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3.3 Dialogues on the Art of Arab Fashion: Under the ‘Abāyah

3.3 Dialogues on the Art of Arab Fashion: Under the ‘Abāyah

Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 6 to 7 pm Gulf Standard Time (UTC+4)

Tickets here.

Dr Reem El Mutwalli in conversation with Marriam Mossalli, Entrepreneur & Author, Under The Abaya: Street Style from Saudi Arabia.

Join us for our next dialogue – ‘Under the ‘Abāyah’ – a window into the diverse Saudi fashion scene and the progressive young women behind it.


Marriam Mossalli, a Jeddah-based female entrepreneur and luxury-goods expert, founded Niche Arabia in 2011. Her award-winning luxury communications and consulting firm has garnered international recognition for elevating the Saudi Arabian fashion industry and successfully connecting global brands with regional markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Marriam began her fashion career a decade ago as an editor-journalist, shortly after graduating from the George Washington University with a degree in psychology. She established the “Life & Style” section of Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English-language daily newspaper, and has regularly contributed to international periodicals such as Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Marie Claire Arabia, and Hia magazine. Marriam has been interviewed by the likes of CNN, Al Arabiya, and MBC, and continues to be called upon for her extensive knowledge of the luxury-goods and creative industries.

Marriam’s role as a pioneering ambassador for the Middle Eastern fashion industry was cemented in 2014 with an invitation from first lady Michelle Obama to attend the “Celebration of Design” gala at the White House. Marriam was the sole Arab invitee, setting her apart in a crowd of international guests.

Marriam was the first Saudi national to be included on the prestigious Business of Fashion 500 list, which recognizes the fashion industry’s most trailblazing figures. She also made the British Fashion Council’s first-ever NEW WAVE: Creatives list, ranking her among the world’s most innovative and inspiring young talents.

As part of a driven generation of Saudi women who have broken unprecedented ground in their professions, Marriam has proudly represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at a host of global events. They include the CULTURUNNERS STORYTELLING SYMPOSIUM, a joint venture held by Art Jameel, Edge of Arabia, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to expand cross-cultural dialogue between the United States and the Middle East; “Under The Abaya: Evolving Women’s Fashion in Saudi Arabia,” a series of talks she hosted in Los Angeles in partnership with the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture and the Middle East Institute; and the Women Economic Forum (WEF), the world’s largest gathering of female leaders and entrepreneurs. Additionally, Marriam has been a keynote participant at highly publicized conferences around the Gulf, including Arab Luxury World, Simply Stylist, and a live panel discussion with actor John Travolta on the state of cinema in Saudi Arabia, which took place at Riyadh’s APEX Convention Center.

Most recently, Marriam published a photography book titled Under The Abaya: Street Style from Saudi Arabia, a window into the diverse Saudi fashion scene and the progressive young women behind it. The book immediately sold out its first run, and has earned praise from both the international press and established local institutions.


Dr Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, is a published author, lead curator and public speaker. With over 30 years of experience, she is an expert consultant in Islamic art and architecture, interior design, historic dress and UAE heritage.

She is also the founder of the Zay Initiative. A non-profit UK registered initiative advancing the preservation of cultural heritage, through the collection, documentation and digital archiving of Arab historical attire and their stories. Our goal is to empower and sustain global cross-cultural dialogue to inspire creative minds.


Raised in the Middle East, educated in the UK, Emma has a profound understanding and passion for bridging gaps regarding culture and business, whilst navigating geo-political environments.

Emma is a highly motivated, award-winning, experienced project leader, communications and business development professional with over 15 years’ experience.

As the Festival Director of Dubai Lynx from 2011 to 2016, she strategically grew the event and left a legacy, building the foundation that sees the festival thrive across multiple markets today. Now an entrepreneur and mother, Emma set up ‘Chameleon’, helping businesses reach their potential whilst ensuring they do better for good.

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