How Saudi Arabia is using fashion to make another big change for women

Posted by
Susan Devaney
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Saudi Arabia is hosting its first-ever fashion week, adding to one of the many changes made in the kingdom this year. 

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia appears to be achieving many ‘firsts’ in 2018. From women finally being allowed to drive and enter football stadiums to the opening of the first cinema in 35 years, the country is definitely starting to change its conservative laws.

Now, the Middle Eastern country is hosting its first-ever fashion week.

Arab Fashion Week, which is being held in the country’s capital of Riyadh, is being headlined by world-renowned designers, Jean Paul Gaultier and Roberto Cavalli.

“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,” says Jacob Abrian, CEO of the Arab Fashion Council.

Kicking off this week in the Ritz Carlton Hotel, a whole host of local designers will present their collections – including Lebanese designer Naja Saade – over the four-day event.

“I’m very proud to participate in this first edition of Arab Fashion Week in Saudi Arabia, because it’s a part of the revolution of the women in this country,” says Saade.

Even though abayas are part of the country’s strict, religious dress code, the garment will not be featured on the catwalk at the invite-only event.

The recent changes come as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 programme which aims to broaden Saudi’s economy and lessen its dependency on oil. 

Recently, women in Saudi Arabia have started to wear colourful abayas. 

Some people on Twitter are even calling the event a “movement”. 

A second Arab Fashion Week is already scheduled for October 2018.

However, while things are changing within the country, but there are many things women still can’t do. Find out more about them here

Images: Getty / Unsplash