Dress to impress: The Saudi designer on a mission to make fashion sustainable

Saudi fashion designer Raneem Shaban’s bold and daring designs are designed to be unique, challenging for the masses, and attention grabbing. (Supplied)
Saudi fashion designer Raneem Shaban’s bold and daring designs are designed to be unique, challenging for the masses, and attention grabbing. (Supplied)
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Updated 28 November 2022

Dress to impress: The Saudi designer on a mission to make fashion sustainable

Dress to impress: The Saudi designer on a mission to make fashion sustainable
  • Raneem Shaban, 27, aims to encourage change in the Kingdom’s fashion industry through creations that transform used clothing into something new
  • ‘I was worried people wouldn’t accept the idea of wearing something created mainly from used fabric or material but the mentality has changed,’ she said.

JEDDAH: A recent trend in global fashion has been an attempt to make the industry more environmentally friendly and sustainable. As a result, some designers have been inspired to create ready-to-wear clothing from recycled materials.

One of them is Saudi fashion designer Raneem Shaban from Jeddah. The 27-year-old launched her own custom-clothing label R*3 in 2021 with the aim of reducing “fashion waste” in the Kingdom’s fashion industry through upcycled and reconstructed creations that transform used or vintage clothing into something new.

“At first, I was worried that people wouldn’t accept the idea of wearing something that has been created mainly from used fabric or material but the mentality has changed and people are more adaptable,” she said.

Shaban, who graduated from Dar Al-Hekma University in Jeddah with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design, said she developed a fascination with creating clothes in early childhood.

“From a very young age, I had a passion to design clothes from the used materials that I found in my basement and one of my biggest joys was going through my mother’s wardrobe, which influenced me immensely toward a classic sense of style,” she said.

Shaban’s bold and daring designs are designed to be unique, challenging for the masses, and attention grabbing.

“As a designer, I believe it’s very essential to get out of your comfort zone and make a statement, for which I worked hard to reach out to people and make them understand the fashion-forward trend,” she said.

I was worried people wouldn’t accept the idea of wearing something created mainly from used fabric or material but the mentality has changed.

Raneem Shaban, Saudi fashion designer

Shaban has been involved in a number of projects, including collaborations on runway styling projects and editorial fashion shoots with Harpers Bazaar Arabia and Vogue Fashion Experience by Rubaiyat, and styling Nasibah Hafiz’s spring/summer 2022 collection, powered by La Macarena, among others.

She also participated in Fashion Star Arabia, a fashion-design competitive reality series broadcast on Dubai One. She recently showcased her collection at the Light Exhibition in Riyadh alongside other young, fashion designers.

“A fashion designer has the possibility to influence people and the way they dress; it’s a big responsibility to take the role seriously and be driven,” Shaban said.

“My work journey has been very rewarding. I have had the opportunity to meet distinguished fashion personalities and clients that acknowledged and appreciated my ready-to-wear collection. It feels great when people relate to my collection on a deeper and personal level.”

As part of her design process, Shaban creates fashion “mood boards” from images in old magazines that help to inspire her to create interesting new looks and styling options.

“I didn’t aim to adopt a sustainable approach because it’s ‘on-trend,’” she said. “Instead, I always had a passion for creating styles using recycled fabric or materials and converting it into a brand new, wearable outfit.”

In her role as a sustainable fashion designer, Shaban said she strives to always be mindful of the resources her label consumes and wastes, while at the same time ensuring her designs meet the demands of the marketplace. Feedback from her customers also helps her understand the needs of the market on a range of issues, including the materials and textures of fabric people prefer.

Shaban said she continually learns new things and tries to further explore sustainable materials and fashion trends. She plans to launch a line of accessories alongside her custom-made clothing in the near future.

“It’s important for me to be consistent in designing new collections from used fabrics, while making sure it matches the current fashion trends,” she explained. “The market in Saudi Arabia has changed dramatically and people are more open to bold and narrative style.

“It’s a lot to manage but when you aim to build a unique concept fashion style and receive encouragement for the work. It really makes you feel alive.

“The response to my custom-made designs has always been positive. It pumps the energy and pushes me to work hard and ignore the demands and challenges.”

Shaban said she finds it interesting that people who wear her brand are so aware of the benefits of eco-friendly fashion, and so she considers it her responsibility to help initiate a shift toward a more sustainable industry in the region.

“Under Saudi Vision 2030, I aim to bring more awareness and longevity toward sustainable fashion in the Saudi Arabia marketplace,” she added.

Asked what advice she could offer to aspiring young designers, she said she would encourage them to take time to figure out what it is that they really love and are good at, follow their passion, take risks and enjoy the challenges along the way.

