Driving the future of Saudi fashion toward sustainability, diversity, innovation

Driving the future of Saudi fashion toward sustainability, diversity, innovation
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The Fashion Commission launched the Fashion Future Initiative in 2019 as the first event dedicated to fashion in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock)
Driving the future of Saudi fashion toward sustainability, diversity, innovation
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Arwa Al-Ammari
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Updated 19 June 2021

Driving the future of Saudi fashion toward sustainability, diversity, innovation

Driving the future of Saudi fashion toward sustainability, diversity, innovation
  • Industry leaders at studios in Riyadh, NY virtually meet to discuss ways to build right ecosystem

JEDDAH: Sustainability, diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurship, and innovative solutions in the global fashion industry were the highlights of the second Fashion Futures initiative by the Saudi Ministry of Culture.

The Culture Ministry’s Commission of Fashion hosted a digital event on Thursday through a hybrid model that gathered leaders from the global and regional fashion world at studios in Riyadh and New York, and virtually from around the world to discuss issues related to the future of the industry and ways to build the right ecosystem for it.
“Our mission is to enable the development of (the) thriving Saudi fashion industry, (make it) sustainable and inclusive, maximizing local talent, experiences and competencies. This will be realized through initiatives and our flagship event, Fashion Futures is part of this process,” Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, sector development director at the Fashion Commission, said in her opening speech.




Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, highlighted how KSA could be the leader of sustainable fashion. (Supplied)

The program “Fashion Futures: Moving Towards Sustainability, Diversity & Innovation” is the result of a collaboration with US-based Fashinnovation, a multimedia platform focused on sustainability innovation and entrepreneurship led by Jordana Guimaraes.
Chantal Line Carpentier, chief of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said that the creative industries, such as the fashion business, were worth more than its $2.5 trillion globally. The market in fashion products could lead to significant employment gains in developing countries and for small and medium enterprises, and for many women and young entrepreneurs.
However large environmental footprints were created as the industry was responsible for 8 to 10 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and 20 percent of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide.




Saudi entrepreneur and runway supermodel Bandar Hawsawi, US-based fashion designer Elle B. Mambetov and Saudi designer Yousef Akbar attend the meeting.

Carpentier discussed the potential of fashion for sustainable development and economic growth. She said the declaration of 2021 as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development was an opportunity to raise awareness and promote cooperation and networking. It would encourage the sharing of best practices and experiences to enhance human resource capacity and promote an enabling environment to tackle challenges and take advantage of creative economy opportunities.
The conference’s content was divided into four parts; entrepreneurship and experimentation, diversity in culture and style, investment in new business models and innovation solutions, and sustainable development goals. Each part of the event had four different sessions, including keynote speeches and panel discussions.
Notable international speakers included Susan Rockefeller, the president and trustee of Oceana, a nonprofit marine conservation foundation; Rebecca Minkoff, a fashion designer and author of “Fearless: The New Rules for Unlocking Creativity, Courage, and Success;” Oskar Metsavaht, an environmental activist and founder of fashion brand Osklen; Helen Aboah, the CEO of luxury lifestyle brand Urban Zen; and Abrima Erwiah, co-founder of Studio One Eighty-Nine, a social enterprise that promotes and curates African fashion.

BACKGROUND

The program ‘Fashion Futures: Moving Towards Sustainability, Diversity & Innovation’ is the result of a collaboration with US-based Fashinnovation, a multimedia platform focused on sustainability innovation and entrepreneurship led by Jordana Guimaraes.

Morten Lehmann, chief sustainability officer at the Global Fashion Agenda, highlighted the need to embrace and encourage change in the global fashion industry to be more sustainable and overcome the challenges it faced environmentally, socially and from a human rights perspective.
“If we can change fashion, which is so complex and so fragmented, we can change everything,” Lehmann said. “We can inspire other industries to do the same, and we can inspire citizens also to be part of that movement.”




Yousef Akbar

The event featured leading Saudi fashion leaders such as designer and entrepreneur Arwa Al-Ammari, designer Youssef Akbar, entrepreneur and runway supermodel Bandar Hawsawi, and fashion designer and head of womenswear at Les Benjamins, Lamia Al-Otaishan Aydin.
In addition to addressing issues related to education, business models, fashion design, transparency and women’s empowerment, the diversity and inclusion discussion was a major highlight of almost every talk throughout the conference.
For Youssef Akbar, being a Saudi fashion designer was a unique selling point; however, starting his business and establishing his name was very challenging. Nonetheless, for players that belong to a minority in the global fashion industry such as Akbar, diversity and inclusivity happened out of instinct.
Akbar was critical of shallow presentations of diversity. “The entire company culture needs to reflect these values, not just campaigns, photoshoots and runways. Companies should start with diversity from within, not from the outside,” he said.




Bandar Hawsawi

The conference ended with an interview with Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, in which she highlighted how Saudi Arabia could be the leader of sustainable fashion in the coming years.
“Today, the work of our Fashion Commission, we are really proud to have Burak Cakmak as our CEO because he brings not only the background and education of fashion, but also the fashion sustainability,” she said. “And what he’s allowing us to do is enter our pathway through sustainability and leapfrogging essentially, where everybody else has started because we have no historic fashion industry.”
Concepts of sustainability, reusing and recycling were critical foundations of the commission’s mindset; however, it was also built based on Saudi culture and heritage, Princess Reema said.
The Fashion Commission launched the Fashion Future Initiative in 2019 as the first event dedicated to fashion in the Kingdom, and redesigned it in 2021 as a leading digital platform in the field of fashion accessible from all over the world at https://fashionfutures.com/en/home
A main goal of the initiative is to support the creation of a fashion ecosystem in the Kingdom, while also leading the way in achieving a more globally sustainable fashion sector.
The Fashion Commission is one of 11 Saudi cultural bodies established in February last year by the Ministry of Culture to oversee the development and success of cultural subsectors.


OIC slams attempted Houthi attack on southern Saudi city

OIC slams attempted Houthi attack on southern Saudi city
Updated 06 August 2021

OIC slams attempted Houthi attack on southern Saudi city

OIC slams attempted Houthi attack on southern Saudi city

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday condemned the Iran-backed Houthi militia’s targeting of civilians in the Saudi city of Khamis Mushayt.

The Arab coalition said on Wednesday that a drone targeted the southern city in the Kingdom.

OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen praised the Saudi-backed coalition and its support for Yemen’s internationally recognized government to deal with terrorism in line with international humanitarian law.

He reiterated the OIC’s solidarity and support for Saudi Arabia in all measures it takes to preserve its security, stability and the safety of its citizens and residents. 

The UAE and Bahrain also condemned and denounced the Houthi attempts to attack civilians and infrastructure.

The UAE urged the international community to take an “immediate and decisive stance” to “stop the recurrent acts,” which target vital and civilian installations and the security and stability of the Kingdom.

Bahrain also called on the international community to condemn terrorism that threatens the region.


‘Delta plus’ variant seen in South Korea ‘is not new’: Saudi expert

‘Delta plus’ variant seen in South Korea ‘is not new’: Saudi expert
Updated 06 August 2021

‘Delta plus’ variant seen in South Korea ‘is not new’: Saudi expert

‘Delta plus’ variant seen in South Korea ‘is not new’: Saudi expert
  • 102 quarantine violators arrested in Makkah region; 986 new cases reported

JEDDAH: The COVID-19 delta plus variant, detected in two South Korean cases on Tuesday, is “not new and has been detected in India for months,” a Saudi infectious disease expert has said.

“Delta plus was previously detected in the EU since March and in India for months,” said Ahmed Al-Hakawi, who is also a hospital epidemiologist in Riyadh.

South Korea reported its first two cases of the variant earlier this week, with overall COVID-19 cases in the country rising sharply.

Al-Hakawi said that the new form of COVID-19 “differs slightly from the delta variant through the presence of the K417N mutation that was previously detected in the beta mutant.”

He added that the delta plus designation has yet to be approved by medical authorities, and that there is no evidence to suggest that is is more virulent than the original delta variant.

Meanwhile, a total of 102 people in the Makkah region have been arrested for failing to adhere to quarantine regulations after testing positive for COVID-19.

The media spokesman for local police said that preliminary legal procedures were taken against the individuals and their cases were referred to the relevant authorities.

INNUMBERS

530,981 - Total coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia

512,373 - Total number of recoveries

8,297 - Total number of deaths from COVID-19

Those breaking the Kingdom’s COVID-19 regulations could face fines of up to SR200,000 ($53,000), a maximum of two years in prison, or both. The penalty is doubled for repeated violations.

Non-Saudis found to have breached quarantine rules run the risk of being deported and permanently banned from the country.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday reported 13 more COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the Kingdom’s death toll over the course of the pandemic to 8,297.

There were 986 new cases, meaning that 530,981 people have now contracted the disease. A total of 10,311 cases remained active, of which 1,424 were in critical condition.

Of the newly recorded cases, 189 were in the Makkah region, 177 in the Riyadh region, 162 in the Eastern Province and 55 in Madinah region.

In addition, the Saudi Ministry of Health said that 1,055 patients had recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 512,373.

The region with the highest number of recoveries was Riyadh with 262. It was followed by the Eastern Province with 194 and Makkah with 151.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 25,549,087 PCR tests, with 105,537 carried out in the past 24 hours.

Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among them, Taakad (make sure) centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.

Appointments for either service can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.

Meanwhile, 28,829,305 people in the Kingdom have now received a COVID-19 vaccine, including 1,501,805 elderly people. About 56.35 percent of the population have received the first dose, while 26.4 percent have completed both doses. At this rate, 70 percent of the population is expected to have completed both doses by Sept. 29 this year.


