Young, Arab and Proud

“Popular Practices of Nepotism and Gatekeeping Should Stop!”

Latifa Bint Saad answers Pulse’s questionnaire.

“My work has allowed me to dissect and analyze all facets of the fashion industry, especially styling and magazine publishing.”

Latifa Bint Saad is a Saudi Arabian stylist and creative director based between the MENA region and the EU. And the least we can say when we look at her work is that she is a driven, passionate and creative person. “I was fortunate enough to have my work published in multiple media platforms such as Elle, GQ, i-D and Vice,” she says.

PULSE’S QUESTIONNAIRE TO… LATIFA BINT SAAD

What is the one thing you wish people would stop wearing?
Fast fashion

Which creation of yours are you most proud of?
I get asked this a lot, but honestly, my projects are like my children, it’s really hard to pick a favorite.

What was your worst fashion faux pas?
Definitely high heel sneakers.

If you were to choose one of your looks, or that of any other designer of your choice to wear every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would rotate between the couture looks from Raf Simons’ debut Dior collection.

Who do you dream of dressing?
Cher

When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter?
Sleep is sacred to me, so maybe during high school.

What is your dream guest list of five persons (dead or alive) for a private dinner party at your house?
Raf Simons, Edward Saïd, Erykah Badu, Sherihan and Martin Scorsese.

What does the word “sustainability” mean to you?
The future!

What would be the title of your Netflix documentary?
Latifa Bint Saad: The September Issue(s).

Describe the MENA region in three words:
Diversity, Home, Family.

How does “Young, Arab and Proud” translate in your work? 
I try to inject my culture into everything. I do think it’s really important for us not to lose our identity.

What is the Arab DNA made of?
Pride and a whole lot of food.

What is the most common misconception about being an Arab?
Among the common misconceptions that many choose to ignore are the modern orientalist tropes, created to be used against us. As Arab creatives, it is our responsibility to educate others about these misconceptions.

If you could travel in time to meet any Arab icon, who would it be, and why?
Omar Sharif. I am obsessed with him.

What makes you uncomfortable in the MENA fashion industry and that you would like to see changed? 
Popular practices of nepotism and gatekeeping.

How is the gender-neutral trend translated in the MENA fashion?
Historically, if we look through the timeline of Arab fashion, unisex and gender-neutral fashion have always been considered normal. In Saudi Arabia, we can see this through the Wizar, a popular garment worn by local fishermen. Designer Arwa Al-Banawi has a beautiful modern interpretation of this piece.

What is the one Arab tradition you would want to change and what is the one you adore?
The cultural shaming of women is what I dislike the most, while traditions I love are annual picnics, when the weather is nice.

What is the Arab dish you could eat every day?
Mentu, a Jeddawi dumpling dish.

What is your favorite Arabic song, that is often stuck on repeat in your playlist?
Anything by the Miami Band.

Um Kulthum or Fairuz?
How dare you make me choose!

What is the one city in the MENA region you could live in forever and why?
There is a popular saying in Hijazi culture: “Jeddawis are like fish, you cannot take them out of the water, as they will perish.”