A stitch in right direction: Saudi Arabia opens new chapter for fashion industry

Fashion Futures is the first event of its kind in Saudi Arabia.
Updated 05 November 2019

A stitch in right direction: Saudi Arabia opens new chapter for fashion industry

  • “Today we open a new chapter for the fashion industry in our country”
  • The event features celebrity panels, workshops, and an exhibit of traditional Saudi bridal couture

RIYADH: The future of fashion is looking brighter than ever in Saudi Arabia, with thanks in no small part to the kick off of a special event in Riyadh this week. 

Hosted by the Ministry of Culture and held at the Cultural Palace in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter, Fashion Futures is the first event of its kind in the country.

Running until Nov. 6, the event features celebrity panels, workshops, and an exhibit of traditional Saudi bridal couture.

The event opened up on Monday afternoon with a speech by Hamed M. Fayez, vice minister, Ministry of Culture. 

In his address, Fayez emphasized the ministry’s commitment to developing the fashion sector in the Kingdom.

“With the launch of a standalone Fashion Commission, today we open a new chapter for the fashion industry in our country, the first platform of its kind in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Fayez also announced a new academic scholarship, which would provide four Saudi designers with the opportunity to study at world-renowned fashion institute Parsons, The New School, in New York City.

Also speaking at the inauguration was Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, adviser to the Ministry of Culture, who stressed the importance of fashion in the development of the Kingdom’s image on a global scale.

“As the Kingdom develops on many fronts, we see a place for the Kingdom on the global stage, not least because we are very knowledgeable about fashion, its cultural link to craft, tradition, and the importance of heritage. We care about fashion in the context of a changing world,” she said.

Notable speakers on Monday included Dutch fashion designer Iris Van Herpen, Group President of LMVH Ravi Thakran, and Holition CEO and co-founder Jonathan Chippendale.

Scheduled for Tuesday are an introduction to Saudi fashion speech by Princess Reema bint Bandar, a keynote speech by renowned model Halima Aden, and a digital keynote by SSENSE co-founder and CEO Rami Atallah, among many more.

Iris Van Herpen, founder and creative director of her eponymous fashion label, said she was happy to be in Riyadh for the first time to share her knowledge and experience.

“It’s a region that I haven’t seen a lot of yet, so I’m very curious, and I would like to see more,” she told Arab News.

Amateur fashion designer Lana Rasheed told Arab News that attending the event had given her inspiration and hope that she could make a name for herself in the country’s burgeoning fashion industry.

“This event is a godsend for any designer looking to further themselves and their skills. If you’re a designer who wants to improve, you have to attend. The people and the place are all such a great motivator,” she said.

Among many achievements, Fashion Futures has also given a platform to 100 Saudi designers, 180 Saudi fashion enthusiasts and 40 students to contribute to the success and preparation of the event.


Saudi Hajj Ministry announces insurance for pilgrims

Updated 50 min 55 sec ago

Saudi Hajj Ministry announces insurance for pilgrims

  • Announcement comes as part of the Vision 2030 reform plan
  • Insurance will cover emergency cases, accidents and repatriation of the remains of pilgrims who die in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has announced insurance for pilgrims coming from outside the kingdom, as part of its Vision 2030 reform plan, according to state media.

Hajj and Umrah Minister, Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten signed an agreement with Tawuniya Chairman Sulaiman Al-Humaid at the Hajj and Umrah Ministry’s headquarters in Makkah on Wednesday.

Under the agreement, the ministry will provide health and other insurance services to pilgrims from the time they arrive in the Kingdom until they leave.

The insurance scheme comes as part of the Vision 2030 reform plan, which aims to enhance pilgrims’ experiences, said Minister Benten.

Tawuniya was tapped by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry in consultation with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the Health Insurance Council, he added.

The insurance will be linked to the visa as soon as the pilgrim arrives in Saudi Arabia, he said. There will be a hotline, and pilgrims will be served by teams who speak multiple languages.

Ayman Al-Arfaj, general supervisor of the ministry’s media center, said the insurance will cost SR189 per person, which will be paid to the insurance company and will cover 30 days, the total stay of a pilgrim in Saudi Arabia.

He said that insurance will be unified for all pilgrims and will cover emergency cases, accidents and repatriation of the remains of pilgrims who die in Saudi Arabia. A pilgrim automatically gets insurance once the visa is issued.

Pilgrims in need of health assistance can avail themselves of the insurance benefit by presenting their passports at any hospital or clinic under the Saudi Ministry of Health or any private hospital and clinic accredited by the Health Insurance Council, Al-Arfaj said.

Abdulaziz bin Hadsan Al-Bouq, CEO of Tawuniya, which has been awarded the contract for four years, said the Kingdom is developing innovative methods to provide health services and reduce accidents at holy sites.

This project, he added, is supported by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and each insurance covers an amount of SR100,000 ($26,665) per person.

Al-Arfaj noted that since the start of the Umrah season in October, a total of 1,518,649 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom.