Cameron Silver Unveils the Legacy of Caftans Influenced by The Enduring Legacy of The KSA

Embark on a journey through the world of fashion with Cameron Silver, the visionary behind LA’s renowned vintage boutique, Decades. As the author of “Decades: A Century of Fashion,” Silver’s expertise spans vintage couture, celebrity styling, and museum curation. The artist has also spent exponential time in the KSA and his latest book showcases the immense influence that the Middle East had upon him.

In his latest work, Silver delves into the timeless allure of caftans, tracing their evolution from ancient origins to modern runways. Working in tandem with Hatem Alakeel, founder and CEO of Authenticite, Silver expanded his knowledge in both the fashion sphere and the cultural legacy of the KSA. Moreover, he’s featured one of Hatem Alakeel’s personal designs in his book. Speaking of their collaboration, Silver said, “When HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud invited me to Riyadh to present my first book in 2014, I wanted to dress traditionally and was honoured to be connected with Hatem Alakeel. He made the most beautiful thobes for me to wear during my visit. I continue to wear these elegant designs and hope to return to the Gulf for my book on Caftans. It will be an opportunity to get some more thobes, too!”

Their friendship and ongoing collaboration continues to this day. And so, we join Silver on this insightful journey through the rich tapestry of fashion history, where every page tells a story of elegance and timeless style. And of course, find out what the true meaning of authenticity entails for the multifaceted artist.

What drove you to start collating ‘Caftans: From Classical To Camp’?

When Vendome Press approached me about doing a book the theme of caftans seemed very relevant and organically developed since there was nothing else on the subject.

“VARIATIONS OF CAFTANS HAVE BEEN WORN SINCE PALEOLITHIC TIMES!“

Why do you think caftans never go out of style?

Variations of caftans have been worn since Paleolithic times, so if it was good over two million years ago, I am confident it is shape that has stood the test of time.

How can we make society perceive caftans as unisex as opposed to being just for one gender?

Caftans are the original unisex garment so if one simply looks at the historic precedent, it is easy to acknowledge and respect the fluidity of the garment since it was first conceived.

What started your passion for vintage garments?

I wore a vintage 1950s navy tux to my high school prom in 1987. I have always loved things from the past (from music, theatre, art, and fashion). Vintage fashion let’s me be one-of-a-kind and a fashion dictator not a follower since vintage always inspires the future of fashion as a resource for creativity.

What is your most precious find?

The best things come out of the closets of women and men of a certain age who have decided to edit their belongings and I love the stories behind these pieces. Most recently, I met a divine woman who had the most stunning Gucci alligator train case in a pristine collection.

VINTAGE FASHION LET’S ME BE ONE – OF – A KIND A FASHION DICTATOR… NOT A FOLLOWER!“

Why do you think young people and the fashion industry at large has now started to gravitate more towards vintage clothing?

In a world of ubiquitous luxury, vintage is an ideal option to personalize your style. Everything is accessible, but when adding vintage to your wardrobe, you are distinctive. I think young people are liberated to express themselves in fashion and mixing in vintage is quite simply, cool.

What started your passion for vintage garments?

I wore a vintage 1950s navy tux to my high school prom in 1987. I have always loved things from the past (from music, theatre, art, and fashion). Vintage fashion let’s me be one-of-a-kind and a fashion dictator not a follower since vintage always inspires the future of fashion as a resource for creativity.

“I THINK YOUNG PEOPLE ARE LIBERATED TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES… IN FASHION VINTAGE IS COOL.”

Why do you think young people and the fashion industry at large has now started to gravitate more towards vintage clothing?

In a world of ubiquitous luxury, vintage is an ideal option to personalize your style. Everything is accessible, but when adding vintage to your wardrobe, you are distinctive. I think young people are liberated to express themselves in fashion and mixing in vintage is quite simply, cool.

What is the most important thing that you want to transmit through your latest book?

Caftans are for everyone and are the original size-inclusive, gender-fluid, DIY, high-to-low, modest-yet-sexy, day-to-evening, comfort without athleisure garment that has existed in various incarnations on every continent and is part of wardrobes of so many different societies. if the United Nations required one style of dress, it should be the caftan since it can look good on everyone and exists in so many cultures.

What is style to you?

Not being basic or boring and knowing that’s chic to repeat. A truly stylish person takes a garment in their wardrobe and re-styles uniquely for multiple occasions. Everyone has style, but not everyone knows it!

Less is more or more is more?

I go both ways. Sometimes I am a minimalist and sometimes I want to be excessive. Both can be wonderful. Just be authentic.

What is authenticity to you?

Ah, the perfect question! First and foremost, authenticity comes from your soul, not your clothes so every day I try to be the best version of myself and in doing so I try to express myself through clothes, too. I am often an authentic eccentric, but as much as I may be admired for my style, I hope I am an authentically good person, too.