The first Fashion Futures conference is underway in Riyadh and it has already delivered ground breaking news.
To help support the fast pace of change in Saudi Arabia, the French company LVMH has pledged $500 million (Dh1.83b) to invest in emerging fashion brands across the Gulf region.
Announced yesterday at the conference, which is backed by the Saudi Ministry of Culture, Ravi Thakran, group president of LVMH South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and Middle East, declared that the GCC region will be the "creator of brands" over the next decade, thanks to its young population and dynamic drive.
Thakran declared that the pledge from LVMH would allow the French conglomerate to work "hand in hand with the [Saudi Arabian] Ministry of Culture to develop and promote talent, and enable regional entrepreneurs to develop businesses”.
Additional support came from the Saudi Ministry of Culture when vice minister, Hamed M Fayez announced a five year scholarship programme with America’s leading fashion school, Parson's School of Design. Open to Saudi designers, it will offer students the opportunity to bolster their education by studying in one of the major fashion capitals of the world, New York.
“Nurturing young talent is absolutely vital to our goal of developing a thriving cultural sector in Saudi Arabia. Parsons is the number one fashion school in America, and now Saudi designers will be able to listen and learn from the best, as well as contribute their own ideas and work, to the ever-changing world of design and fashion,” Fayed explained.
The inaugural three-day event began on Monday with a fashion show that included work by international names as Stella McCartney, Off White and Simone Rocha, with speakers at the conference including designer Iris Van Herpen and model Halima Aden.