Saudi fashion designer Mohammed Ashi announced Monday he had joined France’s haute couture federation, becoming the first couturier from the Gulf region to join the prestigious roster. His eponymous label Ashi Studio will have its first show as part of the official line-up of Paris Fashion Week’s haute couture shows on July 6.“This appointment is the highlight of my career,” Ashi said in a statement. “This recognition brings me the greatest emotion, it offers me the opportunity to share with you who I am.” Ashi’s clothes have adorned many stars and celebrities on red carpets, including Deepika Padukone, Beyonce and Lady Gaga. He launched his label in Beirut in 2007 and moved his headquarters to Paris in 2018.
“In the 90s I was the only designer from Saudi. But I never said I was Saudi. I wanted the clothes to be out front, not me,” Ashi told AFP in an interview earlier this year. Now, with his country going through momentous social changes, he has been welcomed home as a mentor for its Fashion Commission, set up in 2020 to help build a homegrown industry. “They’re giving scholarships to people for something that was prohibited when I was growing up. It’s an iconic moment,” he said.