 


Saudi Arabia condemns ‘provocative’ Qur’an burning in Denmark

Saudi Arabia condemns ‘provocative’ Qur’an burning in Denmark
Updated 29 January 2023

Saudi Arabia condemns ‘provocative’ Qur’an burning in Denmark

Saudi Arabia condemns ‘provocative’ Qur’an burning in Denmark

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Saturday strongly condemned the burning of copies of the Qur’an by extremists in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, “in a new provocative step to the sentiment of millions of Muslims around the world.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the Kingdom’s position, which “strongly rejects all these blatant acts that have unfortunately been repeated in several European capitals recently, under the pretext of freedom of expression, without a clear reaction toward stopping these practices.”

The Kingdom called on all European governments in which these extremist violations occurred, to urgently address all these practices that contribute to fueling hatred and conflict between followers of religions, the ministry said in a statement.

Rasmus Paludan, a far-right activist who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship, already infuriated the Muslim world by staging a Qur’an-burning protest in Sweden on January 21. On Friday, Paludan replicated the stunt in front of a mosque as well as the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen and vowed to continue every Friday until Sweden is admitted into NATO.

Several regional and international organizations, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Muslim World League, Arab Parliament and Gulf Cooperation Council, also issued statements strongly denouncing the incident, along with Pakistan, Jordan, Turkiye and Oman.


Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation

Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation
Updated 29 January 2023

Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation

Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation
  • They also discussed opportunities in renewable energy, clean hydrogen, and electrical interconnection

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman held a meeting on Saturday with French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty Bruno Le Maire in the capital, Riyadh, the state-run SPA news agency reported.

The two ministers praised the relations between their two countries and discussed prospects for cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy.

They also discussed future opportunities in various energy fields, including areas of cooperation in renewable energy, clean hydrogen, and electrical interconnection.


Sri Lankan foreign minister’s trip to Saudi Arabia yields ‘positive vibes’

Sri Lankan Minister Ali Sabry met with several Saudi officials and ministers during his recent visit to the Kingdom. (AN photo b
Updated 28 January 2023

Sri Lankan foreign minister’s trip to Saudi Arabia yields ‘positive vibes’

Sri Lankan Minister Ali Sabry met with several Saudi officials and ministers during his recent visit to the Kingdom. (AN photo b
  • Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia sign double tax avoidance deal to boost trade, investment
  • Framework agreement with GCC in the works

RIYADH: Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry has held talks with ministers and senior officials in Saudi Arabia, as the crisis-hit island nation seeks to boost cooperation with the Kingdom and other Gulf countries.

Sabry met with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Secretary-General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, and CEO of the Saudi Fund for Development Sultan Al-Marshad, as well as officials from the Islamic Development Bank.

Sabry said that his visit to the Kingdom was “successful and that it will further cement and strengthen the bilateral relationship between our two countries as we see a lot of positive vibes that have been infused into our relations.”

Talks between the two foreign ministers covered enhancement of bilateral relations, increased investment with Sri Lanka as a gateway to South Asia, and employment for Sri Lankans in the Kingdom.

HIGHLIGHT

Ali Sabry, the Sri Lankan minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the double tax avoidance deal with the Kingdom’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority to boost trade and investment. Sri Lanka is said to be facing the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948.

“Saudis have identified Sri Lanka as a very important geographical location, so (there are) investment opportunities in renewable energy, petroleum and hospitality industries,” Sabry said.

“We are interested in getting Saudi investment into the renewable energy sector for development, energy security and making Sri Lanka a regional energy hub.”

Discussions also took place around resuming airline services between Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka following their suspension during the global pandemic.

In a bid to enhance trade and investment relations between both countries, the visiting minister “signed a double tax avoidance agreement with the Zakat and Income Tax Authority here” to prevent fiscal evasion on income.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, with the government battling a shortage of foreign earnings, runaway inflation and recession.

The Sri Lankan minister thanked the Kingdom for its help with debt restructuring at the International Monetary Fund and Paris Club.

The Paris Club of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s currency crisis.

Sri Lanka is also in discussions with the IMF to secure a $2.9 billion bailout seen as vital to getting its economy back on track.

Sabry highlighted Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka’s long-standing relations and the former’s support in international forums.

“Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia have been traditional friends for a long period of time. To strengthen bilateral relationship, particularly in the multilateral fora — the UN and other agencies — we have to support each other,” he said.  

“They (Saudis) have been supporting us when we have been cornered unfairly by some powers for no reason. They have stood by us time and again. So we need to strengthen that relationship.”

Sabry and Al-Marshad discussed development issues of common interest, and the Sri Lankan minister praised the Kingdom’s efforts in developing infrastructure in Sri Lanka through SFD projects.

The minister’s meeting with Al-Hajraf focused on ties between Sri Lanka and the GCC.

“GCC is very important. We are looking at signing a framework agreement with the GCC, we want to expedite it as soon as possible,” Sabry said.

On his discussions with Taha and OIC observer status, Sabry said: “They are exploring the possibility of observer status, but we haven’t made the decision yet. Traditionally, we have had good relationships.”

