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Editor’s Letter: Why Our June Issue Honors Both, the Young Artists and Pioneers of Saudi Arabia

Manuel Arnaut

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Ziga Mihelcic

This month, we are dedicating our issue to Saudi Arabia. Remember when, in 2018, the world stopped with the launch of our inaugural annual Saudi Issue? Many things have changed since then,  but Vogue’s commitment to encouraging the local style scene remains. I’m proud to announce a collaboration between Vogue Arabia and the Kingdom’s Fashion Commission to support 100 Saudi Brands. But first things first – our covers.

In a moment when Saudi Arabia is so keen to push forward, with daring and exciting new initiatives in most of its segments – from culture to technology – the focus has been on the youth of the country. In fashion, arts, and culture, this means giving the younger generation a well-deserved platform and opportunity. This is exactly what we do in all our content, but when I sat with our team to plan the issue you have in your hands, we all enquired: what about the older generation and the amazing profiles who, for decades, have been actively supporting change, inviting us to look at Saudi from a different angle? This is how we came up with the concept of our cover shoot, Fashion Meets Art. For us, June is all about creative synergies: we celebrate the talented youth of Saudi while underlining the importance of the country’s pioneers.

Shahad Salman wears custom piece, Arwa Al Banawi. Abdulrahman Alammar wears custom piece, Arwa Al Banawi. Photographed by Hayat Osamah for Vogue Arabia June 2021

Looking at our amazing cast, the image featuring the iconic Abadi Al-Johar next to new singer Tamtam brings me instant joy. Colorful and bold, the dreamy set brings to life the work of painter Abdulaziz Al Abdulaziz. I’m also proud of our second cover featuring exclusive artwork by Lulwah Al Homoud, one of the leading names of Saudi art, who has pieces exhibited in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and among the collections of the British Museum. This cover was shot by Saudi photographer Hayat Osamah and features the new-generation models Shahad Salman and Abdulrahman Alammar, dressed in bespoke pieces by Arwa Al Banawi.

There are so many names I’m proud to see in this issue, but two are very dear to me. In a rare media appearance, Adnan Akbar opens up about his groundbreaking career and future projects, and speaks proudly of his home, Makkah. We also meet the octogenarian female poet and journalist Thuraya Qabel, an activist who played a pioneering role in carrying the banner of women and breaking unjust traditions. Back to Saudi 100 Brands. Through this collaboration with the Fashion Commission of the Kingdom’s Ministry of Culture, 100 Saudi brands will be nurtured and supported by leading international fashion houses and universities, and will also receive guidance through Vogue Arabia on how to communicate and expand their audiences. Taking  into consideration our long-lasting and impactful campaigns to support young regional talents, from #buyarabdesigners to our annual Fashion Prize, this new partnership is an exciting extension of our mandate. In an exclusive interview on p24, HH Princess Noura bint Faisal, sector development director of the Fashion Commission, shares more details on the program and an invitation to brands to apply now.

Read More: Meet the Designer Behind the Iconic Cartier Watches Loved by Bella Hadid and Princess Diana

Originally published in the June 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

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