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Without Making Too Much Noise, Saudi Arbia Had Its First Fashion Week

First Fashion Week
photo credit, WFDD radio station, world news desk.

With Female-only audience, and strict social media ban at Saudi Arabia’s first fashion week, women had their own moments at the Arabian peninsula.

In this story, you will read:

  • Increasing number of women in Saudi Arabia welcome social shift from traditional black abayas to more colorful patterned cloak.

  • “Yes, it has been most challenging event I have been ever part of, but the only way to look is forwards … next time will be better,” said Arwa Al-Bannawi a Saudi designer who showed a polished contemporary collection of tailored stapes.

  • There was a strict social media ban, as well as male editors and walkers in the back stage. However, female photographers were guaranteed access.

Original source: New York Times

Writer: Elizabeth Paton

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Fashion week in New York, Paris and Milan can often be a surreal experience, full of towering fantasy, inflated egos and sky-high stilettos. But last week, on the eve of the inaugural Arab Fashion Week Riyadh, the backdrop was very different: Sandstorms and thunderstorms loomed, and missiles fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen sailed overhead.

That, along with a lot of logistical confusion, meant that the week — another example of the social and economic change sweeping through what has been one of the most conservative countries in the world — did not go as smoothly as planned.

The first official fashion week ever held in Saudi Arabia was, said Marriam Mossalli, a luxury consultant in Jeddah, “an amazing opportunity to shift the disconnect in the minds of outsiders about Saudi women, how they design and how they dress. Women here have been waiting for years for a time to shine.”

Yet it almost didn’t happen, though perhaps not for the reasons you would assume.

Five months in the planning, and organized by the Arab Fashion Council (a nonprofit in Dubai that opened a Riyadh office in December), Arab Fashion Week was originally set to begin on March 25. It was postponed after scores of foreign journalists, buyers and models were unable to obtain visas in time to enter the country last month.