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.

Jacquemus taps Imaan Hammam for Capri show

Updated 11 June 2024

Jacquemus taps Imaan Hammam for Capri show

DUBAI: Simon Porte Jacquemus celebrated his brand’s 15th anniversary with a runway show on the eastern tip of Capri, featuring Dutch Moroccan Egyptian model Imaan Hammam among the participants.

The catwalk star arrived at the venue in a casual look and waved to cameras while wearing a shirt from Umbro Italy’s 2023 collaboration with Slam Jam. The “Penalty Culture” capsule collection draws from football’s influence on the everyday lives and the community of people who follow it — it is a fitting sartorial choice for Hammam ahead of the June 14 kick off of the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament.

She wore a hot red figure-hugging dress with asymmetric sleeves. (YouTube)

After she sported her football-inspired look, Hammam walked the catwalk, with its backdrop of clear blue water, in a hot red figure-hugging dress with asymmetric sleeves. The midi dress featured a ruffled open back. 

Hammam’s dress was part of the designer’s Fall/Winter 2024 collection, which embraced a nautical theme with classic navy stripes adorning shirts and subtly woven into the details of various garments. 

The catwalk also featured semi-transparent dresses with dramatic slits, sailor-like tank tops, oversized and zebra-printed Bermuda shorts, deep-blue sweaters and more. 



A post shared by JACQUEMUS (@jacquemus)


The show, titled “La Casa,” was held at Casa Malaparte, a villa designed by Italian rationalist architect Adalberto Libera for writer Curzio Malaparte in the 1930s.

The show was attended by A-listers such as Dua Lipa, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Peggy Gou. 

BLACKPINK member Jennie Kim also made an appearance at the show. Given her close relationship with the brand’s founder, fans anticipated her attendance. However, defying expectations, Jacquemus chose the songstress to close the show rather than sit on the sidelines.



A post shared by JACQUEMUS (@jacquemus)


The K-Pop starlet wore a flowing black dress paired with a teal clutch. 

Kim’s connection with designer Jacquemus is no secret, highlighted by her regular presence at his shows over the years. Whether in the front row or taking center stage, she has consistently backed the brand, most notably featuring in Jacquemus' holiday campaign last December.

Meanwhile, Lipa wore a floor-length, light turquoise sleeveless gown with an elevated boat neckline and a slit at the right calf. She matched her ruby red hair with Jacquemus' new purse, a rounded puffy flap bag adorned with gold hardware, which was also featured on the runway. 

Her look was completed with light blue Les Lunettes Ovalo sunglasses and strappy black sandals with ball-detail heels.

Princess Rajwa shows off Honayda gown at king’s silver jubilee celebrations in Jordan

Updated 10 June 2024

Princess Rajwa shows off Honayda gown at king’s silver jubilee celebrations in Jordan

  • Saudi designer Honayda Sefari explained the meaning behind the custom-made look
  • It is not the first time Princess Rajwa has chosen Honayda for a high-profile event

DUBAI: Jordan’s Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein attended King Abdullah II’s silver jubilee celebrations in Amman alongside her husband, Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, in a bespoke gown by Saudi designer Honayda Serafi.

For the occasion, Princess Rajwa, who is originally from Saudi Arabia, showed off a red, hand-embroidered gown just over a year after she wore an all-white look by the same designer for her pre-wedding henna celebrations.


A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

Serafi, the designer behind the eponymous brand which became the first Saudi fashion label to be displayed at luxury London department store Harrods in 2022, spoke to Arab News about the custom-made look in a written statement. 

When asked about the symbolism in the dress, she explained: “The colors used reflected on the four colors of the Jordanian flag: red, green, black and white, paying tribute to the rich Jordanian traditions (and) celebrating the vibrant culture of Jordan."

“Deep, pigmented red was chosen for the look. Red represents the Hashemite dynasty, associated with strength and passion, embodying royalty and translating the love to the land. (The gown is) tailored in a flowing georgette fabric, perfectly mirroring HRH Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein’s noble yet powerful personality.”

Princess Rajwa showed off a red, hand embroidered gown by Saudi designer Honayda Serafi. (Supplied)

According to the designer, it was the first time Jordanian women artisans had worked on a dress for the young royal.

