“Fashion has always been slightly enigmatic to me, that was until I started understanding people. Now I view fashion more from an anthropological and sociological perspective, as much as from an artistic one,” says Kuwaiti-born Badriyyah Alsabah, who has a defined sense of style that is mature beyond her years.
Badriyyah is currently on a temporary placement in Egypt, working for the United Nations Women, and involved in projects which endorse women’s empowerment in GCC countries. Her desire to change expectations flows through to her personal style, too. She doesn’t consider her approach to fashion as “typical” or “mainstream”, instead she embraces a more androgynous and avant-garde look. “Even before the menswear and streetwear trends, I was gravitating towards more tailored outfits that take inspiration from menswear,” she tells Bazaar, although her daily style tends to be more casual, “I like wearing every type of sweat pants you could imagine, and I love over-sized pieces.”
She cites high street brands like Cos and Everlane as her mainstays, and loves mid-market men’s labels like Thom Browne and Hood by Air. She also has a penchant for more progressive designers like Comme Des Garçons and Margiela. “I’ve been wearing a lot of Mads Nørgaard recently,” she tells us, before enthusiastically adding regional favourites Marzook and PM Basics to her constantly evolving list. Badriyyah keeps her accessory game focused, too. Her ears are decked in jewellery passed down by family members and flashy brand watches are cast aside in favour of her much-loved vintage Casio. She admits a weakness for trainers, confessing to owning over 120 pairs, including a coveted pair of Nike Air Force 1 Mid-17 and her beloved Adidas Superstar 80s City Pack Shanghai. “They are the one thing I wish I could find more of in Kuwait,” she says. Although she does find inspiration in the city’s old architecture, and loves shopping around Mubarakiya. “You can find some awesome kaftans and fabric patterns at the Bisht Souk. Al Othman also has a wonderfully-curated collection,” she notes.
While she is comfortable with her masculine MO, she confesses that, “My unorthodox style can make people wary of me, or intimidated.” She also admits that her biggest challenge in fashion lies between wearing what she wants and what’s expected. “I’m not really a dress or skirt person, so finding ways to fit those expectations while rising to the occasion is hard.” Still, she manages. She recalls the white jumpsuit she had tailor-made for her graduation. “I felt angelic in it, and super powerful.” As for her fashion rules? “Confidence is the first step to feeling and being stylish – if it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t wear it.”
Badriyyah Alsabah wears: Dress, KWD215 (Dhs2,620), Marques Almeida at Bloomingdale’s - Kuwait. Shoes, her own