern-day landmarks of our beloved capital such as KAFD, Kingdom Tower, and Al-Faisaliyah Tower. It infuses the rich traditions of its past with a neon homage to Diriyah and motif patterns taken from old Najdi doors,” Khoja said.  

Princess Rajwa shows off growing bump during outing with Prince Hussein

Updated 18 July 2024

Princess Rajwa shows off growing bump during outing with Prince Hussein

  • Royal couple visit firm creating content on social issues
  • Prince lauds company’s focus on mental health concerns

DUBAI: Princess Rajwa of Jordan once again showcased her impeccable maternity style this week alongside Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah during their visit to Digitales Media, a local company that creates content on social issues.

The princess, who is from Saudi Arabia, wore Max Mara’s Drina silk-and-linen dress in a warm, brown color. It featured a high waistline that accommodated her maternity figure, with a softly pleated skirt of mid-calf length.

The dress had long sleeves with subtle cuff detailing and a gently gathered neckline.

The princess paired her outfit with a pink Fendi leather purse and matching pink satin ballet flats from Miu Miu.  

“Rajwa and I were delighted to visit Digitales today ... A Jordanian company creating impactful content on social issues and mental health,” the prince wrote on his Instagram, with pictures from the visit.

The royal couple, who announced the pregnancy in April, are expecting their first child this summer.

Since then, Princess Rajwa has been turning heads with her maternity style.

In May, she was spotted shopping in Amman wearing a blue denim jumpsuit from the Tencel Denim Maternity range by British label Seraphine.

She completed her look with white sneakers and accessorized with a Bottega Veneta Mini Cabat leather tote bag.

In her first maternity pictures, which were released on June 1, she donned a Vernia red blouson sleeve pleated maxi dress by Alice + Olivia, a contemporary clothing brand based in New York City.

The flowy, summery dress was cinched at the waist, accentuating her growing bump, and featured a V-shaped neckline.

On June 10, she attended King Abdullah’s silver jubilee celebrations in Amman, in a bespoke gown by Saudi Arabia designer Honayda Serafi.

This was just over a year after she wore an all-white look by the same designer for her pre-wedding henna celebrations.

Egyptian rapper Marwan Pablo on being a Diesel brand ambassador

Updated 17 July 2024

Egyptian rapper Marwan Pablo on being a Diesel brand ambassador

CAIRO: Egyptian rap artist Marwan Pablo was recently named a regional brand ambassador for Italian fashion label Diesel — and the up-and-coming star spoke to Arab News about his relationship with the luxury brand.

"My connection with Diesel goes way back, long before I became an ambassador and one of its faces globally," the Alexandria-born rapper, whose real name is Marwan Matawa, said.

Known for his streetwear style, Pablo is not one to shy away from patterns and color — and that keen fashion sense was sparked by a gift from his father.

"My clothing and accessories now reflect my growing relationship with this luxury brand, which started back in 2007 or 2008 when I was in school and my father bought me a pair of Diesel jeans,” he explained. “That gift changed how I viewed and wore clothes for life. Those pieces remained with me for a long time … I feel a sense of daring and ambition with Diesel, something that I've busily incorporated into the brand's unique identity, which I find distinct from other youth-oriented brands."


A post shared by MARWAN PABLO (@marwanpablo_)

Born in 1995, the “Lelly Yah” hitmaker briefly quit music in 2020 citing personal reasons. He returned to the spotlight in 2021, however, with the hit track "Ghaba" that gained more than four million views on YouTube within the first 24 hours. His latest offering, "Al Mabda,” was released in 2024 and condemns the global silence over the attacks carried out by Israeli forces on the people of Gaza.

When asked about his future plans, the artist stressed the need to remain flexible, saying: "I always want to stay flexible and integrated, whether it's with my new music or my fashion style."

Meanwhile, Diesel took to social media to praise its new ambassador, saying: “Pablo's music serves as a raw and introspective canvas, drawing inspiration from his life experiences, thoughts, emotions, and the world around him.”