Saudi chambers welcome plans to revitalize fashion industry

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Updated 27 August 2013
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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.


Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

Elie Jr. and Christina Mourad. (Social media)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

  • The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels

BEIRUT: Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab has been hailed by tourism chiefs for staging his son’s lavish wedding reception on home turf.
The influential Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon saluted Saab “for holding the wedding party of his son, Elie Jr., and the Lebanese bride, Christina Mourad, in Lebanon instead of abroad, as do tens of Lebanese leaders and lords.
“Holding wedding parties abroad has deprived the tourism sector as well as other sectors in Lebanon of important revenues that can revive the national economy,” the syndicate said.
The nonprofit body that represents restaurateurs, added that the glittering event had “turned the country into a huge wedding attended by more than 3,000 guests from inside and outside Lebanon.
“People shared their joy on social media, communicating Lebanon’s image of civilization and tourism to the world. This wedding filled Lebanese hotels, restaurants and nightclubs and stirred the economic cycle for more than 10 days before and after the wedding. We salute the man who loves peace and Lebanon a thousand times.”
Jean Abboud, president of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon (ATTAL), told Arab News: “The syndicate’s stance comes in response to a phenomenon that emerged a few years ago. Distinguished people have been holding lavish weddings for their children abroad, where they spend millions of dollars. This has not only been done by politicians, but also businessmen and senior employees, as if it has become a trend or an added value.”
The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels. “We have outstanding wedding planners who get employed to plan weddings abroad,” he added.
Abboud pointed out that the tourist season in Lebanon this year had so far been promising with the number of visitors from GCC countries, and especially Saudi Arabia, up on 2018 figures. He added that the 2019 draft budget approved by Parliament last week had not put “any burdens on the tourism sector.”
Chairman of the Hotel Owners Association in Lebanon, Pierre Al-Ashkar, estimated the cost of wedding parties held by Lebanese people abroad to be around $400 million, including hotel accommodation, purchases and transportation, in addition to the expenses of the wedding itself.
He said: “There is no longer a difference between politicians and businessmen who choose to hold their children’s wedding parties abroad. It is true that these weddings are no more than a few hundred, but their expenses are huge and, therefore, deprive Lebanon of this money.”
Al-Ashkar pointed out that the number of tourists choosing Lebanon this summer had risen, highlighting a significant 30 percent increase in the proportion of visitors from Europe.
“However, the number of tourists from GCC countries, especially Saudi Arabia, has not been as we had wished,” he added.
“Maybe this is because these tourists, who have not been visiting Lebanon for five to seven years, now have business in other countries or investments in tourist places outside of Lebanon, especially as some countries now offer incentives to attract tourists carrying certain passports and residence permits.”