Mariam Mossally, a woman behind a popular book showing Saudi women in casual clothing, tells Lindsay Judge that she wanted to portray the changes in women’s fashion in recent years
“Saudi women are elegant and want the whole world to know them,” says Marriam Mossalli, creator of “Under Abaya: The Saudi Arabian Street Style.” The book, a demonstration of photos of Saudi women in their everyday costumes, worries in social networks and the international press due to the honesty and amazing nature of certain images. All the pictures were presented by the women themselves, showing that in fact the fashion in the Kingdom is something very different from what is often perceived.
We see many more people in the street, dressed modestly, but not in Abai, says Marriam
“I wanted to introduce all the women of Saudi Arabia, and that’s how the concept of” Under Abaya “was born,” says Marriam. “It’s not only women who work in fashion, but also real women – teachers, sellers … real women who live in our country and what they really are, for me it is important that the book is recognized internationally,
“Women in Saudi Arabia see this every day, and we know what we are wearing, but I get the greatest reaction from [the people] abroad.” Perhaps because many of the outfits that women wear in the book are not Abai. They are elegant, comfortable and in many cases identical to what you or I will wear. Yes, in Saudi Arabia in recent years there have been big changes. ”
Marriam, who was born to an American mother and father of Saudi Arabia, spent most of his childhood in the kingdom. “Now people dress differently,” she says, adding: “We like to mix and match, and I hope that Abay will become one of the things that everyone wants to wear as a kimono, girls in a dress or abay on jeans, we now we see much in Saudi Arabia. ”
Social media also had a big impact on the culture of Saudi Arabia, according to Marriam, a former journalist and founder of fashionable blog shoes and drama, which now has 44,000 followers on Instagram, first-hand.
Mariam explains: “Everyone is a blogger and an influence, you could tell if there was someone from Riyadh or Jeddah, how they dressed, but now everything has become completely consistent – people who love your photos” Women did not like photography, because they felt out of place, the men were too frightened to “like” the photos of a woman, but these worries are not so bad, I get it now. It’s not that they meet with me, but because they are more inclined to participation – they are really interested in fashion and in the fact that oiskhodit, all this new dialogue in Saudi Arabia.
The recent weakening of some women’s laws has been widely covered in the media. At the end of last year, women were allowed to ride for the first time. In March of this year, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman, said that women should not wear abay or close their faces. The launch of this book, which reveals a unique style that some women have, could not come at a better time.
The situation of women is also changing in order to hide their faces. Mariam explains: “We covered some faces stylistically, and not because women did not want to show their faces, in fact, many girls insulted that we close their faces, so we tried to show as much as possible a special girl with a skin problem on her face , she really did not want us to censor her face, and I think that we’ll all meet in the next release, which was so different two years ago, when I started doing it. Look for the book. ”
All the girls in the book are nominated. They were asked to send a photo suggesting that people should know about them. “The reason I asked for the proposal is that the book is not very fashionable, it’s more about the Saudi woman, I want the rest of the world to understand that we do not see this media avatar alone as black and hidden behind our man , we are women who go to education – because women are often more educated than men, and they want their voices to be heard.
What is the future of fashion in Saudi Arabia? If the laws are relaxed, will fashion trends also be laid back?
“What many people and fashion brands do not understand is that fashion is very enlightening in Saudi Arabia, women often take their abai by talking with other women and their outfits are full, but some brands are not listed that are fully covered or completely, and we really do not want this under our abay.