RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to take center stage when the world’s fashion industry converges on Riyadh for a major international conference.
Leading regional and global figures will discuss key sector issues such as sustainability, entrepreneurship, diversity and culture, and innovation during the three-day Fashion Futures meeting.
The event will also provide a shop window for Saudi designers and brands to display and sell their products.
And next to the conference, the Fashion Fabrics Expo will take place, the world’s largest showcase dedicated to sustainable sourcing.
Hosted by the Saudi Fashion Commission, the annual conference will take place at City Hub in Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City from November 17 to 19.
It will include speakers, industry influencers, retail activations, and pop-up events, as well as panel discussions, networking, question and answer, and masterclass sessions, and a closed street party.
Princess Reema bint Bandar, a member of the Commission’s Board of Directors, said: “The Fashion Futures Conference showcases the incredible talent and thriving fashion scene in the Kingdom. It is a testament to our Saudi talent, creativity and collaboration.
“Conferences like this are so essential because they provide the opportunity for our talent to receive well-deserved international recognition.”
To promote the importance of education, learning and global exchange, the Commission has collaborated with various partners and creatives to arrange specialized masterclasses and discussions.
Abdullah Abo Milhim, professor at the Italian design school Istituto Marangoni, will lead a masterclass on the business side of fashion, focusing on market development, innovation trends, digital transformation, supply chains and merchandising.
One of the event’s partners, the Chalhoub Group, will present a workshop – run by The Greenhouse – to support developing local talent, centering the group’s initiative on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Bachar Sabbagh, the group’s managing director for Saudi Arabia, said: We are fortunate to be part of the growth and transformation taking place in Saudi Arabia, building to new heights by nurturing Saudi talent, delighting consumers and retail sector of the kingdom.
“In recent years, the Chalhoub Group has worked to build partnerships with public and private partners to improve collaboration and explore opportunities.
“Our participation in Fashion Futures and our continued collaboration with the Fashion Commission is a testimony to our continuous efforts to support the growth of the Kingdom, Saudi designers and talents.”
Other workshops will include a visual merchandising and brand content development masterclass targeting industry players, presented by Accademia Costume a Moda, an award-winning, family-run Italian fashion school.
And a fashion stylist, senior executive, and politician image consultant will share their experience in creating a personal brand.
Meanwhile, thousands of sustainable, commercially available and interactive textiles will be showcased at the Fashion Fabrics Expo along with newly developed innovative materials mastered using state-of-the-art technologies.
The expo aims to positively impact the fashion industry locally and globally.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Fashion Commission, Burak Cakmak, said: “Fashion Futures is an opportunity for Saudi Arabia to bring together the global fashion community to promote sustainability, entrepreneurship, diversity and culture and innovation.
“We have put innovation at the heart of this year’s conference, with textile innovation a key theme. Creating future opportunities for all, industry experts will share their expertise and sustainability-driven solutions.
“Unlocking the potential of cleaner, greener solutions requires consumer, industry, and government buy-in, which initiatives like Fashion Futures help achieve.”
The Fashion Commission, one of 11 sector-specific commissions under the Ministry of Culture, helps to drive the progress of the fashion sector in the Kingdom.
Founded in 2020, it is responsible for a number of industry initiatives, such as the Saudi 100 brands exhibiting work in New York and Milan.