HomeSaudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia Hosts Historic Swimsuit Fashion Show in Landmark Social Shift

Saudi Arabia Hosts Historic Swimsuit Fashion Show in Landmark Social Shift

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Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — In a groundbreaking move for a nation known for its conservative values, Saudi Arabia hosted its first-ever swimsuit fashion show on Friday. 

The event took place at the luxurious St Regis Red Sea Resort during the inaugural Red Sea Fashion Week, marking a significant milestone in the Kingdom’s ongoing social and economic transformation.

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The poolside fashion show, showcasing the designs of Moroccan designer Yasmina Qanzal, featured an array of one-piece swimsuits in elegant shades of red, beige, and blue. 

Qanzal expressed her pride in participating in what she described as a “historic moment” for Saudi Arabia.

It’s true that this country is very conservative, but we tried to show elegant swimsuits that represent the Arab world,” Qanzal told AFP. “When we came here, we understood that a swimsuit fashion show in Saudi Arabia is a historic moment because it is the first time such an event has been held,” she added, emphasizing the honor of being involved in this pioneering showcase.

The fashion show is part of the broader Vision 2030 initiative, a sweeping reform program spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Since becoming the heir apparent in 2017, Prince Mohammed has enacted a series of bold social changes aimed at diversifying the economy and softening the Kingdom’s austere image. 

This includes curtailing the authority of the once-feared religious police, reintroducing cinemas, and organizing mixed-gender music festivals.

While these reforms have faced criticism and resistance, particularly from conservative clerics, they have also coincided with increased repression of dissent. 

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Nonetheless, the government’s commitment to these changes reflects a desire to reposition Saudi Arabia on the global stage as a more open and modern society.

The Red Sea Fashion Week, held at one of Saudi Arabia’s so-called giga-projects, Red Sea Global, is designed to highlight the Kingdom’s burgeoning fashion industry. 

According to a 2022 report by the Saudi Fashion Commission, the fashion sector contributed $12.5 billion to the national GDP and employed 230,000 people, underscoring its growing economic significance.

The attendance of international influencers like Shouq Mohammed and Raphael Simacourbe further signaled Saudi Arabia’s intent to attract global attention and tourism. 

Mohammed, a Syrian fashion influencer, noted that the event was a natural progression of the Kingdom’s efforts to open up and expand its cultural horizons.

“It’s the first time a swimsuit fashion show has been held in Saudi Arabia, but why not? Seriously, why not?” Mohammed remarked. “It’s possible, and we have it here.”

Simacourbe, a French influencer, highlighted the significance of the event within the Saudi context. “That’s very brave of them to do that today, so I am very happy to be part of it,” he said, acknowledging the cultural shift the fashion show represents.

As Saudi Arabia continues to navigate the delicate balance between tradition and modernization, events like the swimsuit fashion show serve as poignant symbols of change. 

The successful execution of such an event not only marks a step forward for the fashion industry but also signifies a broader cultural evolution within the Kingdom.

 

This article was created using automation and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our staff editorial members

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