RIYADH — The fashion sector in Saudi Arabia made a substantial impact on the domestic economy, as it has contributed a noteworthy 1.4% to the nation's GDP in 2022.
This amounted to an impressive $12.5 billion (SR46.9 billion), highlighting the industry's integral role in driving economic growth and diversification.
These numbers have been revealed in a forum hosted by the Saudi Fashion Commission in Riyadh, during which it has showcased its report ‘State of Fashion in Saudi Arabia (2023)’.
The report clearly outlines fashion’s connection to Vision 2030, relating to the country’s aims to diversify the economy, expand job creation, and further cultural enrichment.
With this significant impact, fashion sales in Saudi Arabia from 2021 to 2025 are expected to surge by 48%, representing an annual growth rate of 13%.
The fashion sector in the Kingdom has also contributed impressively to job creation, as the report highlighted that, in 2022, employees engaged in fashion-related roles reached 230,000.
This included 90,000 jobs in core fashion occupations dedicated to supporting the fashion industry, and an additional 140,000 jobs in non-core and ancillary occupations that contributed to the sector's vitality.
During the forum, CEO of the Fashion Commission Burak Cakmak said that to date the Saudi’s fashion sector holds the largest projected growth rates of any other large, high-income markets, providing significant opportunities for Saudi businesses, investors, creatives, and the ambitious youth population.
Cakmak stated that “Building on the success of our global launch of the ‘State of Fashion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2023)’ report at Paris Fashion Week, we encourage people to follow updates on our website and social platforms, to explore the vast potential that lies ahead for Saudi Arabia's growing domestic fashion industry”.
At the heart of Saudi fashion's growth was the Fashion Commission's resolute inclusivity push, seen in a dedicated program boosting women's employment.
This effort resulted in women making up 52% of employees in Saudi Arabia's fashion sector, a statistic that aligns with the broader goal of promoting gender equality.
The report outlined prospects for a greener fashion ecosystem, integrating material science advancements, innovative garment reuse, recycling, and heightened consumer awareness.
This focus reinforced the industry's commitment to minimizing its environmental impact and fostering a sustainable future under Vision 2030.
Saudi Arabia's robust investment in talent development is evident through well-funded scholarship programs that enable students to study at prestigious universities worldwide, fostering world-class designers.
The Commission's Saudi 100 Brands initiative, a yearlong mentorship program for established and emerging brands, has propelled these designers onto the global fashion stage, showcased through their participation in major events in New York, Paris, and Milan, underscoring Saudi Arabia's increasing role in the global fashion scene.
It is noteworthy that the ‘State of Fashion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2023)’ report was unveiled in the form of a one-of-a-kind book woven into a dress with materials designed by one of Saudi’s esteemed fashion power houses, Atelier Hekayat.
On display at the State of Fashion Forum, the design process embraced the fusion of tradition and innovation in the realm of fashion, while emphasizing how Saudi is propelling itself towards the future.
Those who want to view the Saudi Fashion Insights platform and download the full 'State of Fashion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2023)' report can visit the following link: fashionfutures.com
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