“The house of Honayda collaborated with Jordanian women artisans to feature unique traditional Jordanian embroidery … in the design. (The embroidery was) featured on the collar and border, preserving and celebrating age-old techniques, evoking a sense of pride and connection to the nation,” she noted.

The Saudi fashion house seems to have become the label of choice for the princess’s high-profile public appearances.

In May 2023, Jordan’s Queen Rania hosted the pre-wedding henna night celebrations for the bride-to-be, who married the crown prince on June 1, 2023.

Princess Rajwa showed off a red, hand embroidered gown by Saudi designer Honayda Serafi. (Supplied)

She looked radiant in an ethereal white creation with gold embroidery that was inspired by Al-Shaby thobes of the Najd region in Saudi Arabia, where Princess Rajwa — who was formerly known as Rajwa Al-Saif — is from. 

The henna night dress was inspired by Al-Shaby thobes of the Najd region in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

“As the creative director, I am deeply grateful for her trust and encouragement, which serve as a key to unlocking boundless creativity and beauty in my designs,” Serafi said of the ongoing relationship with the royal.

“Her choice to wear Honayda creations not only highlights the elegance and cultural richness embedded in our designs, but also amplifies our mission to celebrate and preserve heritage through fashion.”

Last week, the first official maternity photos of Princess Rajwa were released ahead of the royal couple’s due date this summer.

Mideast catwalk stars celebrate Italian model Vittoria Ceretti’s birthday

Updated 09 June 2024

Mideast catwalk stars celebrate Italian model Vittoria Ceretti’s birthday

DUBAI: Part-Middle Eastern models Loli Bahia, Nora Attal and Mona Tougaard paid tribute to their fellow Italian supermodel Vittoria Ceretti for her birthday this week.

The three models took to Instagram Stories to share moments with the birthday girl. 

Tougaard — who has Danish, Turkish, Somali and Ethiopian ancestry — wrote, “Happy bday to my other half,” and in the following picture added, “my Italian queen.”

Among the pictures she shared were two of Ceretti with US Dutch Palestinian model Gigi Hadid on set. 

Vittoria Ceretti and Loli Bahia. (Instagram)

French Algerian model Bahia shared a picture that appeared to be on set for a brand shoot, while the British Moroccan Attal posted a throwback picture of her and Ceretti from when they were younger, captioning it, “Baby V+N.”

This week, Ceretti was on a birthday getaway and shared pictures from her celebration with her 1.6 million Instagram followers.

In one shot, she posed in the desert wearing a hot red, form-fitting dress with three-dimensional floral designs on the midsection and a plunging neckline. She also shared photos of the flowers she received for her birthday, a sunset dinner, a horseback riding experience and a cozy evening by the fire.

Mona Tougaard on set with Ceretti. (Instagram) 

“Happy, grateful, in heaven and a year older,” she captioned her post. 

Ceretti, who grew up in Brescia, a small town outside Milan, began her modeling career at the age of 14 at Elite Model Look, one of the world’s most prestigious international modeling competitions. She was chosen as a finalist and signed with the agency. 

A pivotal moment in her career was securing her first beauty contract with Chanel, which appointed her as the face of its beauty line in 2018.



A post shared by Vittoria Ceretti (@vittoria)


Since then, Ceretti’s career has been marked by continuous success.

She has walked for Versace, Dior, Celine and Louis Vuitton and has fronted beauty and fashion ad campaigns for brands like Tory Burch, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari and Prada. 

Her latest campaigns, unveiled in May, were for Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. For Calvin Klein’s summer collection, she wore monochromatic white pieces, while for Marc Jacobs, she donned a colorful pink knit sweater paired with the brand’s white “Sack Bag.”

Saudi catwalk star Amira Al-Zuhair models for Louis Vuitton in Saint-Tropez

Updated 08 June 2024

Saudi catwalk star Amira Al-Zuhair models for Louis Vuitton in Saint-Tropez

DUBAI: Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair this week walked in Louis Vuitton’s high jewelry show in Saint-Tropez, attended by celebrities such as British actress Phoebe Dynevor and Thai actress Urassaya Sperbund.

The collection, the label’s sixth high jewelry collection, was designed by the house’s artistic director of jewelry and watches, Francesca Amfitheatrof.

Al-Zuhair, born to a French mother and Saudi father in Paris, wore an intricate chunky choker that features a wide, structured design with a lattice-like pattern in gold, adorned with numerous diamonds. The focal point of the necklace is a large yellow gemstone, which adds a contrast to the overall design.