Islamic principles should form basis of tackling global post-pandemic human rights crises: OIC commission

Islamic principles should form basis of tackling global  post-pandemic human rights crises: OIC commission
Updated 06 August 2021

Islamic principles should form basis of tackling global post-pandemic human rights crises: OIC commission

Islamic principles should form basis of tackling global  post-pandemic human rights crises: OIC commission

JEDDAH: Universal Islamic principles should be used as the basis for tackling world human rights issues in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a leading inter-governmental Muslim organization has recommended.

During a meeting to coincide with the 10th anniversary of world Islamic Human Rights and Human Dignity Day, members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) called upon member states to adopt the approach in joint efforts to address post-pandemic global challenges.

Commission delegates pointed out that millions of people in countries around the world continued to face indignities including foreign occupation and oppression, hunger, preventable diseases, limited socioeconomic opportunities, and lack of access to basic needs, all of which seriously undermined their fundamental human rights.

The IPHRC gathering noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had only compounded the existing global human rights situation such as by doubling the number of people facing food crises, and children losing access to basic education and health services.

HIGHLIGHT

IPHRC members recommended that all states should cooperate with their political, religious, and community leaders to promote a better understanding of universal human rights values, collectively deal with the underlying causes of racism and religious intolerance, including islamophobia, and ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.

Members highlighted a growing incidence of cases of hate speech, xenophobia, and racial and religious discrimination, issues they said were driving a wedge through multicultural societies and threatening global peace and security.

While stressing that the conceptual foundation of human rights in Islam placed a strong emphasis on the inherent dignity of human beings and their equality before the law, in harmony with universal human rights principles, the commission urged member countries to work alongside regional and international stakeholders to devise practical human rights-based, people-centered policies to help improve lives.

It also made an appeal for the international community to reinforce respect for diversity, multiculturalism, democracy, and the rule of law, which were at the core of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

IPHRC members recommended that all states should cooperate with their political, religious, and community leaders to promote a better understanding of universal human rights values, collectively deal with the underlying causes of racism and religious intolerance, including islamophobia, and ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.

Welcoming the continued and growing importance placed on human rights issues within the OIC, the commission hailed the adoption of a revised version of the organization’s Cairo Declaration on Human Rights, which it said had helped to bridge the perceptional and legal gaps between the compatibility of universal human rights and Islamic laws.

An ongoing revision of the OIC Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam was also applauded as a route to further strengthening the organization’s normative and institutional human rights architecture.


KSrelief sends medical aid to Jamaica in fight against COVID-19

KSrelief sends medical aid to Jamaica in fight against COVID-19
Updated 06 August 2021

KSrelief sends medical aid to Jamaica in fight against COVID-19

KSrelief sends medical aid to Jamaica in fight against COVID-19

KINGSTON, Jamaica: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has delivered medical and preventive supplies to Jamaica in a bid to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of KSrelief, the medical aid was handed over by Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Cuba Faisal bin Falah Al-Harbi.

The aid comes as an extension of the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts through KSrelief. It also follows the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Since its inception in May 2015, KSrelief has implemented 1,686 projects worth more than $5.33 billion in 69 countries around the world. The initiatives were carried out in cooperation with 144 local, regional and international partners.

According to a recent KSrelief report, the countries and territories that benefited the most from the center’s various projects were Yemen ($3.8 billion), Palestine ($365 million), Syria ($307 million) and Somalia ($206 million).


Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah

Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah
Updated 06 August 2021

Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah

Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah

Othman Gazzaz heads the research and media affairs department of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah.

Gazzaz holds a bachelor’s degree in media from Umm Al-Qura University. He also received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in media from the University of Leicester in England.

He published a number of scientific journals such as “The extent of pilgrims and Umrah performers’ reliance on the mobile exhibition using hologram technology to obtain information during the performance of the rituals” in the International Journal of Customer Relationship Marketing and Management earlier this year.

In 2015, Gazzaz published two articles in the Journal of Public Relations Research Middle East titled “Exposure to digital signage and message recall: Determining the effectiveness of the billboard outside the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque at Madinah Al-Munawwarah” and “Pilgrim problems and their communication patterns in the Hajj 1434 (H): A study of the communicative ecology of the pilgrim community from Egypt.”

At a conference in Langkawi, Malaysia in 2014, he presented his research “Communicative ecology of sojourners from Pakistan and its implications for public service campaigns.”

The academic also tackled sensitive issues in his research “Responding to the Western satellite TV’s image of Islam and Muslims: Theory & research-based policy challenges.”

Gazzaz was a member of the Association for Social Awareness and Rehabilitation between February 2016 and 2017, and the Association of Neighborhood Centers in Makkah between February 2016 and 2019.