Student's fashion collection shines in New York City

Mashail Alghamdi walks out with her models.
Mashail Alghamdi walks out with her models at ASC Fashion Week. Click for a gallery of Alghamdi's models in Couture and ASC Fashion Weeks.

New York City -- Under the bright lights, senior Mashail Alghamdi’s fashion collection shined at Couture Fashion Week and ASC Fashion Week.

Her collection shined so brightly that one would think she was an established pillar of New York Fashion Week.

Not only was it her first time being in the prestigious event, Alghamdi was the first currently enrolled Radford University student to be accepted into New York Fashion Week and the first designer from Saudi Arabia.

Alghamdi’s first order of business when arriving for New York Fashion Week was selecting the models to display “The Buckingham Collection,” her collection named after Queen Elizabeth I, her inspiration, in the ASC Fashion Show on Saturday, Sept. 8 and in the Couture Fashion Week show on Sunday, Sept. 9.

“I always look for everyday people to model for me because these are my customers,” Alghamdi said. “I’m not looking for super models. I have all heights and all sizes to showcase my garments. I want [the customers] to see themselves in my garments to feel empowered.”

One of Alghamdi's models, Alanis Garcia, of Atlanta, said that "it was a huge honor to be selected as a model by a designer with good goals and drive."

The inspiration for Alghamdi’s line came from a fashion history class she took at Radford, where Alghamdi was inspired by Queen Elizabeth I.

“She’s considered one of the most powerful women in history,” Alghamdi said. “She inspired me to build the whole brand with the concept of the customer to be powerful and sophisticated at the same time.”

Alghamdi’s journey to Radford began when she didn’t like her major in her native country of Saudi Arabia. After discovering that the Radford design program is among the best in the United States, she knew she found her next home.

“Honestly, Radford helped me so much,” Alghamdi said. “When I started school, I didn’t know how to sew or anything. I went to school with zero experience in fashion. Now, I feel like an expert. I feel like I am competing with the big designers and that is a great thing. I am so glad that I chose Radford.”

Alghamdi's models in Couture Fashion Week

Alghamdi's models in Couture Fashion Week

Even up in New York City, the Radford Family made Alghamdi feel at home. Two of her design professors, Farrell Doss and John Jacob, traveled to New York to see her showcase her collection and some of Alghamdi’s former classmates – now Radford alumni – made the trip to support her.

“That is so amazing to have my professors here to support me,” Alghamdi said. “It means so much to me and I really appreciate it. Not only my professors, I also have my friends from fashion design here. They’re at the show. That’s incredible.”

Danielle Briggs ’18, one of Alghamdi’s fashion classmates, said that they all became a family because of the small class sizes.

“Everyone came up to support her and see the show,” Briggs said. “We were there for the whole process. We encouraged each other and it was a very family-oriented space with encouragement and inspiration. I love that we’re like that. We’re all so proud of Mashail.”

Radford alumni take a photo on the catwalk prior to Couture Fashion Week.
Radford alumni take a photo on the catwalk prior to Couture Fashion Week. Click for a gallery of behind the scenes photos from ASC and Couture Fashion Weeks.

Jacob said that he’s “incredibly proud” of Alghamdi’s accomplishment.

“She has a fantastic career ahead of her,” Jacob said. “To do what she did at such a young age, while being a mother to two kids, is incredible. Her line displayed so well at the fashion show and was one of, if not the, best in the show.”

Alghamdi’s designs incorporated angular designs that showcase her goal of fashion being more than fashion – it’s her signature look.

“I like being able to make something that looks like a dress, but at the same time has dimension to it,” she said. “It’s like art to me, it’s more than fashion.”

Alghamdi brought her artistic designs up to New York City – all 12 of them – in her Volkswagen Beetle.

“I had to take everything I needed, might need or may never need,” Alghamdi said. “I don’t know how everything fit in that car. I have everything jewelry, shoes garments, something I call fashion aid – a small sewing machine, a mini steamer, threads, needles – literally anything I could need.”

Alghamdi’s appearance in Couture Fashion Week went smoothly – and after her collection was shown, she was swarmed by fashion reporters and guests.

The perfect ending to her historic appearance in New York Fashion Week.

“It was my vision to be in New York fashion week and I worked on that vision since I started at Radford University,” Alghamdi said.

Alghamdi's husband and family supported her throughout the entire process to help her vision become reality.

To keep up with Mashail Alghamdi, follow her on Instagram.

Alghamdi watches her models have their makeup done prior to Couture Fashion Week.

Alghamdi watches her models have their makeup done prior to Couture Fashion Week.

Sep 19, 2018
Max Esterhuizen