The British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced the launch of a new strategic partnership with the Arab Fashion Council (AFC), aiming to strengthen ties with the region as it pushes its fashion industry to growth.
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The new initiative was announced as the Arab Fashion Council launches the first ever official Saudi Fashion Week, which seeks to tap into the growing demand for high-end designs in the region and encourage local talent.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, said the partnership would allow the organisations to “share knowledge and strategy, tapping into the knowledge of the AFC so London designers can tap into the Arab market.”
The announcement follows the launch of the BFC’s partnership with VIP.com in China, as London Fashion Week continues to strengthen its ties to the global market.
President of the Arab Fashion Council Princess Noura Bint Faisal Al Saud said the partnership reflects the region’s desire to “transform Saudi Arabia into a global and regional marketplace and destination.” She described the inaugural fashion week, which will be held in Riyadh on 26-31 March, as the “first big step to welcome the international market to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Speaking to Drapers, Princess Noura said that the AFC and BFC “share the same goals” when it comes to nurturing new design talent, and stressed that she saw Saudi Fashion Week becoming one of the key players in the global fashion calendar. She highlighted the appeal of brands such as Burberry and Erdem in the region.
“The event is just the beginning,” she said. “It shows that we are open for business.”
This season will host 20 fashion shows, including involvement from international favourite Roberto Cavalli, with trunk shows presented in partnership with Harvey Nichols.
While it is early days for the partnership, Princess Noura told Drapers that she hopes the project will eventually involve educational projects around the fashion industry, and the creation of a “Hub” for brands seeking to enter the Middle Eastern market.