Between Nowruz, Ramadan, Eid, and Arab-American Heritage Month, there’s so much culture to celebrate in spring. This year, many Middle Eastern fashion designers have captured how special this time is for Southwest Asian and North African communities. in different campaigns, collections, and more.
While this season is particularly special, there are countless brands representing the region all year round on some of the biggest stages and runways in fashion. You may already know some designers like Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad who have dressed some of the biggest stars in the world, but they’re not the only ones who are celeb-favorites. Some of the most memorable moments in fashion history were brought to you by Middle Eastern designers.
Plus, there’s now a new generation of young Middle Eastern fashion designers who are changing up the status quo. Whether in the heart of the region or the diaspora, they’re putting their tradition and culture at the forefront of fashion with their own modern touch.
Whether you prefer the classics or the trendy, there’s no denying that the talents in and from the Southwest Asian and North African region are ones to watch.
Taking inspiration from Kurdish roots, the eponymous jewelry label Sayran specializes in giving traditional styles a twist. Symbols like the evil eye, pomegranates, and seven eyes combined with Y2K, indie, and futuristic aesthetics give Sayran its unique charm. The most recent collection dropped on Nowruz and is named Azadî, meaning freedom in Kurdish.
Tala Barbotin Khalidy
As the head of a small-batch, slow fashion brand, Tala Barbotin Khalidy splits her time between New York City and Beirut. Going straight to the source of her inspiration, Khalidy collaborates with artisans in Lebanon and Syria to support local craft and preserve tradition. Though Khalidy has dropped several unique collections influenced by different cultural traditions like truck paintings, courtyards, and ice cream, some of her signature styles include crochet, patchwork, and intricate patterns in rich colors.
Created by Iranian designer Naza Yousefi, London-based fashion brand Yuzefi has been recognized by fashion royalty around the world. You may know Yuzefi for its uniquely shaped handbags named after foods like “Pretzel,” “Dinner Roll,” and “Mochi,” but the brand also carries apparel, all inspired by Yousefi’s childhood and work experiences.
Together, Greek-Jordanian sisters Nafsika and Stephanie Skourti, used their combined experiences in fashion and business to launch Nafsika Skourti. The brand creates versatile contemporary designs with each collection, but some signature elements include corsets, embellishments, and elegant fabrics.
Based in New York City, Lebas (which directly translates to clothes in Persian) has a modern take on fashion and culture. With multi-functional gear, airbrushed apparel, and quippy vintage-style tees, Lebas is a youthful fusion of Western styles and Middle Eastern heritage.
Named after the Arabic word for light to represent “the light between the heavens and Earth,” NÜR is a hypoallergenic jewelry brand. Inspired by her grandmother’s love for gold jewelry, Afghan-American founder Nilo sought out to create an affordable line that would make the outfit staple more accessible.
Recently spotted on the Golden Globes red carpet, Amir Taghi is a ready-to-wear luxury clothing brand led by its namesake. As creative director, Taghi draws inspiration from his Texan upbringing and Iranian heritage to create classic designs with modern touches.
Designer Amina Muaddi has gained global recognition for her bold accessories and distinctive shoes, but some may not know that her roots are Romanian and Jordanian. In 2021, she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year from Fashion Trust Arabia.
Worn by celebrities around the world, from Becky G to Huda Kattan, this Dubai-based eponymous brand is led by Egyptian designer Marmar Halim. Her popular evening gowns feature picturesque fabrics with unique silhouettes and intricate draping for an ethereal romantic feel.
Yasmeen Mjalli founded Nöl Collective, a fashion brand preserving traditional Palestinian craft. The label works with local artisans to sustainably produce clothes using cultural and eco-friendly techniques such as plant-based dyes and hand-weaving. Their latest collection for spring is adorned by hand-embroidered hearts in rich, colorful hues.
Iranian-Canadian designer DORIAN WHO began her namesake brand in 2019. Inspired by the freedom of creativity, her forte is avant-garde streetwear as exemplified by imaginative silhouettes, eye-catching fabrics, and bold accessories. In 2022, she was recognized in the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards as a nominee for the Emerging Talent, Fashion Award.
Yousef Al-Jasmi is responsible for making some of the biggest stars in the world glow even brighter. The Kuwaiti designer has dressed Beyoncé, Chloe + Halle, Kylie Jenner and more in his beaded and diamond-covered dresses.
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