SOLO PHOTOGRAPHER ON THE RUNWAY AT SAUDI ARABIA’S FASHION WEEK: KRISTY SPAROW
RIYADH 2018—Just returned from Saudi Arabia’s first-ever Fashion Week, Kristy Sparow was the only photographer on the runway. The American, Paris-based fashion photographer was hired by NOWFASHION (Paris, Italy, and New York) to shoot for the Arab Fashion Council. Her images have been seen on major media sites, such as NPR, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, VOGUE, and NOWFASHION.
Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh took place at the city’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, and served as a strong, symbolic step towards a more liberal economy and female empowerment. This landmark event was hosted by the Arab Fashion Council and the organization’s honorary president, Princess Noura Bint Faisal Al-Saud. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s interest is to revive the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to a metropolitan destination with the fashion industry leading the way for improving women’s role in the KSA culture and the country’s position in the world.
According to Sparow, she had as much fun being a part of the event as the women attending. Even though the event was a women-only, sold out event, there was some intial hesitancy to attend. The attendance was low on the first evening, however, all went smoothly, and by the final day the venue was filled with several hundred women. Out of both necessity and respect for Saudi culture, Sparow wore the traditional abaya and hijab (long black dress and headscarf) while on the runway, in the hotel, and wherever she went.
Lebanon’s world known designer Tony Ward, and Brazil’s Maison Alexandrine, dominated the runway, along with Parisian designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, who gained attention with his fine European textiles and elaborate and surreal, yet conservative, designs. Arway Al Banawi, a Saudi designer under the Suitable Woman label, presented her fashions that go a bit against the grain, including her simple ready-to-wear “We Are A Kingdom” shirts, which drew attention at the show.
The Arab Fashion Council, who Kristy was shooting for, is the world’s largest not-for-profit organization, representing the fashion industry and the creative community in the 22 Arabic countries. AFC’s long-term vision is to establish an infrastructure that will secure the region’s role as a leader in the fashion industry. According to Arabian Business, the middle east fashion industry could create jobs for 20 million women
Arwa Al Banawi
Asory House Egypt
Basil Soda Lebanon
House of MuaMua Italy
Jean Paul Gaultier France
Maison Alexandrine Brazil
Mashael Al Rajhi
Naja Saade Lebanon
SWAF KSA KS
Tony Ward Lebanon
Yulia Yanina Russia
Mashael Al Rajhi KSA KS