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Looking Fly: Ashi Studio Designs Uniforms For Riyadh Air Cabin Crew

Fly in style

Mohammed Ashi, the Saudi couturier behind Paris-based Ashi Studio, is set to create the inaugural fashion line for Riyadh Air’s cabin crew. The new airline is poised to take to the skies with its maiden flight in 2025.

Ashi will unveil the uniform design concepts and share his inspiration during Paris Haute Couture Week in the French capital from June 22-27, with the full uniform launch scheduled for later this year.

Riyadh Air’s CEO Tony Douglas expressed his excitement, stating, “The cabin crew fashion line is one of the first things our guests will see when they board our aircraft in 2025, and we are confident that Ashi’s unique designs will leave a lasting impression, ensuring the experience lives long in their memory after they have landed.”

Reflecting on this milestone, Ashi said, “It’s such an honor to collaborate with Riyadh Air to design the airline’s first-ever cabin crew fashion line. The airline will play an important role in the future of Saudi Arabia by making Riyadh one of the world’s key destinations. I am delighted to be part of a project so significant for our nation. It’s an exciting time to be in Saudi Arabia and to witness another Saudi brand going global. I look forward to sharing the cabin crew fashion line with the world and seeing the Riyadh Air team wearing my creations when it takes its maiden flight in 2025.”

Drawing inspiration from the golden age of aviation, the Saudi-born couturier delved into visual references such as the 2002 comedy-drama Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio and midcentury travel photographs of the British Royal Family. “I journeyed back to the 1950s and ’60s to capture their glamor,” he explained to WWD. “I then infused it with touches of futurism to harmonize with today’s modernity and envision its future.”

However, don’t expect his usual elaborate sculptural couture gliding down the aisles. “A couture dress flying commercial? That’s not going to work,” he joked, noting that he drew inspiration from the practical yet elegant approaches of couturiers like Balenciaga, blending high fashion with ready-to-wear practicality.

Ashi spent his early years mastering his craft in the United States, working for international couture houses before settling in Paris. Since then, Ashi has become a true trailblazer in the Arab world. His creations have adorned major celebrities and royals, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Kylie Minogue, Penélope Cruz, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, and Queen Rania of Jordan, making him an iconic figure in Saudi Arabia.

Notably, he became the first couturier from the Gulf region to join the Fédération de la Haute Couture in Paris as a guest member in 2023 and was also the first designer from the Gulf to be included in the BoF 500 list, the Business of Fashion’s index of the people shaping the fashion industry, in 2023.

This isn’t the first time fashion and aviation have joined forces. The two disciplines have previously collaborated to ensure airline employees look their best, even after a long-haul flight. The golden years of flying in the 1960s and 70s saw the futuristic stylings of Italian designer Emilio Pucci for Braniff International and French designer Pierre Balmain, who created the iconic Singapore Airlines uniforms. In 2018, New York fashion designer Zac Posen teamed up with Delta Airlines to create their new line of uniforms, following the launch of Vivienne Westwood’s sleek, red uniforms for Virgin Atlantic’s 30th anniversary.

Riyadh Air, a venture of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, made its grand debut in March 2023. The airline’s striking purple-toned livery was unveiled on a Boeing 787 aircraft at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget in June 2023. With certification flights commencing in September and the code RXI, Riyadh Air is set to soar on its maiden voyage in July 2025.

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