High hopes for Arab Fashion Week as panelists talk job opportunities, Vision 2030

Attendees from all over the world listened to a panel discussion held to open Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh. (Photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 11 April 2018
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High hopes for Arab Fashion Week as panelists talk job opportunities, Vision 2030

RIYADH: Arab Fashion week in Riyadh began with a bang on Tuesday evening as attendees from all over the world listened to a panel discussion held to open the historic event.
With the market for luxury brands well established in the Kingdom, some of the biggest names in international fashion are attending the event over the coming days, including Roberto Cavalli, French couturier Jean-Paul Gaultier and Russian designer Yulia Yanina, as well as 13 designers from across the Middle East and Central Asia who will showcase their creations in highly-anticipated runway shows.
Speaking on Tuesday night’s opening panel, which was held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh — where the rest of fashion week will also take place — Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, honorary president of the event organizers, Arab Fashion Council (AFC), said that the event was part of a historic movement that would go far in developing the nascent fashion industry in Saudi Arabia.
“This historical movement is not exclusive to Saudi Arabia, but to the whole world,” she added. “Fashion is a universal language that the whole world speaks.”
Luca Ferrari, the Italian ambassador to the Kingdom, said: “Saudi Arabia is an important market for the fashion industry… I think (it) is perfectly capable of doing its own fashion.”
Meanwhile, Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said: “Creating an environment where young entrepreneurs can flourish (is important). In a matter of years, we will see a different ecosystem in Riyadh.”
The 26-year-old CEO of the AFC also shared his thoughts on the importance of the fashion industry in the country, saying “Saudi Arabia is the most important hub for the fashion industry in the world. Today, it is a fact and a reality that fashion week is an important pillar. We are all motivated and committed. Development of local talent is a reason why the government is supporting this so much.”
It was increasingly evident during the panel discussion that the inaugural Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh is about so much more than just fashion. There are high hopes that a local fashion industry will positively impact the economy and create a multitude of job opportunities in various sectors, something that all panelists agreed is part and parcel of Vision 2030.
The opening ceremony ended with a performance of the traditional Saudi Al-Arda dance and dinner.


Arab style stars front new Michael Kors campaign

Updated 13 November 2018
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Arab style stars front new Michael Kors campaign

  • Lebanese beauty queen and model Jessica Kahawaty takes the lead in the Michael Kors campaign
  • The special-edition Whitney bag will be unveiled on Nov. 14

DUBAI: Fashion powerhouse Michael Kors (MK) has enlisted the region’s style icons to unveil an exclusive Middle East design of a limited-edition shoulder bag.

Lebanese beauty queen and model Jessica Kahawaty takes the lead in the elite portrait series showcasing a special-edition of the Whitney bag, set to be unveiled at an exclusive event in Dubai on Nov. 14.

The beauty queen took to Instagram to announce the stint, where she posted a picture of herself along with other Arab fashion icons strutting the newly redesigned Whitney bag, including Dubai-based influencer Leena Al Ghouti, fashion blogger Ola Faharat, and filmmaker Lana Al Beik..

“So honored to be fronting this @michaelkors campaign for their new Whitney bag. My MK family is here in Dubai all the way from New York for the celebration this week and I couldn’t think of more powerful ladies to share this photograph with,” Kahawaty wrote.

Dubbed as the Whitney, the compact bag is one of the newest additions to the fashion label’s exclusive accessory collection. The bag is crafted in panel-quilted lambskin, accompanied by a sleek chain strap.

“We were able to incorporate a very subtle M-shaped outline, something I’ve been sketching since I was in middle school,” American designer Michael Kors himself said.

The Middle East edition will be released in a rich blue, which Kors described as “the perfect blend of sophistication and luxury for our customers” in the region.

Kors has expressed how the Middle East is an important region for his fashion label, saying “our customers in the Middle East truly love fashion and glamour, which makes it a fun and exciting place to be as a designer.”

MK, widely known for its premium leather handbags, recently bought luxury designer Versace for $2.05 billion, bolstering its position against its larger European rivals.

“With the acquisition of Versace we have created one of the world’s leading fashion and luxury groups,” said John Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors Holdings.

This came a year after it also acquired British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion.