Youssef Akbar: A Saudi Designer Redefining Fashion with Elegance and Boldness


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Youssef Akbar, a name that has become synonymous with innovation, elegance, and daring creativity in the fashion world, is fresh off presenting his latest collection at the third annual Riyadh Fashion Week. His unique vision and bold style have captivated audiences worldwide, earning him accolades and a loyal following. As he continues to break new ground, Youssef Akbar’s journey reflects his commitment to creative expression and his passion for storytelling through fashion.

Born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Youssef Akbar’s journey from logistics student to renowned designer is nothing short of remarkable. Since launching his brand in 2017, Akbar has risen to prominence, dressing celebrities like Sharon Stone, Chrissy Teigen, and Kelly Rowland. His contemporary evening-wear brand stands at the intersection of sustainability, ethics, and elegance. His path into fashion is unique, driven by a deep need for creative expression rather than a desire to hold the title of fashion designer. 

The Unconventional Path

Growing up in a conservative Saudi family during the ’90s, the idea of becoming a male fashion designer seemed unimaginable. However, fate had other plans for Youssef. A scholarship led him to Australia, where he pursued logistics and supply chain management. But his yearning for unique clothing persisted. Unable to afford the garments he envisioned, Youssef made a daring choice: he enrolled in fashion school, not as a designer but to learn the art of creating his clothing. Little did he know that this decision would alter the course of his life forever.

The Creative Process

Youssef Akbar’s creative process is deeply personal and autobiographical. It begins with strong feelings or reactions to events in his life. He immerses himself in research, drawing inspiration from art, history, movies, and the world around him. These references transform into sketches, cuts, and drapes on the mannequin, ultimately shaping his final looks and collections. For Youssef, fashion isn’t just about titles; it’s a medium for self-expression.

Youssef Akbar Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Renaissance

As Saudi Arabia opens itself to the world, cultural events like Riyadh Fashion Week are transforming the industry. Youssef acknowledges the challenges—the lack of a complete fashion infrastructure—but remains optimistic. The Ministry of Culture and Fashion Commission’s efforts are unprecedented, promising a strong fashion industry that rivals global capital.

Showcasing the Latest Collection

At the third annual Riyadh Fashion Week, Akbar presented a collection that delves into the power and influence of women, particularly those who have inspired him throughout his life. The event was a significant milestone, reflecting both his personal growth and the evolution of the Saudi fashion industry.

Themes and Inspirations of the Collection

The Orchid motif in Akbar’s collection holds deep symbolic meaning. The latest collection was inspired by Akbar’s mother and the broader concept of motherhood. He incorporated the Orchid motif, a symbol of fertility and sexuality, as a central element. This motif was a tribute to his mother and a reflection of the strong, influential women in his life. This personal touch adds a layer of depth to his work, making each piece not just a garment but a story.

Challenges in the Saudi Fashion Industry

Despite the rapid growth of the Saudi fashion industry, there are still significant challenges. The lack of a complete fashion infrastructure and fully developed industry parts poses obstacles for designers like Akbar. However, these challenges also present opportunities for growth and innovation. The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Fashion Commission is actively working to address these gaps. Their efforts to develop the industry are seen as unprecedented and almost miraculous by Akbar and his peers. With continued support, the Saudi fashion scene is poised to become a global player.

Future Plans and Aspirations

Looking ahead, Youssef Akbar has ambitious plans for his brand. He aims to continue pushing the boundaries of fashion, exploring new themes and stories through his designs. His vision is to create a brand that resonates with audiences and contributes to the cultural narrative of Saudi Arabia. Akbar is also committed to nurturing the next generation of Saudi designers. He hopes to inspire and support emerging talent, helping to build a robust and dynamic fashion industry in the Kingdom. His contributions go beyond his collections, as he actively participates in shaping the future of Saudi fashion.

In a world where creativity knows no bounds, Youssef Akbar continues to inspire and uplift. His story reminds us that chasing dreams, defying norms, and infusing creativity into every facet of life can lead to extraordinary achievements. As Saudi Arabia’s fashion scene evolves, Youssef’s legacy shines brightly—a beacon for aspiring designers and fashion enthusiasts alike

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