“Fashion Futures” unites the kingdom’s fashion community under the umbrella of the Ministry of Culture, with the objective of developing the fashion ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. Held under the patronage of HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., the event has become a key milestone on the fashion calendar in the Middle East. “The ‘Fashion Futures’ conference showcases the incredible talent and thriving fashion scene in the kingdom. It is a testament to our Saudi creativity and collaboration and provides the opportunity for our designers to receive well-deserved international recognition,” Princess Reema said.
The four main themes of “Fashion Futures” this year are sustainability, entrepreneurship, diversity and innovation. An international lineup of speakers will take part in panel discussions and workshops. The Future Fabrics Expo, the world’s largest dedicated sustainable sourcing showcase, will be coming to Riyadh for its first exhibition in the region, showcasing thousands of sustainable, commercially available textiles and cutting-edge materials.
Burak Çakmak, chief executive officer of the Fashion Commission, said, “We have placed innovation at the heart of the conference this year, with textiles as a key theme. 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 will also host an open to the public “swap shop” in partnership with Yoox Net-a-porter to encourage sustainable consumption.
The extensive development-focused program will also include masterclasses in partnership with Italian design schools Istituto Marangoni and Accademia Costume & Moda covering topics ranging from branding to merchandising and supply chain. The Middle East’s largest luxury retailer, Chalhoub Group, will offer workshops as well.
With 70 percent of the population of the Saudi Arabia under the age of 30, the commission is focused on growing and mentoring the creative potential of Saudi’s youth as the country goes through a period of pivotal transformation. The event is a unique opportunity for international visitors to also experience the fast paced changed, Çakmak said. He described the event as “building bridges” locally and globally, across the industry.
Past speakers of “Fashion Future” have included actress and activist Rosario Dawson; designers Rebecca Minkoff, Iris van Herpen, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Giles Deacon; model Halima Aden; fashion industry insiders like Nadja Swarovski, Fern Mallis, model and environmentalist Arizona Muse, Frederic Fekkai, and Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, as well as executives like Ravi Thakran, group chairman of LVMH Southeast Asia and Middle East.