Riyadh Fashion Week Positions Saudi Arabia as Middle East Hub – WWD

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — For the first time ever, Riyadh Fashion Week took place under the bright lights of the city’s gleaming new King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD). Models walked the runway in 15 shows over four days in one of the hottest new neighborhoods in Saudi Arabia. The vibrant, high-rise dense financial district, boasting Zaha Hadid-designed architecture, is the most visible symbol of the government’s vision to diversify the country’s economy.

Taking advantage of the economic opportunity for fashion, runway shows to take over the financial district are high on the government’s agenda. The event was organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s Fashion Commission, which aims to promote the talent of local designers.

„Fashion directly supports Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 transformation,” said Fashion Commission CEO Burak Kagmak, referring to a blueprint to grow the kingdom’s economy beyond oil by creating new economic sectors.

Saudi Arabia is the largest consumer market of all Gulf countries. Demand for fashion products is predicted to reach $32 billion in the next two years. Apart from international luxury goods, the Commission expects that there will be a lot of interest for local products as well. The new domestic industry already contributed 1.4 percent of Saudi Arabia’s GDP last year.

“As Saudi brands continue to grow, we look forward to finding their rightful place in this sector. Riyadh Fashion Week was a stepping stone in that journey,” said Kagmak.

Despite the turmoil in the region due to the Israel-Hamas war, with numerous events canceled across the Middle East, Riyadh Fashion Week remained focused on supporting the growth of the industry as planned.

Ashi Studio at Riyadh Fashion Week 2023

Thanks photo

One of Saudi Arabia’s most famous creative exports, couturier Mohammed Ashi, kicked off the week with his show in front of the King Fahd Library. Ashi, the first Saudi designer to be on the official calendar of Paris Haute Couture, held his first runway show at home in Saudi Arabia – a milestone for the brand. Over the years he has operated from his base in Paris and Beirut. For her return home, Ashi shared that she is launching a new ready-to-wear line called “8pm” which will be launched in the Saudi market in March.

READ  Darlene Love has been singing 'Christmas' for Letterman since 2014

Model Halima Aden walked for veteran designer Honeida Serafy in a collection titled „Cosmos,” a collection inspired by Rayyana Barnawi, the first female Saudi astronaut in space. Honayda’s designs showcased bold and playful evening dresses, some modest and some not. „We have freedom of choice here,” he said. „This collection is about celebrating the success of women.”

Honeida at Riyadh Fashion Week 2023

Honeida at Riyadh Fashion Week 2023

Thanks photo

Abadia by Shaad Alshehail is one of this week’s highlights. As the designer describes it, his „high-end day wear and low-cut evening wear” incorporate a traditional Bedouin style of linen known as „sedu”. Alshehail said the collection „contains cultural storytelling that can be applied on a global stage.”

„We design for the multi-dimensional global woman. She could be Saudi because Saudi women are global and wear different clothes in different geographies. However, the second largest audience for the brand’s online store is from the US,” she added, „and it’s all organic reach. We are for the US.” Not doing any marketing” Abadia was recently picked up by the brand’s first retail partner, Net-a-porter.

Arwa Al Banawi’s eponymous designs reflect the designer’s glamorous style. His classic, cool style is fused with urban influences. As a young mother who grew up between Jeddah, Germany and Switzerland, balancing personal life and work, and a working mother, Banawi said her style is for „women on the go.”

„Practice is important to me,” Banawi said. „Women want to be sophisticated and comfortable. That was my main inspiration. The collection is all minimal and chic pieces that you can wear day or night.

READ  Alim Beisembayev: Pianist's hands shake at last-minute Proms debut

He can find his brand in Saudi, but also in other major global cities. „I design for the woman here in Riyadh, but I also design for women in London or Paris or New York. My aim is to make women feel confident by making them feel comfortable.

The kaftan she said summed up her look this season. „I added elements like fringe, which is very reminiscent of the desert. It’s a traditional Saudi dress, but I wanted to play with it to make it glamorous and easy, so that you can wear it anytime.

Dima Abed at Riyadh Fashion Week 2023

Dima Abed at Riyadh Fashion Week 2023

Thanks photo

Ida Peterson, director at Browns, attended Riyadh Fashion Week for the first time in Saudi Arabia. „What’s really interesting about being here is not just what you find on the runway, but seeing the fashion community and discovering the brands that are on and off the charts. You learn a lot about people, their tastes.

He said he plans to continue to watch the market, which he described as „very promising.” He added that it’s nice to see that Saudi’s design doesn’t have an overarching theme. „Each designer reflected their own identity.” That’s a sign of a developed creative market, he said.

The Fashion Commission has taken the „Brand Saudi Story” on the road over the past year with a series of roadshows aimed at educating global fashion stakeholders, including international buyers, media and investors. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and the Literature, Publishing and Translation Authority jointly launched the Cakmak was in Paris last weekend to participate in a panel discussion as part of the cultural exhibition “Les Trésors d’Arabie” organized until the 10th.

Mohammed & Humaid Habtan at Riyadh Fashion Week 2023

Mohammed & Humaid Habtan at Riyadh Fashion Week 2023

Thanks photo

Visitors to the free event, just off Place Vendôme, can watch basket weaving, taste Arabic sweets and coffee, walk immersive exhibits, learn about development projects in Riyadh and attend musical performances, poetry readings, short films and a variety of talks.

READ  Over 100 years of paintings in Devon are on display

Two Riyadh Fashion Week attendees – Noora Sulaiman and Mohamed Bajba of Proud Angels – joined Kagmak for an hour-long discussion, stressing the importance of being at the forefront with the brand story, and focusing first on the growing local market.

Bajpa revealed plans to rebrand his streetwear brand (inspired by Los Angeles) next year as he expands into retail, hospitality and entertainment, expanding his community with an emphasis on well-being, a growth mindset and belonging.

During a photo shoot at a basketball court for the Brood Angels X Rex Chowk collaboration, he mentioned that the youth interrupted him with questions about various jobs on the set.

Coff by Coff at Riyadh Fashion Week 2023

Coff by Coff at Riyadh Fashion Week 2023

Thanks photo

Sulaiman, who recently took on an investor to expand his luxury menswear business, said he would like to collaborate with an international brand like Loro Piana.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Fashion Commission aims to open a new product development and sampling space with advanced machinery by early 2024, which will put it at the disposal of its Saudi 100 mentoring program, allowing products to be brought to market more quickly.

„This is going to be another game changer,” asserted Kagmak. „We are very happy to showcase the 'Made in Riyadh’ label.”

  • With contributions from Miles Socha, Paris

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *