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 gathering.
The event will also provide a shopwindow for Saudi designers and brands to showcase and sell their products.
And taking place alongside the conference will be the Fashion Fabrics Expo, the world’s largest showcase dedicated to sustainable sourcing.
Hosted by the Saudi Fashion Commission, the annual conference will take place at the City Hub in Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City from Nov. 17 to 19.
It will feature 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, said: “The Fashion Futures conference shows the incredible talent and thriving fashion scene in the Kingdom. It is a testament to our Saudi talent, creativity, and collaboration.
“Conferences such as these 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 several 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 be presenting a workshop — run by The Greenhouse — in support of growing local talents, centering the group’s initiatives toward 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, scaling to new heights by nurturing Saudi talents, delighting consumers, and shaping the Kingdom’s retail sector.
“Over the past years, the Chalhoub Group has worked to build partnerships with public and private partners to enhance cooperation and explore opportunities.
“Our participation at Fashion Futures and our continued collaboration with the Fashion Commission is a testimony to our continuous efforts to support the Kingdom’s growth, Saudi designers, and talents.”
Other workshops will include a visual merchandising and brand content development masterclass targeting industry players, presented by Accademia Costume and Moda, an award-winning family-run Italian fashion school.
And a fashion stylist, senior executive, and politician image consultant will share her experience on crafting a personal brand.
Meanwhile, thousands of sustainable, commercially available, and interactive textiles will be on display at the Fashion Fabrics Expo along with newly developed innovative materials mastered with cutting-edge technologies.
The expo aims to positively impact the fashion industry both locally and globally.
Chief executive officer of the Fashion Commission, Burak Cakmak, said: “Fashion Futures is an opportunity for Saudi Arabia to bring the global fashion community together to drive forward sustainability, entrepreneurship, diversity and culture, and innovation.
“We have placed innovation at the heart of the conference this year, 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 that initiatives such as Fashion Futures will help to achieve.”
The Fashion Commission, one of 11 sector-specific commissions under the Ministry of Culture, is helping to lead the advancement of the fashion sector in the Kingdom.
Founded in 2020, it has been responsible for a host of industry initiatives, such as the Saudi 100 Brands exhibiting work in New York and Milan.