After a successful stop at July’s Paris Haute Couture Week, Saudi 100 Brands landed in Milan. Last week, the government-backed designer incubation program brought 40 Saudi fashion labels to Milan Fashion Week for a second year to present their latest collections in collaboration with White Milano, a leading womenswear trade show.
At the Padiglione Visconti, a 1,000-square-meter multi-purpose space in the Tortona fashion district, each designer had a dedicated pop-up from September 22 to 25. Among the participants was Ashwaq Almarshad, the first Saudi designer brand to be stocked in Harvey Nichols Riyadh’s haute couture department; Uscita, the nation’s first gender-fluid label; and Agmarat, a well-established house that will participate in Paris Fashion Week later this week.
“Being part of Saudi 100 Brands and representing Saudi culture abroad fills me with immense pride,” Agmarat founder Rana Alfehaid told Arab News. “It’s a responsibility I take seriously, and it’s an honor to be an ambassador for our culture through fashion.”
More importantly, White Milano gave emerging Saudi players their day in the sun. Names like Rebirth, a brand whose mission is to produce 100 percent of its garments in Saudi Arabia by 2025, luxury sleepwear maker La Précieuse, and womenswear brand Samar Nasraldin, all had the chance to communicate their unique vision to influential fashion buyers and industry leaders.
For her Spring 2024 line, Samar Nasraldin, founder of her eponymous label, put a modern spin on references from Saudi culture, such as making the veil look like a hoodie.
“We got great reviews from people,” Nasraldin told Arab News. “They are intrigued to see how we can modernize the [Saudi] heritage and identity into something international.”
The White Milano showroom opened with a gala event on September 20 at the historic Palazzo Serbelloni, where a number of pieces from the collections were spotlighted using scenography and choreography. It was followed by a pop-up store at Milan’s 10 Corso Como shopping complex, which runs September 19 to 28.
Altogether, the growing presence of Saudi designers at the big four fashion weeks underpins the kingdom’s ambitions to become a global fashion powerhouse. Next month, all eyes will be on Saudi Arabia as it hosts its inaugural fashion week in Riyadh and introduces the world to 30 of its top creatives.