Saudi Arabia opens new chapter for fashion industry

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

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 Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

Updated 11 December 2019

Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

  • Company is now world’s largest publicly traded company, bigger than Apple
  • More than top five oil companies combined

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco shares opened at 35.2 riyals ($9.39) on Wednesday at the Kingdom’s stock exchange, 10 percent above their IPO price of 32 riyals, in their first day of trading following a record $26.5 billion initial public offering.
Aramco had earlier priced its IPO at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.
Aramco’s earlier indicative debut price was seen at 35.2 riyals, 10 per cent above IPO price, raising the company’s valuation to $1.88 trillion, Refintiv data showed.
At that price, Aramco is world’s most valuable listed company. That’s more than the top five oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP – combined.
“Today Aramco will become the largest listed company in the world and (Tadawul) among the top ten global financial markets,” Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, said during a ceremony marking the oil giant’s first day of trading.
“Aramco today is the largest integrated oil and gas company in the world. Before Saudi Arabia was the only shareholder of the company, now there are 5 million shareholders including citizens, residents and investors,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the managing director and chief executive of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“Aramco’s IPO will enhance the company’s governance and strengthen its standards.”
Amin Nasser, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, meanwhile thanked the new shareholders for their confidence and trust of the oil company.
The sale of 1.5 percent of the firm, or three billion shares, is the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy.
Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange earlier said it will hold an opening auction for Aramco shares for an hour from 9:30 a.m. followed by continuous trading, with price changes limited to plus or minus 10 percent.

The company said Friday it could exercise a “greenshoe” option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to $29.4 billion.
The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trillion-dollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.
Two-thirds of the shares were offered to institutional investors. Saudi government bodies accounted for 13.2 percent of the institutional tranche, investing around $2.3 billion, according to lead IPO manager Samba Capital.
The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.
Watch the video marking Aramco’s opening trading: