Saudi Arabia’s first Fashion Week commenced on Tuesday, showcasing international designers Jean Paul Gaultier and Roberto Cavalli.
Models and designers were pleasantly surprised with the break in conservative practices of the kingdom.
“We are so excited because this is the first fashion week in Saudi Arabia, so we are making history,” model Anita Dmycroska said.
Models strutted down the catwalk as at any fashion event, but the show was not without restrictions. Men were allowed to attend the reception, however, only women could sit through catwalks. Photography outside of the event was also prohibited.
It is mandatory for Saudi women to wear abayas, long loose fitted gowns over clothes, in public but the catwalk did not feature any. However, there are strict rules placed for no show of cleavage or use of see-through fabrics. There can also be no dresses above the knee.
The people involved in making the fashion show happen called it a “historic” event.
“We are so excited today to be announcing a history and new era for the kingdom, and for the entire Arab world, which is Arab Fashion Week,” said Jacob Abrian, CEO of the Arab Fashion Council.
The pioneering event happened as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman makes significant changes in the kingdom’s policy for a much more modernized approach.
The kingdom saw its first cinema opening in decades and allowed women to drive, in a complete overhaul of usual Saudi social practices. The fashion show is an extended part of the crown prince’s “Vision 2030,” an attempt to bring the Saudi community on par with the rest of the world.
Princess Noura bint Faisal Al Saud, the honorary president of the Arab Fashion Council in Riyadh, claimed fashion has always been a part of the kingdom’s DNA.
“Fashion has always an interest of Saudi Arabia. It has not been something that wasn’t on the table or in the picture. Our fashion council is trying to bring the fashion industry in Saudi Arabia to a whole new level, a whole new industry,” she said, appreciating the efforts of the council.
Abrian also talked about the future of fashion in the region.
“I was always asking myself, why do us Arabs have to travel abroad to find our future? Why can’t we find our future in our own countries?” he said.
The next addition of the fashion show is scheduled for October 2018.
Thumbnail/Banner: REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser