Al-Bishri, Yahya (1962)

Yahya al-Bishri, 1962. Yahya al-Bishri, 1962.

Yahya al-Bishri is a Saudi Arabian fashion designer who uses embroidery to decorate men’s wear. Yahya al-Bishri was born in Abha, southwestern Saudi Arabia, and later moved to Jeddah. He was trained as a fashion designer at the Istituto Marangoni, Milano, Italy and the Paris American Academy, Paris, France. He also spent a period at the fashion house of Jean-Louis Scherrer (Paris).

Al-Bishri returned to Saudi Arabia in 1990 and opened a small boutique in Jeddah. He started a line of men’s robes (thob) and sleeveless cloaks (aba) worn over the shoulders. His new line moved away from the traditional colours of white for the thob and either black or light brown for the aba. The new thobs included elaborate geometric embroidery and in some cases appliqué patches made of jean material or leather. Many of the garments were coloured. His clothes were sold under the brand name of Yahya.

According to the Saudi journalist, Faiza Saleh Ambah, the designs on al-Bishri's garments are inspired by Arabic and Islamic art, including the geometric drawings on the houses from the Najd and the southern Asir regions, as well as the latticework on windows and doors from the Hijaz, all in Saudia Arabia.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is known to have asked the designer to make him a number of coats similar to those worn by his father and a selection of thobs in bright fabrics, thereby establishing a precedent that members of the royal family, and others, could follow. Shortly afterwards al-Bishri's garments were featured in a cultural festival, with much media coverage. The royal patronage meant that al-Bishri's designs and garments could now be worn by both men and women in public. By 2008 al-Bishri had a two-floor luxury shop for men and women’s clothing in Jeddah, one in Riyadh (the capital of Saudi Arabia), and a showroom in Paris.


Digital source of illustration (retrieved 29 May 2016)


Last modified on Friday, 03 March 2017 19:30