Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Clothing and Embroidery of the Al Otaibi Tribe of West Saudi Arabia: The Historical Importance of Embroidery, Identity, and Dress in the Design of Modern Saudi Apparel

Samirah Alotaibi, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Traditional dress represents national culture and historical heritage and includes all items, garments, and body modifications that embody the past for members of a certain group. An embroidered ethnic garment holds significance and diverse cultural meanings for both the makers and women wearing the garments. Wearing ethnic garments connects the new generation to their ethnic identity and cultural heritage.The purpose of this study was to better understand changing perceptions in traditional wedding costumes of the Otaibi tribe, and to explore ways to develop new apparel designs for Saudi Arabian women. The FEA framework guided apparel design intended to accommodate the new Otaibi generation and bridges the gap between outdated, historic styles and modern, fashion-forward approaches to dressing. The study investigated the importance and meaning of traditional wedding costumes from the perspective of women who have practiced embroidering traditional garments as well as young Otaibi women who respect the historical importance and expect these elements to be a part of their current clothing.Vital to this research was the design and construction of a collection of clothing inspired by the traditional wedding costume to reflect the Otaibi identity in a new way that reinforces the value of the ancient, traditional clothing of Western Saudi Arabia. The results from this study found that for Otaibi women, the making, wearing, and owning of traditional dress is an expression of the Hijazi ethnic identity. Otaibi women's accounts of their ethnic dress reflected significant meanings through both the production of the traditional dress and the use of the garments. Results of this study identified garment characteristics to support consumers’ demand for functional, expressive, and aesthetic apparel. This research contributes to apparel design scholarship and adds to the FEA framework pertaining to design with ethnic elements incorporated into modern apparel. This will enable future designers to better meet the Saudi consumer's needs – specifically, the needs of Otaibi women.

Subject Area

Middle Eastern Studies|Fashion|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Alotaibi, Samirah, "Clothing and Embroidery of the Al Otaibi Tribe of West Saudi Arabia: The Historical Importance of Embroidery, Identity, and Dress in the Design of Modern Saudi Apparel" (2021). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI28419360.