Saudi Arabia Holds First-ever Fashion Awards, Presented by Saudi Fashion Council

Saudi Arabia’s first female jazz singer Loulwa Alshareef belted out a soulful rendition of the Etta James classic “At Last,” a fitting anthem for the first-ever Saudi Fashion Awards in the Kingdom.

The red carpet was full of regional stars at the King Abdullah Financial District. Less than a decade ago live music was banned and men and  women at a mixed social would have been illegal. Now on the fast track to the kingdom’s vision for liberalization, the Fashion Awards played a key role in both the society and for its bid to be recognized as a fashion hub.

“Saudi Arabia has received milestone after milestone and tonight is no exception. It will always be remembered as one where we made history together,” said Allison Tay, editorial director for ITP, who presented the Fashion Stylist of the Year Award.

“Tonight we celebrate the achievement of the individuals, designers and brands but also the collaborative spirit that drives us all forward,” said Burak Camak, chief executive officer of the Saudi Fashion Commission. “We are honoring the incredible innovation and creativity that define our industry, an array of talents, both Saudi and international. Your presence here is a testament to the vibrant and diverse community we are building in Saudi Arabia.”

Norma Kamali accepted the WWD International Designer of the Year award. She said she was thrilled to finally visit the country for the first time, where she was inspired by the talent of many designers she met at the WWD Global Fashion Summit earlier in the day.

“The future of fashion is really in this room. It’s in this country. It’s in this part of the world,” she said in accepting her award from James Fallon, editorial director of WWD and Fairchild Media Group. “This is very exciting for me to be watching something like this evolve. I’m thrilled to be invited. I love my job and what I do, so I don’t really need awards. In my heart I will always share it with all the Saudi designers to come and I wish you all the best.”

Loro Piana took home the WWD International Brand of the Year award, which was accepted by Marco Giacometti, chief commercial officer of Loro Piana. “This is special as we celebrate our 100th year as a brand,” he said.

Fahad Aljomiah, founder of streetwear label 1886, accepted the prize for best menswear designer for his brand, which he founded in a dorm room in London six years ago.

Jeddah-based Tima Abid, fresh off her opening show at Red Sea Fashion Week last month, took home the Designer of the Year award.

The full list of winners:

WWD International Designer of the Year: Norma Kamali

WWD International Brand of the Year: Loro Piana

Sustainable Brand of the Year: Chaldene

Fashion Photographer of the Year: Norah Almari

Menswear Designer of the Year: 1886

Womenswear Brand of the Year: Kaf by Kaf

Bridal Brand of the Year: Dar Alhanouf

Jewelry Designer of the Year: Yataghan

Designer of the Year: Tima Abid

Stylist of the Year: Alanoud Alsuwailem

SOURCE: Women’s Wear Daily

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