#24H With Reem Al Kanhal: The Saudi-Based Designer on a Day in Her Life

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Behind the scenes at the Reem Al Kanhal 2015 Lookbook Shoot | Photographed by Anna Shtraus

Enter the rarefied personal life of Saudi-based designer, Reem Al Kanhal, as she balances a demanding work schedule with motherhood. In this 24-hour case study, Al Kanhal takes us on a “behind-the-scenes” journey of her busy life, rising early in the morning to see her daughters off to school before snatching a bit more rest before the rigors of the day begin. From home, she heads to the studio to work on patterns for a forthcoming collection, and later we find her checking in at her showroom. In our 24-hour feature, Al Kanhal shares everything from her morning beauty routine and eating preferences to the soundtrack of her day and her to-do list. In the fast-paced world of fashion, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important in life. The unexpected outcome of Al Kanhal’s diary is the clear fact that her daughters are a priority amid even the most hectic of schedules. It’s rewarding and empowering to bear witness to what can only be a tricky balancing act, and Al Kanhal makes it look easy.

Below, the designer’s schedule, from morning till evening.
6:00 a.m.
I am a mom and I have to kiss my daughters and check on them before they go to school. After that, I go back to sleep for two more hours.
9:00 a.m.

I start my day by washing my face and putting on my day cream – I use La Mer and Avène. I don’t like putting a lot of makeup on my face, so I’ve been taking good care of my skin since I was 20. I’ll have my ginger tea, put on my running shoes, and go on the treadmill for 30 minutes. After this, I have breakfast while checking my e-mails.

10:30 a.m.
After showering, I head straight to my studio to get some patterns done and make sure everything is going like it should; and of course, my favorite playlist is always in the background. I am currently obsessed with ‘Magic’ by Coldplay. Hussain Aljismi, Fairouz, and Mohammed Abdo are always on my playlist, as well as Frank Sinatra and Madonna. If I want to be surprised, I tune in to Kiss FM.

2:30 p.m.
Time to welcome my daughters back from school and ask them about their day and have lunch. Sometimes they are so excited about being the school’s leader for the day, that they tell me a story about bullies and how they handled it.

3:30 p.m.
I have green apple and green tea time while working. I’m not a healthy eater, but I’m also not getting any younger, so I have to be more aware in order to be a good example for my family.

5:00 p.m.
I start doing homework with my youngest. Today it’s Reading and Mathematics.

7:00 p.m.
I am drained from all the homework, so I take a break by stretching, meditating, and drinking another cup of tea.

8:00 p.m.
I go out to check on my showroom – I have two people working at the showroom as sales assistants and two more in my workshop, as well as a driver who runs a lot of errands – he’s amazing. We go through the display and check on the color order on the racks and all the little details. I also do a little catch-up with the ladies to see if they need anything. Nothing happens much in our studio unless we get a surprise visitor like we had a year and half ago; we had Michelle Rodriguez and producer Mohammed Al Turki visiting us in the showroom.

10:30 p.m.
I am back home – time to put on my favorite PJs and my favorite TV show or listen to music or read a book. I’m currently watching The Mindy Project and Downtown Abbey.

1:00 a.m.
Time to sleep, but mostly I don’t really get to sleep because I spend the night overthinking and working. Until it’s 2:00 a.m., sketching and inspiration could hit any time in the day or night, so pencils and papers are almost everywhere.

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