Amira Al-Zuhair shared a picture with Francesca Amfitheatrof and her fellow models. (Instagram)

Al-Zuhair shared a picture on her Instagram stories with Amfitheatrof and her fellow models, where she was seen wearing a cut-out black top paired with oversized black salwar pants.

The models’ outfits were made by creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere’s studio, with styling by Ghesquiere’s long-time collaborator Marie-Amelie Sauve.

After the show, guests enjoyed a gala dinner prepared by star chef Jean Imbert.

Al-Zuhair has made her mark on the fashion world by walking for an array of esteemed brands beyond Missoni. Her runway presence has been felt in shows for renowned fashion houses such as Maison Alaia, Brunello Cucinelli, Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana, Giambattista Valli, Giorgio Armani, Elie Saab, and many more.

In addition to her runway appearances, Al-Zuhair has been featured in campaigns for high-profile brands such as Prada, Chanel and Carolina Herrera.

Emirati winners of ADMAF x Dolce & Gabbana Design Award unveil ambitious future plans in fashion, jewelry

Updated 08 June 2024

Emirati winners of ADMAF x Dolce & Gabbana Design Award unveil ambitious future plans in fashion, jewelry

DUBAI: After winning the ADMAF x Dolce & Gabbana Design Award 2024, Emirati designers Sarah Al-Mansoori and Azza Al-Tawila are set to embark on a six-moth paid internship program at the Italian luxury label’s headquarters in Milan before they showcase their final products at the Abu Dhabi Festival in 2025.

Sarah Al-Mansoori claimed the inaugural prize in the jewelry creations category, while Azza Al-Tawila secured the top spot in the fashion category. The award is a partnership between the Abu Dhabi Music and Art Foundation and the luxury fashion brand.

Both winners will refine their work through the internship.

For Al-Mansoori, the upcoming internship “feels like the start of an exciting journey.”

Sarah Al-Mansoori claimed the inaugural prize in the jewelry creations category. (Supplied)

“Each day, I’ll be surrounded by industry professionals who will help me grow my skills. I’m excited to be in the heart of the fashion world, where creativity and innovation are everywhere,” she told Arab News. “I see myself not only improving my technical abilities but also making valuable connections in the fashion and jewelry production industry.”

Meanwhile, Al-Tawila said: “Having such an opportunity to work with industry professionals at Dolce & Gabbana will heavily influence my ambitions, propelling me to a higher level of designfor the future of fashion design.”

Al-Tawila is looking forward to experiencing the fashion house’s work culture and learning new techniques.

“Exploring and expanding my creativity in a unique environment that is culturally and artistically varied to my own, it fuels my curiosity towards innovative garment production and how to utilize my experience to actualize contemporary, forward-thinking design,” she explained.

During her time in Milan, Al-Mansoori hopes to learn about micro-mosaics, a special technique that uses unusually small glass mosaic pieces to create intricate images. She also seeks to gain experience in filigree work, a jewelry-making technique involving intricate metalwork.

“I plan to integrate these techniques into my own design process, adding intricate details and a touch of luxury to my creations,” she said.

Al-Tawila said integrating Emirati heritage has always been a focal point for her.

“Emirati garments have always inspired and motivated me to develop a unique sense of fashion aesthetics and my overall attitude towards design,” she said. “Hybridizing my own culture with the experience gained during the internship will create a distinct reconstruction of what Emirati identity could transform into.” 

For the Abu Dhabi Festival 2025, Al-Tawila stated that her fashion pieces will be inspired by the unique traditional clothing of her culture.

“Taking inspiration from my experiences and environment is one that I intend to pay homage to as its cultural significance is what I, as a designer, want to represent in my design. Through textile patterns, geometric forms, and the utilization of native techniques, I intend to consider and integrate those aspects in my design process for the fashion pieces,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Al-Mansoori is inspired to create jewelry pieces that celebrate Emirati heritage. “Pearls will be a central theme, symbolizing elegance and grace,” she said. “I also want to incorporate elements of Al-Sadu, a traditional Emirati craft known for its vibrant colors and intricate patterns. My goal is to blend tradition with modernity, creating pieces that tell a story of Emirati culture while appealing to contemporary tastes.”