JEDDAH: A fashion-loving young Saudi Arabian is trying to raise awareness about vintage fashion and the imprint fast fashion has on the world.
Alia Kurdi is a 27-year-old fashion enthusiast who collects, designs and sells vintage clothing in Saudi Arabia. She always thought that growing up the only way to express herself was through her clothes,
“There weren’t a lot of places for self-expression, and because I’m a bit of a radical person, I started showing my personality through my clothes, and that’s when I started making that connection with different pieces.”
Appreciation for vintage clothing ran within the Kurdi family. She told Arab News that her grandfather collected Versace shirts which were often loud and bright: “He didn’t dress like the typical Arab man. I still wear some of his shirts today, and people compliment them and are often shocked to learn that they belong to my grandfather.
I feel like I already have a connection with a piece; I feel called into a store, and immediately from afar I know what I’m going to buy as if these pieces speak to me. Usually they are extremely special whether it is the texture or the pattern.
People in Saudi Arabia have always recycled their used items through charity.
However, the situation has changed as the conversations around resale and used parts have evolved.
Kurdi said she started shopping consciously ever since she discovered fast fashion’s imprint on the world; it was then that she began to venture into vintage and second-hand shops. The collector said that once she started, she never looked back, and 2022 marks her seventh year without a fast mode.
Kurdi advised people considering getting into fast fashion to start with baby steps and set realistic goals: “One of the most negative things is buying for occasions because people think that they cannot repeat. Re-accessorize everything, borrow from your friends and lend them stuff. It will be the perfect way not to buy for occasions.
The collector said she loves exploring different streets and shops to find her clothes. she described the process of selecting what to buy as “intuitive”.
“I feel like I already have a connection with a piece; I feel called into a store, and immediately from afar I know what I’m going to buy as if these pieces speak to me. Usually they are extremely special, be it the texture or the pattern,” she said.
Kurdi also said that the pieces she selects turn out to be beautiful, and she developed this compass to find hidden treasures.
She describes her style as “Unicorn Emo”, someone who likes black a lot but also with bright colors. Her emotions are reflected in the outfit she wears.
“I received a lot of negative comments while I was growing up, and that triggered me a lot. However, now not only have I changed my approach, but people celebrate it a lot more; they say things like it’s amazing that I stayed true to myself,” she said.
“Nevertheless, a lot of people have said that I was a lot prettier a few years ago, and I admit that back then I was a lot more anxious.”
She said her favorite piece of clothing is a ‘Google Chrome’ jacket she bought in Berlin: “It’s black with lots of bright colors. I broke my spending limit rule on this jacket because I had to have it. So many people complimented me. I also made a friend thanks to that. I’m so happy he found me.
She gave the jacket that name because the colors resembled the Google logo. If she had to sum up her style and personality in one piece of clothing, it would be this: “It’s rough in places and soft in places, it’s all black but also colorful. Kind of like how I feel all the time.
The collector launched her own brand where she connects people with pieces with stories, “Diskofrenzy was born because often I will find very special pieces but not in my size, but I had to collect them and keep them with me. My goal for my brand is to make Diskofrenzy the ultimate reference for vintage and recycled fashion.
The name connects two very personal things to Kurdi: Disco, which is vintage but now making a comeback, and she says she only feels a frenzy when she’s dancing or shopping. That’s why she decided the perfect name for her brand would be Diskofrenzy.
She said people often come up to her and tell her that only she can pull off a certain style. However, in his opinion, this is not true: “Anyone can do whatever they want. Just be quirky and weird and a little rebellious. Express yourself through what you wear.