Couturier Mohamed Benchellal was born in the Netherlands to Moroccan parents. The designer grew up surrounded by the sound of sewing machines as his grandparents worked in textiles, exposing him to fashion at an early age. After studying at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy, he launched his namesake label Benchellal in 2015 on a limited budget that pushed him to work with deadstock materials and leftover fabrics, a more sustainable approach that has become a hallmark of the brand. Though his eveningwear designs sometimes feature a nod to traditional Moroccan craft, their mainstay is sleek, voluptuous silhouettes marked by sculptural cuts. Benchellal has become a favourite for Hollywood stylists looking to dress celebrities at high-impact occasions, including Sharon Stone, Billy Porter, Alicia Keys and Iris Apfel on her 100th birthday.
In 2020, Benchellal won the Vogue Arabia Fashion Prize, an annual competition dedicated to recognising promising fashion talent from across the Arab world. In addition to a financial grant and mentorship, he was given a placement on Net-a-Porter. A year later, the Amsterdam-based designer won the Fashion Trust Arabia’s prize for eveningwear, presented by co-chair Tania Fares under the patronage of regional style icon HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser , wife of the previous Emir of Qatar. Benchellal’s winning streak continued in 2022 at the Emigala Fashion Awards where he was named designer of the year.