Sabry also reassured Taha about the conditions of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.

 


Sensational Pakistani singer delights Jeddah audience with hit songs

Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil performed at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah. (Supplied)
Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil performed at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah. (Supplied)
Updated 28 January 2023

Sensational Pakistani singer delights Jeddah audience with hit songs

Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil performed at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah. (Supplied)
  • Speaking to Arab News, Khalil said: “My excitement hit the roof when I first learned that I will be performing in Saudi Arabia. I cannot describe this moment and the love I have received from the time I stepped into the country”

JEDDAH: Rising Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil captivated audience members at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah.

The singer enjoyed a rapid rise to fame thanks to his mesmerizing vocals and soulful music. During the concert, he performed recent release “Kahani Suno 2.0” — which hit global world charts last year — along with other desi, folk and Sufi songs.

Speaking to Arab News, Khalil said the amount of love and warmth shown from the audience in Jeddah at his first international concert was “spectacular,” adding: “I had promised myself to fill the evening with a rendition of all my songs and tried my best to make sure every single person had a good time.”

Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil performed at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah. (Supplied)

He said: “My excitement hit the roof when I first learned that I will be performing in Saudi Arabia. I cannot describe this moment and the love I have received from the time I stepped into the country.”

Although he has performed many times back in Pakistan, Khalil was overwhelmed to see the response from an international audience, which has inspired him to return to the Kingdom.

The constant cheering from the crowd was pure magic. When the performance was coming to an end, it dawned on me that everything that I felt was so precious that I will cherish it forever.

Kaifi Khalil

“The constant cheering from the crowd was pure magic. When the performance was coming to an end, it dawned on me that everything that I felt was so precious that I will cherish it forever,” he said.

After Khalil’s music went viral last year, the singer became an inspiration to many, with children, teenagers and adults attending in the Jeddah concert.

One concertgoer described the event as a “magical night,” adding: “I don’t know how many times I have listened to Kaifi Khalil’s songs. To watch him perform live was a dream come true moment. He has such a soulful voice that made the entire hall sing along with him.”

Mohammed Abdullah, another fan, said: “I was so excited to experience the vibe and music of Kaifi Khalil. He is totally a gem in the music industry. Besides, I would like to extend gratitude to the organizers for the very well executed event as we could watch him clearly from our seats.”

Alongside Khalil, the event also included versatile singers Abida Hussain and Saleem Rifiq.

Nosheen Waseem, founder of Nosheen Arts Culture Center, which oversaw the concert, said that the center aim to take the entertainment industry in the Kingdom to the “next level.” The event was organized to mark the successful completion of the first year of NACC, which involved organizing a range of nonprofit events.

Salman Lodhi and Talha Abdul Ghafoor, who organized the event, said: “The turnout was incredible — around 300 people attended the musical night. The atmosphere was electric. Everyone had a great time and the audience was on their feet for the entire performance.”

 

 


Makan hosts Indian music night in Jeddah

AN photos by Adnan Salem Mahdaly
AN photos by Adnan Salem Mahdaly
Updated 29 January 2023

Makan hosts Indian music night in Jeddah

AN photos by Adnan Salem Mahdaly
  • Speaking to Arab News, The Groove Town band co-founder, bassist Firdous Amir, said: “Makan encourages artists to the extent where they regularly organize events and draw fans to their stage almost every weekend

JEDDAH: Makan Music Center organized an Indian-themed music night for local artists and bands on Friday evening.

Fans of Indian music were treated to well-known Bollywood tunes and other genres of Indian music. The themed night was part of Makan’s cultural events calendar, during which a variety of local bands showcase genres including Arabic and Latin music.

Shaher Karkashan, CEO and co-founder of Makan, said: “We have accomplished a tremendous amount over the last four years in terms of enhancing the local music scene and providing a space for music learners and hobbyists.

“Aside from the themed weekend events, Makan provides various services including music lessons, studio production, events and artist management. We aim to make our music center competitive internationally and spread cross-cultural music diversity.”

Speaking to Arab News, The Groove Town band co-founder, bassist Firdous Amir, said: “Makan encourages artists to the extent where they regularly organize events and draw fans to their stage almost every weekend. Additionally, they offer a music school with a vast lineup of excellent music instructors.”

His fellow co-founder, drummer Razin Rafeek, added: “The Saudi music scene has come a long way in the last four or five years. The acceptance level the Saudi audience has shown is phenomenal and encourages artists to come and showcase their talent in public. The fact that we have international acts visiting and performing in the Kingdom makes it all the more special.”

He continued: “Makan has always been a wonderful space to perform that is ingrained with a cool and groovy vibe, and run by a musically gifted team. It’s one of our favorite places to perform in Jeddah. The Indian music night was lovely and heartfelt. People from different nations came to hear us.”

Makan’s future plans include running workshops for beginners, Karkashan said.