• In a series for firsts, Saudi Arabia hosts its First Swimwear Fashion Show.
  • Yasmina Qanzal’s beachwear collection put on display
  • The fashion industry accounted for $24 billion which is 1.4% of the GDP

Fashionably late! But better late than never. 

On Friday, 17 May 2024, Saudi Arabia hosted its historic inaugural Swimwear Fashion Show at the Red Sea Fashion Week. It was hosted by St. Regis Red Sea Resort located at Saudi Arabia’s Western Coast. Showcasing a summer beachwear collection by Moroccan designer Yasmina Q

It is seen as a part of dramatic social and economic reforms introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to move towards a progressive and liberal society for women.

 It is indeed a brave step to introduce swimsuits in a land known for its strict head-to-toe covering abaya robe policy. Models were seen adorning mostly one-piece suits in the hues of ravishing red, blue and beige beachwear with revealing mid-riffs and shoulders. It is a welcome move in a land where not so long ago women had no say on matters pertaining to their own choice of clothes.


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Introduction of new reforms

Since being named Crown Prince in 2017, Bin Salman is seen as a champion for women’s rights as he has taken several initiatives to let loose of the cultural restrictions imposed on women including allowing women to drive, in stark contrast to the country’s stick-wielding religious police. It is interesting to note that the Crown Prince intends to shift from Wahhabism to a soft, modern version of Islam.

Fashion and Finance

The Inaugural fashion week is a part of Red Sea Global, one of the mega projects central to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 social and economic reforms overseen by Mohammed Bin Salam.

Saudi Arabia’s fashion industry was worth $24.6 billion in 2022 including international brands and its domestic fashion industry was worth $12.5 billion in 2022 which is projected to expand by 48% in 2025 giving it a much-deserved push.

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