The Subsequent Iteration of Kuwait’s Oud Vogue Talks

In recent times, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — a area that consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — has drawn growing consideration from the worldwide style business, media retailers and customers alike.

Qatar’s internet hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022 led to an inflow of vacationers and flurry of exercise from luxurious manufacturers, just like the opening of Printemps Doha, and Dior and Louis Vuitton’s funding in boutiques in Qatar Obligation Free. In 2021, the UAE’s Dubai hosted the primary world expo within the Center East, with the likes of Chanel and Armani holding reveals there.

Recognising a chance to return the GCC’s Kuwait to the worldwide style map, Zainab Abdulrazzaq, founding father of style and wonder publication 3oud.com, launched Oud Vogue Talks (OFT) in Could 2022.

The inaugural occasion — a black tie dinner, exhibition and collection of talks at Kuwait’s Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre — celebrated and explored the business’s future in Kuwait and the Center East, and attracted worldwide and native style editors, designers and retailers to the talks. Oud Vogue Talks welcomed BoF’s Imran Amed, Elie Saab Jr, Al-Ostoura’s Najla Maatouk and former Harper’s Bazaar Arabia editor, Louise Nichol, amongst others, on stage.

Certainly, the GCC noticed $2.9 billion in complete luxurious style gross sales in 2021, with Kuwait accounting for 15 p.c of the regional market, in keeping with Bain & Co. Mordor Intelligence additionally initiatives a market development for the posh items sector within the Center East and North Africa (MENA) area at a CAGR of 8.5 p.c between 2022 and 2025.

Now, BoF sits down with Oud’s Zainab Abdulrazzaq, to be taught her reflections of the primary version of Oud Vogue Talks, her views on the way forward for style within the area, and the alternatives that lie forward as she prepares for the second iteration of the occasion.

Why is Oud Vogue Talks vital within the positioning of Kuwait within the worldwide style business?

It’s time for Kuwait now to be part of the dialog, to be a significant participant within the style business, and I consider Kuwait has all the weather to be part of the worldwide style neighborhood. However you will need to construct the suitable construction, to undertake the suitable inventive expertise and construct them up internationally. So, once we began planning Oud Vogue Talks, we did so with a imaginative and prescient to reposition Kuwait on the map and the style scene, particularly within the GCC but additionally worldwide.

The Kuwaiti client has the know-how and is daring. We’re additionally open to Western international locations and their model. Kuwait is a various nation with many nationalities, which has opened up a inventive neighborhood.

What learnings from the primary iteration of OFT are inspiring its evolution?

By means of Oud Vogue Talks, I got here to understand that we had so many designers and creatives in Kuwait, and that the personal sector may be very supportive of this business. Typically, for any venture, the primary problem is securing monetary companions, however for us, that was the simplest a part of organising the occasion.

Beforehand, the federal government in Kuwait didn’t recognise how vital style was for the financial system or for the nation itself, for branding and selling the nation. I consider it has helped to open their eyes to the potential of Kuwaiti style business. I feel they care about this extra, now that we have now introduced consciousness to it.

Beforehand, the problem was extra inside […] and now we have now inspired extra of a nationwide consciousness, we’re on the lookout for better worldwide publicity.

We didn’t suppose that the occasion was going to be as profitable because it was — we didn’t see that coming. It has put us beneath extra strain for subsequent yr, however we wish to enhance for our subsequent iteration. The occasion itself shall be longer — beforehand, it lasted two days with a gala and the panel discussions the next day. I consider we have to lengthen it to 3 days by including extra workshops.

What is going to the main target be for subsequent yr’s talks and celebration?

We wish to focus extra on bringing consciousness to the Kuwaiti style business, how vital it’s to this nation and its advantages to the financial system itself.

We’re open to not solely that includes content material about style but additionally jewelry and equipment. We would like worldwide designers to share their tales, like within the first version with Elie Saab Jr. sharing his story as a profitable regional designer — somebody our design neighborhood can aspire to.

The primary version was additionally extra about enterprise, and we acquired plenty of demand from younger Kuwaiti photographers who wish to be taught and obtain entry to the business too, so we need to host a workshop with photographers too. We wish to have retailers talking once more, and to have extra digital experience as it’s now so vital to this enterprise.

We additionally wish to create a fund to help native designers in Kuwait — which means any designer that lives in Kuwait, no matter their nationality.

On our newly launched web site, oudfashiontalks.com, we have now a bit the place designers can apply and ship us what they’ve. We need to host an exhibition for designers like we did final yr, to open up their work to worldwide editors and potential buyers.

What’s your hope for the way forward for style in Kuwait and the broader GCC, and what position does OFT play in supporting that?

Beforehand, the problem was extra inside — I wished the Kuwaiti system to alter, and now we have now inspired extra of a nationwide consciousness with the occasion itself, we’re on the lookout for better worldwide publicity.

I see enormous potential. I can’t perceive why there’s nonetheless this West and Center East client division. We wish to construct a neighborhood to help native abilities.

I realised it was time for me to present again and, if attainable, encourage change within the system. Now we have plenty of creativity and there’s no motive why we’re not there but. However I don’t consider that one initiative shall be sufficient.

The Oud Vogue Talks occasion will happen between the tenth and twelfth of Could 2023.

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