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Vogue Arabia and Saudi Ministry of Culture to Support Emerging Designers with This New Initiative

Cindy Bruna, Ashi Studio

Cindy Bruna wears Saudi label Ashi Studio Couture FW20. Photographed by Tom Munro for Vogue Arabia

Bold and forward-thinking, in a move certain to excite Saudi designers, the Fashion Commission of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture today announces the launch of the Saudi 100 Brands program in partnership with Vogue Arabia.

Set to invest manpower in 100 domestic fashion brands, the new, one-year program will also support designers’ global ambitions through mentorship with experts from fashion powerhouses LVMH, Kering, Chanel, Valentino, Swarovski, and Bulgari. “It’s so exciting to launch Saudi 100 Brands as such a rich and diverse opportunity for the talented fashion design community here in KSA,” remarks HH Princess Noura bint Faisal, sector development director of the Fashion Commission. “The fashion commission spent 2020 laying the foundations for an enabled sector and now, in 2021, we’re rolling out this initiative, among others, to ensure our ambitions – which reflect those of our community – are achieved.”

Where the importance of strategic storytelling is at an all-time high, along with media support, Vogue Arabia will help fashion brands to amplify their message, while also sharing knowledge on how best to approach editorial and social media content. “Vogue Arabia has a long history of nurturing emerging regional brands and partnering with the Saudi 100 Brands program is a natural continuation of our support,” states editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. “We are excited to work closely with the Saudi Fashion Commission, sharing insights that will contribute to the development of the brands taking part in this journey, and using our platforms to support their growth not only locally but also on a global scale.”

HH Princess Noura bint Faisal

HH Princess Noura bint Faisal, sector development director of the Fashion Commission. Courtesy of Saudi 100 Brands

Branding, conceptualization, sales performance strategy, public relations and marketing, client identification, innovation and technology, and key leadership skills will be offered via virtual and in-person training workshops to help boost competitive business advantage for Saudi brands in the global fashion world. Along with guidance from luxury experts, professors from Central Saint Martins, the Royal College of Art, Yale, and Parsons will also partake in the designers’ mentorship journey. “Saudi Arabia is on a growth path across all sectors, including fashion, and there are great opportunities for local entrepreneurs to build new businesses across all parts of the fashion value chain,” says Burak Cakmak, CEO of the Fashion Commission. “A robust fashion sector benefits from local creatives, design studios, marketing and communication agencies, manufacturers, and retailers. And through programs like Saudi 100 Brands, we look forward to seeing Saudi designers take their rightful place on the global stage.”

For several years, Vogue Arabia has pioneered initiatives with the aim to bring Saudi’s rich history to the international stage through its content. It is the world’s first magazine to launch an annual issue entirely dedicated to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – the June 2018 edition – bringing international attention to its diverse fashions, cultures, landscapes, and social evolution. The following year, it brought supermodel Winnie Harlow to Saudi for a cover shoot in Riyadh with local talent Shahad Salman, with the issue receiving international recognition and being featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In 2020, Vogue Arabia unlocked the door to some of the most meaningful venues of the Kingdom, with a five-cover special edition photographed for the first time at NEOM, and Diriyah. In the latter location, Vogue featured women in traditional Saudi dress from its various provinces by female photographer Hayat Osamah, curated by Dr Layla AlBassam.

Along with the training and shared knowledge, Saudi 100 Brands will offer retail platforms and consumer-directed activities with the purpose of encouraging sales in the market. The first will be in Riyadh in December 2021, with Vogue Arabia also supporting, as a natural extension of the backing of emerging talent and other Vogue campaigns such as the annual fashion prize and the ongoing #buyArabdesigners campaign. E-sales outlets and a wholesale campaign, launching early 2022, will encourage international sales. The Fashion Commission partners with Vogue Arabia and regional retailers to accomplish this and more. These retailers will partake in virtual conferences, provide professional training, and will also offer dedicated in-store space for exclusive Ramadan pop-up initiatives in March 2022. Through the acquisition of some of the Saudi 100 Brands products, retailers will support wholesale resort campaign sales across major fashion cities. Through this pioneering initiative, Saudi brands will be elevated at home and abroad, and will contribute to fashion’s diverse, international mosaic, while bringing to the forefront its inimitable edge.

Saudi brands that wish to participate are invited by the Fashion Commission to register through its e-platform from Thursday, June 3 – Sunday, June 20, 2021.

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