“Saudi 100” is a traveling exhibition currently in New York featuring clothing and accessories from 100 Saudi designers, curated by Burak Cakmak, CEO of the Fashion Commission of Saudi Arabia and former Dean of Fashion at Parsons School of Design. On view until August 7 at the Flatiron Iron23 event space, it’s free and open to the public with pre-registration.
The traveling fashion showcase made its debut in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, late last year. It is divided into eight different categories – ready-to-wear, modest, concept, premiere, demi-couture, bridal, handbags and jewelry – and represents the creative breadth and wonderful craftsmanship that the designers of the Kingdom, eighty percent of whom are women. , to offer. Many have never shown their work internationally. “First and foremost, it’s about opening that cultural bridge that can lead to other steps to come in the future,” says Cakmak.
The featured designers represent all levels of business development, from emerging brands launched by recent design school graduates to established brands of two in their seventies. Cakmak offers a Foz Couture gold thread jumpsuit with a matching cape and a Layla Moussa pansy hand-embroidered with chrysanthemum flowers as two highlights.
For Cakmak, the choice of New York for the first international stage of the exhibition was both personal and socio-cultural. “I lived here for five years while at Parsons and always believed in the diversity of what New York has to offer in terms of culture,” he says. “And if you look at the history of fashion, clearly Paris has couture, but it was New York that really made it big business.”
The exhibition is part of a larger year-long program that aims to develop Saudi talent, offering mentorship from global industry leaders as well as workshops on topics ranging from design and innovation to creating a sustainable business.
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