News Tashkeela exhibition in Riyadh showcases fashion from Saudi Arabia and beyond

RIYADH: Riyadh’s Front Exhibition Center is playing host to a showcase of creativity with the Tashkeela exhibition by Saudi 100 Brands, which is spotlighting 160 Saudi-based fashion labels as well as Arab and international designers from March 16-19.

Organized by the Saudi Fashion Commission, which oversees the Saudi 100 Brands program, commission CEO Burak Cakmak told Arab News that the exhibition is geared toward guests discovering new brands.

“We created Tashkeela to offer the variety of designs that exists in the country. That starts with Saudi 100 (Brands), but it even goes beyond. We have close to 200 brands that are represented in this space, so it’s a moment of discovery and also even growing the retail landscape in the country beyond just the brands we know to be able to support the growth of retail as well in Saudi,” he said, referring to the Saudi 100 Brands program that was founded in 2021 to highlight Saudi talent through various means, including traveling exhibitions at the world’s major fashion weeks.

“Our inspiration is to continue to grow these retail locations, and there’s a lot of interest in the retail sector in the country. So, we’re slowly opening up the country as a place where people can learn about the Saudi market, but also do their transactions in the country, in addition to helping Saudi brands to grow,” Cakmak added.

In creating a comfortable setting for brand-to-customer exchange, the event aims to introduce brands to buyers and vice-versa.

“Most of (these brands) don’t necessarily have their own independent stores to create moments like this where all Saudi customers can come and find the brand, find the creative, talk to them in person and learn about them. So, the moment of sale starts here.

“Hopefully they sell a lot during Ramadan, but also build a relationship with these customers going forward and they continue to communicate through social media, through WhatsApp, because they have built a relationship here,” Cakmak said.

One brand taking part in Tashkeela is Torba Studio, which is showcasing new pieces inspired by the Middle Eastern folktale collection “One Thousand and One Nights.”

The brand’s co-founder, Nazek Al-Khulaifi, told Arab News: “We created this line especially for this.

“It’s very important that designers in our region focus on creating collections for this occasion because it’s very important for Muslims in general, Eid and Ramadan. To have such a thing is a push for designers to make it a seasonal thing that we care and focus on every year.”

Bahrain-based handbag brand NS by Noof is known for its use of geometric shapes. Every piece, whether inspired by the architecture of Andalusia or the traditional Ramadan lantern, is ideal for the holy month.

“I think Saudi, especially lately, has been in the lead of the fashion world in the Middle East. Women here are a bit adventurous and like to stand out with their abayas and fashion style, so I think this brand fits the market,” brand founder Noof Al-Shekar told Arab News.

“All the pieces are luxurious and one of a kind, so I think women who like to be different and stand out would appreciate the designs.”

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