04 Nov 2019

Inaugural Fashion Futures kicks off in style in Riyadh

  • Designers, entrepreneurs and fashion industry heavyweights attended Day 1 of Fashion Futures in Riyadh.
  • Speeches and panel discussions focused on the evolution of the fashion sector in the digital age.
  • LVMH announced a $500m fund to invest in and support young designers and creatives in the GCC.
  • Ministry of Culture announced a scholarship program for young Saudi designers announced in conjunction with The New School’s Parsons School of Design in New York City.


Members of Saudi Arabia’s international fashion community attended the first day of the inaugural Fashion Futures in Riyadh on Monday.

The flagship conference is the first of its kind in the Kingdom and provides a platform for emerging local talent and industry leaders from around the world to engage and exchange ideas. The initiative is part of the Ministry of Culture’s drive to develop a flourishing fashion ecosystem in the country.

After welcome speeches from His Excellency Mr. Hamed M. Fayez – Vice Minister at the Ministry of Culture and Her Highness Princess Noura bint Faisal Al Saud - Advisor at the Ministry of Culture, guests were treated to a full schedule of lectures and panels from some of the sector’s most influential voices.

Ravi Thakran, Group President LVMH South Asia, South-East Asia, Australia and Middle East, opened proceedings with a keynote speech on the state of the global fashion industry. To the delight of the crowd, he unveiled a $500m fund to invest in and support fashion designers in the GCC.

In an on-stage interview, renowned designer, Iris van Herpen walked the crowd through her design inspirations, explaining how her early interest in dance and movement is reflected in her cutting-edge couture designs.

The importance of brand building in the age of Instagram was then discussed at a panel session headed by Gill Lynton, CEO of Byronesque and David Owen, CoFounder, IDEA Books. While Rahim Amlani, CEO Amlani Group Consulting, Will Beedle, Creative Director at All Saints and Oliver Bourgis, Founder of OBCM led a debate on the evolving fashion communications landscape.

Jonathan Chippindale, CEO of Holition’s lecture on how the rapid advances in data science and technology are allowing brands to deliver enhanced digital experiences for customers was particularly well received by the tech-savvy crowd.

The day closed with an interview with the legendary Bob Colacello, who drew on his lifetime career in the fashion world to provide a unique perspective on the sector’s transformation.

His Excellency Mr. Hamed M. Fayez announced the launch of a new five-year academic scholarship program in conjunction with leading fashion school, The New School’s Parsons School of Design, in New York City. The scholarship will enable four young aspiring Saudi fashion designers to attend the prestigious institution.

Commenting on the announcement, he said: “Nurturing young talent is absolutely vital to our goal of developing a thriving cultural sector in Saudi Arabia. The New School’s Parsons School of Design is one of the top universities in the world for fashion, and through our scholarship program Saudi designers will have a unique opportunity 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.”

A Gala Dinner saw artistic performances and a presentation styled by industry professionals of Saudi and international brands, with the aim to inspire the audience on the global fashion outlook.

Students from four schools in Saudi Arabia - Dar Alhekma, Princess Nourah University, Um Al-Qura University, and Arts and Skills Institute worked backstage on the production of the entire performance, giving them the chance to gain first-hand knowledge from top global experts in that fashion field.


For further enquires please email: media@moc.gov.sa

Notes to Editors

  • Fashion is one of the 16 sectors that the Ministry of Culture is seeking to develop, as outlined in its cultural vision launched earlier this year. The Ministry aims to develop a rich ecosystem of cultural institutions that support artists and cultural entrepreneurs.
  • Fashion Futures will address the elements needed to build a fashion ecosystem in the Kingdom, providing a forum for discussion and allowing homegrown Saudi fashion talent to have their needs addressed and voices heard.
  • It will include a fashion business incubator that will provide funding to support Saudi designers, as well as partnerships with various institutions to support fashion manufacturing in the Kingdom.
  • The New School’s Parsons School of Design ranks first in the fashion field in the United States and hosts a large number of international students from around the world.
  • The Ministry will shortly announce the application mechanism and the acceptance criteria for these scholarships, so that the designers can apply.