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

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 designers take over Country, Latin music awards

Hannah Brown wears Atelier Zuhra at the 2019 Country Music Association Awards. (Photo: AFP)
Updated 16 November 2019

Arab designers take over Country, Latin music awards

  • There was plenty drama and glamour to be seen courtesy of the Middle East’s design talent at the 2019 CMA's
  • . The red carpet at the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards was also awash with jaw-dropping ensembles from Arab designers

DUBAI: Singers, supermodels and actors descended upon Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena last week for the 53rd annual Country Music Association Awards, wearing their best “giddy-ups.”However, it wasn’t all rustic denim and cowboy boots on the star-studded red carpet.  In fact, there was plenty drama and glamour to be seen courtesy of the Middle East’s seasoned and emerging design talent who were responsible for dressing a number of the well-heeled attendees, including “Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown.

The former Miss Alabama stepped out on the red carpet wearing an elaborate dress from Dubai-based, Omani couture label Atelier Zuhra. The white, dotted ball gown featured a mock-neck and a full A-line skirt that trailed into a billowing train.

An Arab designer also found a fan in certified hitmaker Pink, who hit the red carpet with her husband Carey Hart and their two kids, wearing a long, burnt-orange dress from Dubai-based label Zeena Zaki. The “So What” singer played into the country theme by pairing the ensemble with a black cowboy hat tipped to one side.

P!nk wears Dubai-based label Zeena Zaki at the 2019 Country Music Association Awards. Photo: Getty Images

Elsewhere, the evening’s host Carrie Underwood wowed in a floor-length, sequin-covered Elie Madi dress, which featured sheer paneling, gold embellishments and a long tulle train. Meanwhile, American singer Maren Morris accepted the Best Album of the Year award wearing a pastel blue top and matching billowing skirt designed by Saudi label Honayda.

The Country Music Association Awards almost fully honored and highlighted the women of country music — whose songs have been heavily dismissed on country radio over the years — until two words were uttered when they named its entertainer of the year: Garth Brooks.

Wednesday night’s show kicked off with a performance featuring country female acts across generations, included three female hosts and had Maren Morris as its top nominee. But in the final moments, Brooks won the top prize over Carrie Underwood, who many had hoped would be the first female to win entertainer of the year since 2011.

It wasn’t just the 2019 CMA’s where our regional talent was on full display. The red carpet at the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards was also awash with jaw-dropping ensembles plucked from the collections of Arab designers. Brazilian superstar Anitta turned heads wearing a Georges Hobeika crystal-embellished maxi skirt and a yellow crop top that featured a floor-trailing, oversized bow.

Roselyn Sanchez wears Nicolas Jebran at the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards. Photo: Getty Images

Puerto Rican singer Roselyn Sanchez, who picked up four awards for her album “El Mal Querer” also opted for a design by a Lebanese couturier, donning a multi-colored sequin gown with a thigh high slit by Nicolas Jebran.

Another memorable red carpet dress powered by a Beirut-based designer was the bright red Jean-Louis Sabaji gown donned by Mexican superstar Thalia for the 20th edition of the annual award show.