In recent years we’ve witnessed a boom in conversations about representation and inclusivity in fashion and the creative industries. And although we’ve started seeing a wider range of ethnicities, races, genders and body types on runways, campaigns and covers, there still hasn’t been a concrete plan for institutional change when it comes to the teams behind the camera.
The world over, creative agencies are still overwhelmingly dominated by white-male boys club culture (ahem, ‘Mad Men’). But in 2020, brands are finally realising that if they want to connect with global audiences in a richer and more meaningful way, they need to look for agencies that place representation at the forefront of their workplace.
In the region, there is still limited representation of Arabs, and in particular Saudis, in media and fashion and fashion offices. But young Saudis are ready to make a difference. Fed up of trite stereotypes about their identity and culture, they’re launching their very own creative agencies, ultimately rewriting their own narratives. With tourism opening and cultural happenings across the country errupting, they rightly feel like now, more than ever, is the best time to put Saudi on the map.
When people think of countries that have birthed a new generation of boundary-breaking fashion designers, Saudi Arabia rarely comes to mind. But a new wave of emerging designers are changing the face of Saudi’s fashion scene. From Arwa Al Banawi to Coded Nation, young designers are rethinking their national and personal history, with the aim of bringing authenticity to the wider narrative.
Unfazed by the fact that Saudi Arabia isn’t synonymous with emerging fashion in the industry, young Saudi creatives are exploring their heritage—all while creating art and designs that appeal to everyone. For them, it’s not just a question of reclaiming an aesthetic; it’s a fundamental question of self-determination.
At a time when conversations about decolonising the fashion industry are gaining momentum, Saudis also want to present a new vision of fashion and art that is representative of who they are.
There has been growing demand for powerful and relatable content in the Kingdom that hasn’t been catered to. And as global advertising agencies haven’t responded to that demand, agencies like Authenticite and MishMosh are now filling that role.
Both agencies launched in 2020 and are devoted to empowering and championing young Saudi and Arab talent.
“Many local and international brands want to adapt to the Saudi market in a more credible and less cliché manner,” declared Hatem Al Akeel, founder of Authenticite agency, to Buro247, “The time has come for brands to take their content to the next level with a more local perspective”, he said, emphasising the importance of providing a space for Saudi voices to be celebrated globally.
“Things have massively shifted” MishMosh founder Huda Beydoun said in an interview with MILLE earlier this month, “There’s an explosion of talent in the Saudi fashion industry that ought to be appreciated and grown”.
Looking to create honest and powerful content in Saudi Arabia? Look no further.