Startup of the Week: RJ Apparel: Gaining a foothold in fast-growing fitness industry

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Updated 08 September 2020

Startup of the Week: RJ Apparel: Gaining a foothold in fast-growing fitness industry

  • Jalal said her business is growing fast as more women in the Kingdom become aware of the importance of health and fitness

When it comes to fitness, it is not just a matter of healthy food and proper exercise. A good-quality outfit is essential to help a person exercise comfortably. A few years ago, sports outfits used to be quite expensive due to the reliance on exports. However, this has changed with the emergence of local brands offering quality products at affordable prices. RJ Apparel is one of the many Saudi-based brands catering to the needs of the women on the go.

Raneem Jalal, the founder of RJ Apparel, told Arab News that she has always been passionate about fitness.
“I always wanted to encourage others to be healthy, enjoy working out and feel good while doing that.”
She called RJ Apparel her infant project, which is focused on offering comfortable, affordable, and high-quality activewear for women in Saudi Arabia.
Jalal said her business is growing fast as more women in the Kingdom become aware of the importance of health and fitness.
Jalal said that, as with any startup, her project faced teething problems and it took time to gain a foothold in the fast-growing Saudi market.
She believes good quality — she does not compromise on the quality of her products — and the best customer service ensure sustainable growth for any business.
“Our business objective is not merely to offer good fitness clothing but also to develop a well-connected customer base that relies on us for a satisfying experience,” she said.
Comments on the brand’s social media accounts testify to the fact that RJ Apparel is more than a brand or outlet — it strives to form a big, happy and healthy family that comprises many famous names from the Saudi fitness industry.
Jalal said that her biggest challenge so far was posed by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Like any other business we depend heavily on stakeholders to run our business and due to recent economic challenges worldwide suppliers and logistics have been our biggest hurdle.”
For the future, Jalal said that she and her brand look forward to contributing to the nation’s Vision 2030 goals, specifically in the area of sport and women’s empowerment.
“We aspire to be the leaders of the local sportswear market and a proud Saudi brand with an international presence.”


Somali-US model Halima Aden takes step back from industry

Updated 26 November 2020

Somali-US model Halima Aden takes step back from industry

  • In a detailed Instagram story, Aden wrote this week that she was “not rushing back to the fashion industry”
  • “Thanks to COVID and the breakaway from the industry I have finally realized where I went wrong on my hijab journey,” she said

MILAN: Somali-American model Halima Aden has announced that she is taking a step back from the fashion industry, saying the pandemic slowdown has allowed her to see instances when her desire to maintain a hijab was not properly respected.
In a detailed Instagram story, Aden wrote this week that she was “not rushing back to the fashion industry” and that she had finally heard her mother’s pleas “to open my eyes.”
“My mom asked me to quit modeling a LONG time ago. I wish I wasn’t so defensive,’’ the 23-year-old model wrote. “Thanks to COVID and the breakaway from the industry I have finally realized where I went wrong on my hijab journey.’’
Aden became the first hijab-wearing model on the runways of Milan and New York, and has appeared on numerous magazine covers and in print campaigns.
Born in a refugee camp in Kenya, she moved to the United States with her family at age 7 and was the first Muslim homecoming queen at her high school in Minnesota, the first Somali student senator at her college and the first hijab-wearing woman in the Miss USA Minnesota pageant.
In her Instagram posts, Aden detailed where she felt the religious covering hijab had been respected — for example in a campaign for Rihanna’s Fenty beauty line — and where it had gone astray, showing an instance when her head had been wrapped in jeans.
“I was just so desperate back then for any ‘representation,’ that I lost touch with who I was,’’ she wrote on one post, and on another, wearing a crystal-encrusted headscarf, she said “”I should have walked off the set because clearly the stylist didn’t have a hijab wearing woman in mind.”
She said her acceptance of situations that showed a lack of respect for her beliefs was due to a mixture of rebellion and naivete. “What I blame the industry for is the lack of MUSLIM stylists,” she wrote.