Saudi chambers welcome plans to revitalize fashion industry

1 / 2
2 / 2
Updated 27 August 2013
0

Saudi chambers welcome plans to revitalize fashion industry

The National Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers intends to establish an association to foster the talents of Saudi women and support their projects throughout the Kingdom, an official at the council said.
Forty female fashion designers will be the primary beneficiaries of this project. This includes selecting a brand name (a registered trademark) for the manufacturing of national garments for women, men and children that comply with social and religious norms and customs both inside the country and abroad when exporting to international markets.
Fawzia Al-Nafee, an executive member in the national committee, said the proposal that Saudi women submitted recently to establish a project for setting a trade name (a national brand) for national fashion manufacturers received a warm welcome from the officials at the committee.
“The project will soon see the light, especially in view of the recent intentions of the national committee to establish an association that cares for talented Saudi women in all aspects of the industry,” said Al-Nafee, adding that this will include providing experts and advisers from leading countries in the garment sector.
“The association aims to demonstrate the ideas and potentials that can be developed and promoted for export purposes to competitive markets,” she said.
Al-Nafee is the owner of the first garment factory in the Kingdom. “The core foundation for the kickoff of the project has been laid down, but we still are in the process of selecting the trade names,” she added. She stressed the fact that the trade name should be consistent with the national identity and the social and religious norms in a distinguished manner when exporting the products to GCC and Arab countries.
“The first of these factories will produce 1,000 pieces a day for all categories of clothing, including formal outfits for schools, factories, hospitals and other private and government sectors.
The executive member said the imported fashion garments in the Saudi market belong to talented Saudi women designers who did not have the chance to prove their potential in the Kingdom. “So they took off to countries such as Turkey, where they implemented their designs and exported them,” she said.
The apparel industry will open many doors for talented and creative women, especially in light of high demand on school uniforms, worth more than SR2 billion.
“Saudi markets can accommodate the entire line of production of women and children clothing, as it is such a large market,” she said.
The garment industry might represent a second income for the country after the oil industry once the full potential of Saudi talents is employed, even though the move came late somehow. “Other industries, such as food processing, took the lead. Still, productive families and households can benefit greatly by cooperating and coordinating with national factories,” she added.
Most of the 12 factories operating in the Kingdom are manually operated, and did not adopt yet electronic machines for production.
“This first pioneer factory of its kind will operate within three months from now,” explained Al-Nafee, noting that children’s and men’s clothes will be produced in the most professional and creative manner.
Abdul Aziz Al-Sareei, head of the national industrial committee at the Saudi Council of Chambers, predicted that the Saudi market would soon witness the presence of trade names (national brands) in the garment industry. Investors have started assigning trade names of their own, and consumers are keen on brands and brand names.
“This is a new culture in the business and consumer community that didn’t exist in the past. Nowadays, everybody is talking about the brand of their shumagh or ghutrah,” he said.


Fashion capital New York considers banning sale of fur

Updated 17 April 2019
0

Fashion capital New York considers banning sale of fur

  • Lawmakers are pushing a measure that would ban the sale of all new fur products in the city
  • “Cruelty should not be confused with economic development,” a sponsor of the legislation said

NEW YORK: A burgeoning movement to outlaw fur is seeking to make its biggest statement yet in the fashion mecca of New York City.
Lawmakers are pushing a measure that would ban the sale of all new fur products in the city where such garments were once common and style-setters including Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joe Namath and Sean “Diddy” Combs have all rocked furs over the years.
A similar measure in the state Capitol in Albany would impose a statewide ban on the sale of any items made with farmed fur and ban the manufacture of products made from trapped fur.
Whether this is good or bad depends on which side of the pelt you’re on. Members of the fur industry say such bans could put 1,100 people out of a job in the city alone. Supporters dismiss that and emphasize that the wearing of fur is barbaric and inhumane.
“Cruelty should not be confused with economic development,” said state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, who is sponsoring the state legislation. “Fur relies on violence to innocent animals. That should be no one’s business.”
The fate of the proposals could be decided in the coming months, though supporters acknowledge New York City’s measure has a better chance of passage than the state legislation.
The fur trade is considered so important to New York’s development that two beavers adorn the city’s official seal, a reference to early Dutch and English settlers who traded in beaver pelts.
At the height of the fur business in the last century, New York City manufactured 80% of the fur coats made in the U.S, according to FUR NYC, a group representing 130 retailers and manufacturers in the city. The group says New York City remains the largest market for fur products in the country, with real fur still frequently used as trim on coats, jackets and other items.
If passed, New York would become the third major American city with such a ban, following San Francisco, where a ban takes effect this year, and Los Angeles, where a ban passed this year will take effect in 2021.
Elsewhere, Sao Paulo, Brazil, began its ban on the import and sale of fur in 2015. Fur farming was banned in the United Kingdom nearly 20 years ago, and last year London fashion week became the first major fashion event to go entirely fur-free.
Fur industry leaders warn that if the ban passes in New York, emboldened animal rights activists will want more.
“Everyone is watching this,” said Nancy Daigneault, vice president at the International Fur Federation, an industry group based in London. “If it starts here with fur, it’s going to go to wool, to leather, to meat.”
When asked what a fur ban would mean for him, Nick Pologeorgis was blunt: “I’m out of business.”
Pologeorgis’ father, who emigrated from Greece, started the fur design and sales business in the city’s “Fur District” nearly 60 years ago.
“My employees are nervous,” he said. “If you’re 55 or 50 and all you’ve trained to do is be a fur worker, what are you going to do?“
Supporters of the ban contend those employees could find jobs that don’t involve animal fur, noting that an increasing number of fashion designers and retailers now refuse to sell animal fur and that synthetic substitutes are every bit as convincing as the real thing.
They also argue that fur retailers and manufacturers represent just a small fraction of an estimated 180,000 people who work in the city’s fashion industry and that their skills can readily be transferred.
“There is a lot of room for job growth developing ethically and environmentally friendly materials,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who introduced the city measure.
New Yorkers asked about the ban this week came down on both sides, with some questioning if a law was really needed.
“It is a matter of personal choice. I don’t think it’s something that needs to be legislated,” said 44-year-old Janet Thompson. “There are lots of people wearing leather and suede and other animal hides out there. To pick on fur seems a little one-sided.”
Joshua Katcher, a Manhattan designer and author who has taught at the Parsons School of Design, says he believes the proposed bans reflect an increased desire to know where our products come from and for them to be ethical and sustainable.
“Fur is a relic,” he said.