Saudi fashion icon Nojoud Al-Rumaihi named haute couture ambassador

Saudi fashion icon Nojoud Al-Rumaihi named haute couture ambassador
Saudi influencer Nojoud Al-Rumaihi photographed in Paris. (Supplied)
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Updated 28 June 2024
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Saudi fashion icon Nojoud Al-Rumaihi named haute couture ambassador

Saudi fashion icon Nojoud Al-Rumaihi named haute couture ambassador
  • Influencer will share shows, events from Haute Couture Fashion Week with a global audience

DUBAI: The Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, the organization that oversees Paris Fashion Week and Haute Couture Week, has appointed Saudi influencer Nojoud Al-Rumaihi, who is also a fashion and luxury consultant, as an ambassador for haute couture. 

Through the ambassadorship, the federation and Al-Rumaihi will collaborate to share the latest shows, collections and events from the upcoming Haute Couture Fashion Week, which runs from June 24-27, with audiences around the world, according to a statement. 

Al-Rumaihi is a notable fashion figure in the Kingdom. 

Earlier this year, she teamed up with German luxury e-tailer Mytheresa for a Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr campaign shot in Saudi Arabia. 

The edit featured the influencer’s top picks from labels such as London-based Roksanda, New York-based fashion house Markarian, British brand Self-Portrait, and red-carpet mainstay Taller Marmo.

It was the e-tailer’s third partnership with Al-Rumaihi, which the influencer previously told Arab News was key in understanding the coveted Saudi market.

“Having a Saudi creative perspective can help international brands and e-tailers gain valuable local cultural insights with an authentic perspective that can help them connect with the Saudi market more effectively,” she said, adding that including local voices in the decision-making process can ensure international brands project a message that is culturally relevant. 

*Arab News has made changes to this article after publication, including removing an interview with Ms. Nojoud Al-Rumaihi.


Sound of Ruby: ‘The spread of culture is a very beautiful thing’ 

Sound of Ruby: ‘The spread of culture is a very beautiful thing’ 
Updated 17 min 57 sec ago
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Sound of Ruby: ‘The spread of culture is a very beautiful thing’ 

Sound of Ruby: ‘The spread of culture is a very beautiful thing’ 
  • The Saudi alt-rock veterans are enjoying the rewards of more than two decades of work 

DAMMAM: Dammam-based alternative rock band Sound of Ruby have been telling stories through music for decades.  

“We can say that we were the first band to play rock in Dammam, or Saudi Arabia,” frontman Muhammad “The Camel” Al-Hajjaj, who founded the group in 1996, tells Arab News.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by soundofruby (@soundofruby)

Al-Hajjaj describes the band’s sound as “punk rock, alternative rock, emphasizing Saudi and Arab music,” and cites Henry Rollins — founder of US hardcore band Black Flag — and grunge legends Nirvana as influences, along with two of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s major inspirations, Pixies and Melvins.  

But back in Nineties Dammam, there were few who shared Al-Hajjaj’s love of loud Western-style rock music. “If we saw someone wearing a rock band T-shirt, we’d immediately try to talk to him,” Al-Hajjaj says. “It was hard. The popular music (in the community) at the time was rap, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, and Arabic (mainstream) music. I like Michael Jackson, by the way. But it was hard. We’d hear ‘What is this?’ from people.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by soundofruby (@soundofruby)

Al-Hajjaj, like many rock musicians, taught himself to play guitar. He was inspired to do so, he says, by a scene in 1985’s “Back to the Future” when Michael J. Fox’s character plays the famous riff from Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” (also covered by several other guitar greats, including Jimi Hendrix). “It made me love the instrument,” he explains. “My father said, ‘Be good and I’ll buy you a guitar, don’t worry.’ It was the era of MTV and Channel V, there was a love for the guitar.” 

At that time, he stresses, there was no internet on which to view tutorial videos. So Al-Hajjaj bought a 20-page book (“I still have it today”) which showed the finger patterns for chords and began to learn a few songs. “Everything was do-it-yourself,” he says. “We’d get together at weekends and play small underground gigs.” More than 12,000 kilometers away from where Rollins and the Melvins were based, Al-Hajjaj was mirroring their punk DIY ethic.   

“They had vicious names for those of us who listened to that music,” he says. “But, with time, there was acceptance.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by soundofruby (@soundofruby)

Sound of Ruby played a major part in gaining that acceptance. And they did so at a time when there was no infrastructure in place to support anyone interested in creating music in the Kingdom that was not Khaleeji pop. That, in itself, is remarkable enough. The fact that, almost 30 years on, they’re still going (albeit with some lineup changes over the years — the current roster is Al-Hajjaj along with bassist Kamal Khalil, lead guitarist Nader Al-Fassam, who’ve both been part of the group for a couple of decades, and drummer Faris Alshawaf, who only recently took over from his brother, Talal) and still retaining their alt-rock roots as they move through middle age is even more astonishing. 

It helps significantly that Khalil also owns a recording studio. “We’re lucky to have a sound engineer who’s been a member of the band for 24 years,” Al-Hajjaj says. That enabled Sound of Ruby to put out professional-level recordings (10 albums so far, plus singles) even when there were few studios geared up to capture rock music in the Kingdom.  

