Historic: Saudi Arabia holds its first fashion week with no men attendee

Foreign and Saudi women attend the opening ceremony of Arab Fashion Week

Rabat- Saudi Arabia welcomed its first Woman-Only Arab Fashion Week on Tuesday April 10, at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh.

This is just one of a number of progressive moves made by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the kingdom's de-facto leader, who is hoping to improve the country's global image and attract foreign investors.

Fashion event started with a few other restrictions like only women were permitted at events and photographers from outside were not allowed.

It is mandatory for Saudi women to wear abayas, long loose fitted gowns over clothes, in public but the catwalk will not feature any.

The country has organised fashion shows in the past, but none have been part of a fashion week, and were usually hosted to raise money for charities.

"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", said Jacob Abrian, CEO of the Arab Fashion Council.

Another tent holds the catwalk, featuring designers from Brazil, Lebanon, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

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The event had amassed interest of global guests wanting to attend, as a result, the event was postponed multiple times citing delays in issuing visas and problems in deciding the venue.

Industry figures from Italy, Russia and Lebanon flocked to Riyadh, many for the first time, to admire the work of local and worldwide designers.

The moment was connected to larger changes in the Kingdom, she said.

"When people go to Paris on the Paris Fashion week, the hotels are completely fully booked", she said. "I want to create a platform for the local designers to go worldwide".

"This historical movement is not exclusive to Saudi Arabia, but to the whole world".

AFC wants to introduce fashion courses, internships and scholarships to Saudi Arabia and develop a fashion district in Riyadh. Many models and artists confessed that they were surprised that this event is happening here. "Why can't we find our future in our own countries?" he said.

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