JEDDAH: More than 170 exhibitors from around the globe are participating in one of the biggest exhibitions in the Islamic world, dedicated to women at Jeddah Superdome for six days as part of the Kingdom’s Ramadan Season under the slogan “Jeddah’s Everlasting Goodness.”
The 22nd edition of the Bisat Al-Reeh exhibition kicked off on Monday in the presence of Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, and under the patronage of Princess Adila bint Abdullah.
Organized by the National Charity Foundation for Home Health Care, also known as We Care, the exhibition will be open for families for two days, and four days will be dedicated exclusively to women to promote their creativity in fashion, jewelry, furniture design and nurturing young talent. It is an annual exhibition that has been organized by We Care in Jeddah since 2000, with its proceeds supporting We Care charitable programs and activities in home healthcare and hospitals.
After touring the exhibit with Princess Adila, Queen Rania wrote a message on her official Twitter account: “Happy to be in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the blessed month of Ramadan. Thank you, Princess Adila bint Abdullah Al-Saud, for the invitation and generous hosting.”
Princess Adila told Arab News that every edition of the exhibition has a different target and this year the aim was to bring more countries from around the world to participate. “In this Bisat Al-Reeh 22, we aim to upgrade our standards to have more participants from outside the Kingdom. This year, we have more than 15 countries, and we targeted the Ramadan Season so that it has a special spiritual atmosphere.”
She also said that the exhibition has helped many local brands expand their horizon throughout the years. “We have a lot of entrepreneurs … we have a lot of businesses that are done from home. They started small, and during the years of participation, we found that they developed and they became bigger businesses, more advanced, and more capable. And this gives us great pleasure.”
Among the participating countries are Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Turkiye, Egypt, UK, India, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan.
Chaired by Queen Rania, Jordan River Foundation, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization established in 1995, is also part of the exhibition displaying an array of home decorations with crafted designs inspired by elements of Jordanian cultural with a modern twist.
Sara Yaghmour, the foundation’s marketing specialist, said: “With a special focus on child safety and community empowerment, the crafts that you see today are part of the social enterprise's program, under the name of Jordan River designs. All these products are handmade by the local community, women, and refugees in Jordan. These pieces help empower women refugees and provide them with income.”
Participating for the first time at the exhibition is Uzbekistan. Mohayo Aliyeva, the founder of BiBi Hanum brand, a socially responsible enterprise offers garments and accessories created using handwoven textiles by Uzbek women, said: “I designed the fabrics and textiles and also the styles. I happened to meet Read Khaled, a Saudi designer online, we both work within the same spectrum and she invited me to take part in this exhibition. I am very pleased.
“Our work involves a lot of women who do the weaving and the embroideries of these textiles,” she added.
“Wearable Art” also offered garments featuring a mix of modern and traditional styles. The garment features Ikat, which has a distinctive colorful wavey pattern on the fabric made of silk and cotton and represents the authentic heritage of the country. “It is tied and dyed before it's being woven, and it has approximately 32 steps from the very beginning to the end,” Aliyeva said.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees also took part in the exhibition to spread awareness and introduce one of its refugees-focused initiatives.
Speaking to Arab News, Rowa Ftihi from the UNHCRSaudi Arabia private sector and philanthropy department, said: “‘Made 51’ is a brand crafted by refugees to bring beautiful refugee-made products to the global market and its outcome goes for refugees.” It operates in different camps including in Jordan, Afghanistan, and Africa among others.
Abeer Kabbani, head of the Bisat Al-Reeh exhibition and vice president of We Care, said that Queen Rania’s presence gives a “great indication of the exhibition's significance and its steady steps towards the international spread.”
Nasiba Hafiz, a well-known Saudi fashion designer and a visitor, said: “I am so pleased to see brands from outside Jeddah from all over the world, and I love the idea of giving the chance to other brands to shine.”