How Riyadh Fashion Week Showcased Saudi Arabia’s Creative Potential


Riyadh Fashion Week, the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, was a landmark event that highlighted the country’s emerging talent and ambition in the fashion industry. The four-day event, took place from October 20 to 23, 2023. It featured 15 runway shows by local and international designers, as well as workshops, panel discussions, and exhibitions. The event was organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s Fashion Commission, which aims to support the development and growth of the fashion sector in the kingdom.

A New Fashion Capital in the Middle East

Riyadh Fashion Week was held at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), a new and vibrant neighborhood that showcases the country’s vision to diversify its economy beyond oil. The KAFD boasts modern and futuristic architecture, including buildings designed by the late Zaha Hadid. The location was fitting for the fashion event, as it symbolized the country’s aspiration to become a regional and global hub for fashion and design.


The Fashion Commission’s CEO, Burak Cakmak, said that fashion is directly supporting Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 transformation, which aims to create new economic sectors and opportunities for the country’s young and dynamic population. Saudi Arabia is the largest consumer market of all the Gulf countries, with a forecasted demand for fashion products reaching $32 billion in the next two years. The commission expects that there will be a huge appetite not just for international luxury goods, but also for local products that reflect the country’s culture and identity. The commission also hopes that Riyadh Fashion Week will be a stepping stone for Saudi brands to find their rightful place in the global fashion scene.

A Showcase of Talent and Diversity

Riyadh Fashion Week featured a diverse and talented lineup of designers, who presented their collections in front of an enthusiastic and stylish audience. 


The event kicked off with a show by Mohammed Ashi, one of Saudi Arabia’s most well-known creative exports, who has been on the official calendar for Paris haute couture. Ashi hosted his first-ever runway show at home in Saudi Arabia, marking a milestone for his brand. He also announced that he is launching a new line of ready-to-wear eveningwear called “8pm”, which will debut in the Saudi market in March.



Other notable shows included Honayda Serafi, whose collection “Cosmos” was inspired by the first female Saudi astronaut to go into space, Rayyanah Barnawi. Serafi’s designs showcased bold and playful eveningwear styles, some modest and some not. Model Halima Aden, who made history as the first hijab-wearing model to grace international runways and magazines, walked for Serafi. 



KAF BY KAF presented a show to remember for the Riyadh Fashion Week. Kawthar Alhoraish displayed works made from exquisite crochet to bulky, bursting textiles, showcasing her grandeur. The Riyadh-born designer portrayed several facets of the Kingdom in her creations by blending her ancestry and customs from Saudi Arabia into each garment.


Arwa Al Banawi

Another highlight was Arwa Al Banawi. The collection “The Suitable Woman” celebrated the empowerment and diversity of Saudi women, featuring tailored suits, abayas, and streetwear. Al Banawi collaborated with Adidas for some of the pieces, as well as with Saudi artist Lulwah Al Homoud, whose calligraphy adorned some of the garments.


Riyadh Fashion Week also welcomed international designers, such as Lebanese couturier Elie Saab, who presented his spring 2023 collection, and Italian designer Giambattista Valli, who showed his fall 2023 collection. Both designers expressed their admiration and support for the Saudi fashion industry. They praised the creativity and talent of the local designers.

A Platform for Education and Exchange

Riyadh Fashion Week was not only a platform for showcasing fashion, but also for educating and exchanging ideas. The event hosted several workshops and panel discussions, where experts and professionals from the fashion industry shared their insights and experiences with aspiring designers, students, and enthusiasts. Some of the topics covered were fashion journalism, sustainability, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship. The event also featured exhibitions, where visitors could discover the history and heritage of Saudi fashion, as well as the latest trends and innovations.

To Sum up

Riyadh Fashion Week was a successful and memorable event that demonstrated Saudi Arabia’s potential and passion for fashion and design. The event was a testament to the country’s cultural and economic transformation, as well as its openness and diversity. Riyadh Fashion Week was a celebration of creativity, talent and style. It was a sign of more exciting things to come for the Saudi fashion industry.