Fashion Commission finalizes sector development strategy

May 02, 2021
The Fashion Commission at the Ministry of Culture created a dress code for the Saudi Cup last February. (Credit: Fashion Commission)
The Fashion Commission at the Ministry of Culture created a dress code for the Saudi Cup last February. (Credit: Fashion Commission)

RIYADH — The Fashion Commission has announced the completion of its sector development strategy in line with the Ministry of Culture’s Cultural Vision.

The Fashion Commission will now work to implement the initiatives and projects set out in the strategy to enhance the national identity of the Saudi fashion industry and to serve designers, investors and creatives in all sector-related fields.

The Fashion Commission’s strategy is built from analysis of the current fashion sector and includes benchmarking comparisons on the best ways to develop and advance the sector.

The study resulted in the identification of several enabling factors, including: research and innovation; product development; manufacturing and supply chain; retail and distribution; marketing and communication; and product life-cycle management.

The Commission’s analysis was supported by views from the Saudi fashion community and includes additional focus areas to drive the sector’s advancement, through building robust educational and training programs to develop work-ready graduates, providing outlets to distribute locally designed products, and building networks between designers, investors and beneficiaries.

In addition to increasing the sector's efficiency in producing highly manufactured products, providing support in product development, and ensuring Saudi’s rich heritage is reflected in its fashion.

The Fashion Commission’s strategy has four guiding principles: 1. Set the right ambition for the sector along each step of the value chain; 2. Plan in waves to balance short-term needs, mid-term goals and long-term ambitions; 3. Grant short-term focus to address today’s challenges for stakeholders and achieve material results in less than 12 months and, 4. Strategically sequence overall initiatives to contribute to the success of Vision 2030.

The Commission has a clear Vision: "To evolve the Kingdom’s Fashion Industry through Culture, amplifying Saudi Heritage and Identity, while responding to global needs and impacting national economy".

And its Mission is "to enable the development of a thriving Saudi fashion industry, sustainable and inclusive, fully integrated along the value chain, maximizing local talent, experiences and competences.”

Fashion Commission CEO Burak Cakmak on the ambitions of the Commission said: “The strategy was crafted to ensure we are creating the right infrastructure to develop the industry. The Kingdom can be a stellar example of how to build an innovative, sustainable, locally and culturally relevant fashion ecosystem in a country.

“Through engaging with the innovators across the value chain and partnering to bring education, business development, entrepreneurship and retailing experiences, Saudi (Arabia) will be able to transform local businesses to achieve the highest standard in their operations and branding that can be celebrated globally.”

The Fashion Commission will implement 20 initiatives to serve and develop the sector, as well as support its affiliates, namely:

1. Defining the fashion sector’s bylaws;

2. Creating a Saudi Fashion Professionals Association;

3. Narrating the Fashion Commission’s work, Saudi fashion identity and designers, through media channels and events;

4. Activating a Product Development studio to support designers;

5. Promotion of R&D investments in innovative sustainable textiles technologies;

6. Contribute to the development of creative districts acting as the epicentres for the creative industry;

7. Measure Saudi fashion industry evolution through data collection and assessment;

8. Support national / international fashion exhibitions;

9. Create a fashion mentorship program;

10. Expand and enrich KSA fashion education through updating degree curriculum and offering new short courses, certificate programs and masterclasses;

11. Promote the development of a network of private sector companies specialized in product development services;

12. Supporting the development of retail opportunities for local designers;

13. Attract investments for the development a local fashion manufacturing system;

14. Partnerships with foreign education institutions;

15. Collaboration program across other Commissions and Saudi institutions;

16. Promote accessibility of raw materials and manufacturing suppliers;

17. Create a digital network of industry professionals to facilitate connections;

18. Launch professional development programs for local brands;

19. Support participation in global fashion conferences and events; and

20. Create a Fashion Hub to support emerging talent with access to making tools and knowledge.

These initiatives cover the scope of the Fashion Commission's work and will also contribute to a thriving cultural and educational ecosystem, enable and enhance the expression of Saudi heritage and identity and boost designers’ talents.

The Commission will also play an active role in stakeholder engagement, will improve the legal and regulatory framework, and establish long-term partnerships to promote growth in the sector locally and globally, positioning the Kingdom as a regional gateway to the world of sustainable fashion and achieving global leadership in the areas of retail and consumption. — SG

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