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In Riyadh, the Saudi Fashion Commission has announced that the fashion sector in the country is expected to experience substantial growth compared to other well-established, affluent markets.
This comes after the commission's "The Fashion Status in Saudi Arabia" report, which was published in June and recently presented at a conference in Riyadh.
The discussion board explored the importance of the report's information and discoveries. For instance, in the year 2022, the fashion industry in the Kingdom had a significant influence on the local economy, making a commendable contribution of 1.4 percent to the country's overall economic output. This equated to an astonishing $12.5 billion, emphasizing the industry's essential role in stimulating economic expansion and variety.
The report suggests that fashion sales in Saudi Arabia will experience a significant increase of 48 percent between 2021 and 2025. This surge reflects an annual growth rate of 13 percent.
Burak Cakmak, the CEO of the commission, expressed that the enthusiasm of the youth for innovation and their optimistic perspective on the country's economic progress are propelling numerous businesses to explore their creative potential.
"We are also witnessing significant enthusiasm from global companies to become a part of this expansion, along with their determination to establish additional outlets, recruit more senior professionals, and generate a significant amount of excitement and curiosity within the nation."
The publication was introduced as a novel sporting garment, where the book's sheets can be skillfully assembled into a graceful gown. The eco-friendly and inventive masterpiece was crafted by Atelier Hekayat, a fashion establishment from Saudi Arabia, who expressed their desire for "a literary attire and a readable ensemble."
Prior to the publication, the data available was quite vague and included information from various industries like consumer goods and overall expenditures, without any distinct fashion categories. Although the industry had great potential, it lacked an official record in terms of figures. This motivated the commission to start producing a yearly report that would highlight the local fashion industry as a valuable asset for both domestic and international investors and businesses.
To create the report, the committee counted on currently available governmental systems.
Cakmak expressed the advantage of being part of the fashion commission, which is the ability to utilize our connections within our network facilitated by the Ministry of Culture. Additionally, we are privileged to have access to both qualitative and quantitative data that we have been gathering as part of our involvement in the entire industry value chain.
"We are collaborating not just with boutique labels, but also vendors (who have) the capability to operate throughout the entire supply chain, gathering both numerical data and insights from focus groups and studies that truly empowered us to compile this comprehensive report this year. We are excited about expanding upon it and enhancing its level of detail and intrigue."
Regarding the importance of the sector's estimated expansion, Cakmak expressed: "What struck me the most, despite being aware of the anticipated growth, is that we are anticipating a 13 percent increase by 2026. This would result in a whopping $32 billion in revenue for the industry, which was quite unforeseen."
Bringing attention to the industry's remarkable impact on employment, the study emphasizes that in 2022, there were 230,000 individuals working in fashion-related positions. This encompassed 90,000 positions directly involved in essential fashion jobs that sustain the industry, as well as an extra 140,000 positions in supporting roles that contribute to the industry's energy and growth.
The core of the development of Saudi fashion was driven by the commission's unwavering commitment to inclusivity. This was evidenced through a specific initiative aimed at enhancing women's participation in the workforce. As a result, women now comprise 52 percent of the workforce in the fashion industry in Saudi Arabia, aligning with the overarching objective of advancing gender parity.
Cakmak stated that there will be a significant increase in available job opportunities, more individuals joining the industry, and a strong determination among local brands to establish larger enterprises. This collective drive will be the driving force behind substantial growth. Cakmak specifically highlighted the anticipated growth in positions like retail sales workers, managers, and designers.
According to the report, the establishment of fresh malls and shopping centers throughout the nation signifies the flourishing state of brick-and-mortar retail spaces.
With e-commerce gaining immense importance, accounting for 9 percent of overall retail sales nationwide, it also opens up opportunities for up-and-coming designers to greatly shake up the market.
The article also provides essential information on different aspects, such as the key sources of imports in the fashion industry, the expansion of various fashion categories, governmental spending, and production.
The efforts of the Kingdom to promote sustainable practices go beyond the realm of fashion.
The report also emphasized the potential for more environmentally friendly ecosystems, advancements in the production of clothing and fabrics, and the incorporation of cutting-edge material technologies.
The report intends to be a vital resource for important individuals in the Saudi fashion industry as the nation continues to draw the attention of global investors. Its objective is to assist them in examining and evaluating their activities within the country.
According to Cakmak, it serves as a method to evaluate and assess their advancement. Moreover, it is also crucial for identifying potential investments and collaborations within the nation for global corporations and brands. In the past, these entities mainly relied on their current customer data obtained through licensing and franchising agreements, which may not provide a comprehensive understanding for some international participants.
The committee has additionally aided in promoting regional talents and innovators to a global audience through the Saudi 100 Brands program. This undertaking has provided participants with valuable chances to exhibit their work on an international scale, specifically at renowned fashion events such as Paris and Milan fashion weeks.
“The current rate of expansion we are witnessing serves as a strong indication of the significant impact fashion has on Saudi Arabia's overall economy. This subject holds relevance for every individual residing in the country," Cakmak expressed.
Many young individuals in Saudi Arabia are currently showing a great deal of interest in establishing their own businesses. The ambitious entrepreneurial spirit of Saudis, along with their belief in the promising future of the nation's economic development, motivates them to seize the opportunity to be a part of this growth. Consequently, they aspire not only to contribute to the overall economy but also to construct their own successful enterprises.