Unabashedly himself, multi-hyphenate actor-singer-fashion designer Rawkan Binbella is forging ahead on a path all his own.
Designer behind streetwear brand Meoji, actor in Born a King, model… How did you end up here today?
I studied industrial engineering and supply chain management. It gave me the ability to foresee projects on a bigger scale and to organize and be cohesive. I’m using the skills I picked up from engineering to do more than one thing at a time, and I’ve always been creative, ever since I was a child. While growing up in the Nineties, I wrote intense stories. My mom was an English teacher, and she was adamant about learning languages. She taught me French as my first language and would reward me with books; I’ve read every RL Stine book ever written. It gave me this imaginative, storytelling mindset.
What does being Saudi mean to you?
It’s rooted in traditionalism but mixed with modernity right now.
You can’t be what you can’t see. How can we encourage Saudi youth to go towards more creative career paths?
Any seed you plant right now, the country is watering. We’re being celebrated. If you’re an artist, they’re looking for you. If you have something to give, if you have something to provide, then all you need to do is put it out there. You just create and there will be the community that backs you up; there will be opportunities for you.
What’s next for you?
I’m trying to mix all the mediums I’m interested in – I have a clothing line and I want to make it super creative and different than what’s going on. I worked as a professional model in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and it made me realize that, as a model, you’re not part of the bigger picture. You’re not the painter, you’re a color. That’s what gave me the push to create my own brand. All these brands struggle to create a community, and that’s what I focused on the most. The clothes that I make have songs, videos, and a cause behind it. If you buy the clothes, a QR code takes you to the song and music video.
How do you cultivate a positive mindset?
You must find it in your heart to want success for others in the same medium that you’re in.
What does authenticity mean to you?
It’s not being afraid of being yourself and knowing that you don’t have to be perfect, as long as you are searching for self-improvement. Being authentic is sticking to your gut feeling and not being swayed by trends. Usually, you’ll see a group of friends and they have the same haircuts, they have the same style, they’re 100% influenced by each other. And they are doing it because they see it on social media with their favorite artists. I don’t see that as being authentic unless you give it your own twist.
A quote you live by and a book you would recommend?
I’m a writer myself, so something I wrote was, “Escape the zone of comfort and convert it to your home.” As for a book, the Quran. It has all the laws of the universe; it sets standards of character.
Style: Nina Abdelfattah
Grooming: Dyna Dagger
Senior fashion market editor: Amine Jreissati
Photography assistant: Bertrand Dussart
Location: Hotel Cour des Vosges, Paris