Saudi fashion designer puts local women in the driving seat

The video features Saudi entrepreneur Bayan Linjawi, co-founder of Blossom MENA, an online platform that promotes technology entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia.
Updated 20 June 2018
0

Saudi fashion designer puts local women in the driving seat

JEDDAH: A leading Saudi fashion designer has released a short film celebrating the changing role of women in the Kingdom.
The film, entitled “sa’aqood,” or Arabic for “I will drive,” was produced by Hatem Al-Akeel, founder and creative director of the Toby label. It highlights women’s ability to drive and lead, both physically and metaphorically.
Al-Akeel has been showing support for women’s empowerment through his innovative designs for some time.
“The driving concept is very symbolic,” he said.
“Seeing a woman drive shows how we’re heading toward a more progressive and moderate Saudi Arabia. Women now are more empowered and are moving forward with respect to the culture and traditions.
“My whole ethos has been to show the tremendous potential and capabilities of Saudi Arabia. The video’s message is to empower women and also show the levels of excellence, luxury and sophistication Saudi women can strive for,” he said.
The video features Saudi entrepreneur Bayan Linjawi, co-founder of Blossom MENA, an online platform that promotes technology entrepreneurship in the Kingdom.
“It’s not about driving a car, it’s about having the choice as a woman to participate in social, economic and political activities. It’s steering one’s life,” said Linjawi.
The video sends a message that women are ready to take on leadership roles and tackle any challenge.
“I am a firm believer in creating messages, and they have always been that Saudi Arabia can hold its own against any culture — we have so much to offer,” said Al-Akeel.
The fashion founder wants to show the positive side of tradition with designs that have transformed the common abaya into a style statement, for example.


Formula E drivers ‘enjoy’ Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage

Updated 14 December 2018
0

Formula E drivers ‘enjoy’ Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage

  • Formula E drivers explored Saudi Arabia and the local community
  • After visiting the UNESCO World Site of Ad Diriyah which is home to the new race track, drivers also visited Masmak Fort

Formula E drivers explored Saudi Arabia and the local community as the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix festivities took place.

After visiting the UNESCO World Site of Ad Diriyah which is home to the new race track, drivers also visited Masmak Fort, built in 1865.

Oliver Turvey, from the United Kingdom was part of a trio of drivers from team NIO who on Thursday took the opportunity to learn more about the fort’s heritage and history. He also took the time to look ahead to the big race, which makes Formula E’s debut in the Middle East. 

“I am really enjoying being here in a different culture. We want to show that electric cars are fast and strong,” he said. 

Teammate Tom Dilmann was already anticipating Saturday’s action.

“The track looks exciting, I’m really looking forward to it and am very excited for the race. Showing that we can race electric cars in the city, the future is here,” he said.

Jammy Chadwick, also from the UK, will be part of racing history in Saudi Arabia when she joins several other women on the starting grid of a ‘Rookie Test’ to discover new Formula E talent.

“This will be my first proper official test this Sunday, it’s a huge opportunity for me to learn and try the experience. It’s a positive message to have female drivers competing for the first time in Saudi, it sends a clear message of welcoming to everyone,” she said.

It was back to the future for drivers from the Mahindra Racing as they warmed up for the big race of Saturday taking on local competition, in the form of excited school children, at the Doos Karting Track in Riyadh.

They were cheered on by Prince Khalid bin Sultan, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, who joined the fun.

Jerome d'Ambrosio, Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld were put through their paces by children from King Faisal elementary and Trbiyah Namouthajiyah Schools.

Noura AL Shebani, 12, and Fahad Al Shenefi, 8, had the “time of their lives” racing against the Formula E drivers.

“If I had a little bit more time I could have won,” Noura told the race drivers after the race.

Belgian racer Jerome d’Ambrosio said: “We always have a wonderful and fun time karting. It reminds us of when we were young. Karting is almost how all racing drivers start, and we enjoy every opportunity like this one to just have fun.”

Meanwhile, Swedish driver Rosenqvist loved that the go-karts were electric, in keeping with the rather much bigger race about to unfold on Saturday.

He said: “Even at this level you can feel the instant power when coming out of a turn unlike Go Karts with combustion engines. It’s also better because when you can have indoor tracks which are very convenient in Saudi.”