"To be the first Middle East designer to collaborate with Adidas is a moment I'll remember forever" – Arwa Al Banawi
In conversation with the Dubai-based fashion designer
A didas have cemented their Middle Eastern street cred in a new collaboration with emerging Saudi fashion designer, Arwa Al Banawi. Creating a limited edition 10-piece capsule collection, Banawi took athleisure to new high-sock-heights. Here Buro 24/7 Middle East's Editor in Chief Shannon Wylie speaks to Banawi about being the first Middle Eastern designer (and woman) to work with Adidas Originals...
Congratulations on the collaboration with Adidas. Tell us about the collection...
Thank you. Adidas is a brand that I've looked up to ever since their "all in" campaigns — growing up I used to save those ads on my PC. The brand celebrates originality and empowers youth to escalate their ideas to their highest potential. It's also a brand that collaborates with music artists, and music is something I'm very passionate about — it influences my brand a lot because music and art move me.
What does it mean to you to be an Arab designer working with an international activewear brand?
Adidas Originals gave me an opportunity that I'll never forget. To be the first Middle East designer to collaborate with Adidas is a moment I'll remember forever. Adidas celebrates being different, they show that you don't have to be shy in your own skin, they celebrate individuality and I truly believe in that message. It's also a brand that has a deep message in every campaign and the slogan of my brand "the suitable woman" is about empowering women and to celebrate them always.
ADIDAS IS A BRAND THAT I LOOK UP TO. GROWING UP IT WAS ONE OF THE BRANDS THAT GAVE ME HOPE
To celebrate the collection, you partnered with an Arabic musician. Tell us about that...
I couldn't have done the amazing (collection launch) show without the artist Layla Kardan; she's very passionate about her music and she believes in the power of sending inspiring messages to women through her songs. Adidas also set an example, showcasing what they stand for as believers in art and music; they gave me an opportunity to stand with them and relay my message.
What's your opinion on the activewear trend?
The active trend is very expressive. There are no rules at all because it is what people wear throughout their day without being restricted by a dress code. This collaboration, for Adidas Originals, is more about athleisure, is more about contemporary wear for the woman who wants to wear a blazer after the gym and head to dinner while rocking the EQT sneakers with adidas high socks! It was really inspired by that lifestyle: easy comfortable street and sportswear that is still elegant and cool.
What are your favourite pieces from the collection?
That's hard as it's a collection of 10 looks and I really love every single piece especially the hoodie and the suit that spelt "physical education".
What did you learn from the process?
To never lose faith in gods plans, a dream could happen if you're honest and determined in the message you want to give, and when a group of artists come together to give an honest message to the world it really is all that matters.
What's next for you?
I'm planning to showcase my SS18 collection at Paris Fashion Week in September inshallah.
Discover the Arwa Al Banawi x Adidas Originals P.E. collection at BYND72 this September, 2016. Also don't miss the Alexander Wang x Adidas collection out now.