The idea that fashion can act as an armour and translator to those unfamiliar with distant cultures is (still) a novel, and sometimes bristled, idea. So when it comes to countries where gender remains unequal, even talking about it feels like an act of bravery. But we persist with the help of influences far and wide by way of social media. It's how those radical acts of fashion, such as Under The Abaya — a book that highlights the street style of women in Saudi Arabia — have made their way to the Western hemisphere.
Following the ripple of positive changes in women’s rights under Saudi Vision 2030 — Prince Mohammad bin Salman's plan to improve Saudi Arabia in areas like infrastructure, tourism, and its economy, which has most recently granted women the right to drive — entrepreneur and fashion editor Marriam Mossalli sought to bring attention to Saudi women and their style. Under The Abaya is a collection of user-submitted photographs that represent fashion as a symbol of independence, which yes, can sometimes come in the form of designer labels (like Dior's popular 'We Should All Be Feminists' tee or a Chanel 'Boy' bag).
Under The Abaya, which is published by Niche Arabia in partnership with Cadillac, aims to showcase individualism at its best — personal style that's embedded in heritage, fully confident in its own sense of cultural identity, and connected to what's trending today. Proceeds from the book, by the way, will be dedicated to Niche Studio's fashion design scholarship fund, which offers financial aid to designs students in the Middle East. So, don't just add Under The Abaya to your home library — buy it for your friends, too. The slideshow ahead proves that, sure, clothes are cool and all, but they can also be revolutionary.