It’s been a long road, Al-Fassam acknowledges.  

“When I joined the band, my son was 10 days old; today, he’s 20,” he says, adding that his son is now a musician himself, performing in several bands around Dhahran.  

“We’re proud that we’ve influenced the younger generation throughout our artistic career, providing them with support and encouragement,” Al-Hajjaj says.  

Sound of Ruby members Kamal Khalil, Muhammad Al-Hajjaj and Nader Al-Fassam. (Supplied)

Many in the younger generation got a taste of Sound of Ruby in one of Saudi Arabia’s most successful movies, 2022’s wrestling-themed action-comedy “Sattar” — which is now also available on Netflix — thanks to Al-Hajjaj’s younger brother Ibrahim, an actor and comedian.  

“An opportunity came when a rock song was requested for ‘Sattar.’ Our song ‘Fannan’ was very suitable for the scene,” he said.  

In ‘Sattar,’ Ibrahim plays Saad, a soft-spoken daydreamer who longs to be a wrestler—an ambition that seems far out of reach. In the scene, he is driving in the car with his loving fiancée by his side and his demanding future mother-in-law in the backseat. When they ask him to play some music during the already awkward ride, “Fannan” blasts from the speakers. 

At first, Saad, the character, nervously fiddles with the radio dials, clearly worried they might misunderstand his musical tastes. But quickly, his voice clears and he cheerfully proclaims: “This is a Saudi band, Sound of Ruby — I like to listen to different sounds and be cultured.”  

The women look baffled and reply, “You have strange taste.” 

Throughout the movie, Saad has to constantly overcome potentially crushing obstacles — both personally and professionally. The audience never stops rooting for him. This is a relatable Saudi struggle to balance childhood dreams with adult pressures, aiming to make society and family proud; Saad’s journey begins in the underground, outside of the mainstream, fueled by passion and perseverance. It’s easy to see why Sound of Ruby were chosen to help soundtrack his anger and frustration. 

But the band’s perseverance has paid off. The music industry is starting to catch up with their ambitions. The Kingdom’s cultural scene has been forever altered by the sweeping changes of the last six years. And Sound of Ruby’s live performances are no longer secret, underground affairs. You can often catch them live at the café-cum-record store Bohemia in Alkhobar.  

“The spread of culture is a very beautiful thing — whether it be music, acting, or any artistic work,” says Al-Hajjaj. “It’s a beautiful thing that we now play in our beautiful city. I used to dream of a place like Bohemia before — previously, concerts and audience participation were all outside the kingdom. Now, with the support of the Entertainment Authority, we are breathing life into the music.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by soundofruby (@soundofruby)

And Sound of Ruby are making full use of this new freedom.  

“We released three new songs from our new album, that will be released this year,” Al-Hajjaj says. “Stay tuned for the album and concerts. In 2026, the band will celebrate its 30th anniversary.” 

Like the precious gemstone they’re named after, known for its resiliency, Sound of Ruby are standing the test of time. 


Saudi Aramco completes issuance of international bonds worth $6bn 

Saudi Aramco completes issuance of international bonds worth $6bn 
Updated 19 min 57 sec ago
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Saudi Aramco completes issuance of international bonds worth $6bn 

Saudi Aramco completes issuance of international bonds worth $6bn 

RIYADH: Energy giant Saudi Aramco has completed the issuance of a $6 billion US dollar-denominated international bond, marking the state oil firm’s return to the debt market after a hiatus of three years.  

In a Tadawul statement, the company revealed that the offerings, which began on July 9 under the firm’s Global Medium Term Note program, will be traded on the London Stock Exchange. 

The last time Aramco tapped the debt market was in 2021 when it raised $6 billion from a three-tranche sukuk, or Islamic bond. 

Governments and companies operating in the Middle East region have been eager to leverage debt markets this year amidst declining global interest rates. As part of this trend, Saudi Arabia issued $12 billion in dollar-denominated bonds in January. 

Aramco Executive Vice President of Finance & CFO, Ziad T. Al-Murshed, said: “We are pleased with the strong interest and level of engagement from investors globally, both existing and new. Our order book exceeded $33 billion at its peak, reflecting Aramco’s exceptional financial resilience and fortress balance sheet.”  

He added: “Achieving a negative issue premium across all tranches is a testament to our unique credit proposition. We have consistently demonstrated our financial discipline, while delivering on shareholder value and business growth, and we aim to maintain a strong investment-grade credit rating across business cycles.” 

Aramco disclosed that the bonds will have a minimum subscription of $200,000. 

These financial instruments have three $2 billion senior notes, which are expected to provide a yield of 5.25 percent, 5.75 percent, and 5.87 percent for bonds maturing in 10, 30, and 40 years, respectively.  


