JEDDAH - Weddings are a billion-dollar business in the Gulf region, with couples who think nothing of spending up to SR100,000 ($25,000) on jewelry alone.
So it is no surprise that leading Saudi fashion designers were eager to showcase their latest bridal offerings at the 19th Saudi International Wedding Expo, the largest event launched by Princess Moudi Bint Nasser bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.
More than 160 Saudi and international companies took part in the three-day expo, which highlighted trends in bridal fashion, beauty, decoration and jewelry.
Designers who took part included Amal Al-Anqawi, Lutfi Muamna, Buthaina Al-Joun, Bany Shaban, Sabahi Afghani, Rana Riri and Mona Rihan.
The Saudi Designers Forum staged seven fashion shows a day. Designer Lubna Shaaban said: “We want the world to know the creations of Saudi women designers.”
“I started my line in fashion designing from Milan after my marriage because of my husband’s work there,” Amal Al-Ankawi told Arab News.
“I have two directions in design, one mixed with Italian taste and the other about my own.”
Ten of Al-Ankawi’s designs will be shown at the exhibition. She will also conduct workshops for young fashion designers and students. “I am dedicated to the training of undergraduate students,” she said.
Saudi fashion designer Lubna Rehan, who has 13 years’ experience in design, runs a boutique that specializes in bridal accessories, lingerie and clothing for new mothers. With colleagues from the Saudi Designers Forum, she has taken part in exhibitions around the Arab and Western world, including London.
Sabiha Afghani told Arab News: “I do ethnic and folklore costume designs. I tried my hand at weddings dresses, but my passion is traditional. I have been designing costumes since I was a child, making the ‘ghumrah’ or ‘hennah nights’ for relatives. I enjoyed it so much that I turned it into a profession.”
Princess Moudi said that Saudi women designers have become important figures and key partners in the Kingdom’s development. Saudi Arabia will encourage designers to “realize many of their dreams,” she said.
More than 2,000 people have attended the exhibition and expo at a local hotel in Jeddah.
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