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Saudi Arabia is Getting its Very Own Fashion Week

Models backstage at Mashael AlRajhi. Photo: Getty

In an effort to nurture emerging Saudi Arabian creative talent, the Kingdom will be hosting its first Arab Fashion Week next month. Honorary president of the Arab Fashion Council (AFC) HH Princess Noura bint Faisal Al Saud announced the exciting news to press and industry insiders in London on Monday. The show, which is organized by the Arab Fashion Council in partnership with the British Fashion Council, is set to take place at Riyadh’s eco-friendly Apex Center (designed by the late Zaha Hadid) from March 26 to 31. The event’s second edition is scheduled for October.

“The first Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh will be more than a world-class event, it is a catalyst through which we believe the fashion sector will lead other economic sectors such as tourism, hospitality, travel, and trade,” Princess Noura said in a statement on the council’s website. The AFC, which recently launched an office in Riyadh, was established in 2014 and represents 22 countries across the region. It already hosts an annual fashion week in Dubai, where a number of Saudi Arabian designers including Arwa Al Banawi and Mashael AlRajhi have showcased their collections.

The lineup for the event is still under wraps, though we can expect the twice-yearly Arab Fashion Week to offer see-now-buy-now collections and pre-collections.

The news follows a series of reforms introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the past few months, including lifting the longstanding ban on female drivers (effective in June) and allowing women into sports stadiums across the conservative Gulf country.

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