Two dead, several injured in northwest Pakistan amid monsoon rains, flood warning

Two dead, several injured in northwest Pakistan amid monsoon rains, flood warning
Updated 17 min 13 sec ago
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Two dead, several injured in northwest Pakistan amid monsoon rains, flood warning

Two dead, several injured in northwest Pakistan amid monsoon rains, flood warning
  • Pakistan’s disaster management body expects recent spell of monsoon rains to continue until July 21
  • The loss of life was caused in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda region due roof collapse amid heavy rains

PESHAWAR: Two people were killed and several others injured in the recent spell of rains in Pakistan’s northwest, an official statement released on Thursday confirmed, with the provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) administration expressing sorrow over the development.

The recent loss of life followed an alert issued by Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) warning of floods in KP, Punjab and other parts of the country due to monsoon rains.

Pakistan experienced devastating floods in 2022, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,700 people and causing extensive damage to houses, farmlands and public infrastructure.

It is also considered among one of the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, despite contributing minimally to global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Two people were killed and several others injured as roofs of houses collapsed due to heavy rains in Shabqadar, Charsadda,” said the statement released by the KP government.

It also noted that Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur extended condolences and sympathies to the families of the deceased.

He directed the relevant district administration to provide timely medical assistance to the injured and ensure immediate relief to the affected.

The NDMA forecast rains and thundershowers a day earlier in the upper regions of the country from July 16 to 21 with occasional gaps.

It noted that rain could exceed 50 millimeters and cause flooding in local streams.

“The NDMA has issued instructions to all relevant departments to take necessary precautions to mitigate the possible effects of flooding and extreme weather,” the alert said.

“The public is advised to take precautions to avoid flooding and to ensure their safety from lightning strikes,” it continued. “Avoid going outside during bad weather and keep a safe distance from electrical poles and wires.”

The NDMA also announced the launch of its cellphone app, available on Google Play Store and iOS App Store, to help the public get timely alerts, adviseries and guidelines.


Far-right Israeli minister visits sensitive Jerusalem holy site, imperiling Gaza ceasefire talks

Far-right Israeli minister visits sensitive Jerusalem holy site, imperiling Gaza ceasefire talks
Updated 8 min 57 sec ago
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Far-right Israeli minister visits sensitive Jerusalem holy site, imperiling Gaza ceasefire talks

Far-right Israeli minister visits sensitive Jerusalem holy site, imperiling Gaza ceasefire talks
  • Ben-Gvir said he was pressuring Netanyahu not to give in to international pressure and to continue with the military campaign in Gaza

JERUSALEM: Israel’s far-right national security minister visited Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site on Thursday morning, threatening to disrupt Gaza ceasefire talks.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist settler leader, said he had gone up to the contested Jerusalem hilltop compound of Al Aqsa Mosque to pray for the return of the hostages ″but without a reckless deal.”
Ben-Gvir said he was pressuring Netanyahu not to give in to international pressure and to continue with the military campaign in Gaza.
The move threatens to disrupt sensitive talks aimed at reaching a ceasefire in the 9-month-old Israel-Hamas war. Israeli negotiators landed in Cairo on Wednesday to continue talks.
Ben-Gvir’s visit also came just days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves for a trip to the United States, where he will address Congress. Ben-Gvir last visited the site in May, to protest countries unilaterally recognizing Palestinian statehood.
Jews and Muslims both claim the Jerusalem hilltop compound, which is considered the holiest site for Jews.
Palestinians consider the mosque a national symbol and view such visits as provocative, though Ben-Gvir has frequently visited the site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, during tense periods. Tensions over the compound have fueled past rounds of violence.


Professional Fighters League announces extra bouts for August playoffs

Professional Fighters League announces extra bouts for August playoffs
Updated 27 min 53 sec ago
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Professional Fighters League announces extra bouts for August playoffs

Professional Fighters League announces extra bouts for August playoffs
  • 2024 PFL Playoffs will see the return of Biaggio Ali Walsh to the SmartCage

NEW YORK: The Professional Fighters League has announced additional bouts for the 2024 PFL Global Season Playoffs in August.

On Friday, Aug. 2 in Nashville, the heavyweight and women’s flyweight divisions will take center stage.

In a marquee addition to the event, Tyrell Fortune (14-2) will face Sergei Bilostenniy (12-3) in a heavyweight alternate contest. In all, five early bouts have been added to an already stacked night of action.

Two weeks later on Aug.16, the light-heavyweight and lightweight playoffs will take place in Hollywood, Florida.

Biaggio Ali Walsh (1-0) makes his sophomore professional appearance against undefeated Korey Taylor (4-0) during the ESPN main card.

A light-heavyweight alternate bout pitting Antonio Carlos Jr. (16-6) against Karl Albrektsson (14-5) is confirmed, while a lightweight alternate fight between Elvin Espinoza (10-1) and Mads Burnell (19-6) is also official for the early card.

The playoffs will conclude on Aug. 23 in Washington D.C. with the welterweight and featherweight divisions.

A welterweight alternate bout pitting Neiman Gracie (13-5) against Luca Poclit (10-2) is confirmed, while a featherweight alternate fight between Tyler Diamond (14-3) and Enrique Barzola (20-9-2) is also official.

The PFL Regular Season has each winner of the six weight divisions receiving a $1 million purse.