Saudi designers Honayda Serafi and Nasiba Hafiz. Photo: Courtesy of Basamat
Saudi events agency Basamat has launched a unique and exciting Ramadan Bazaar in the historical area of Al Balad in Jeddah. From April 20-23, the event will spotlight 20 Saudi Arabian brands as well as international labels through activations and an exclusive runway show. Guests will have the opportunity to interact with designers in a showroom and purchase products as well as receive immersive experiences such as styling, hair and makeup masterclasses, exclusive shopping opportunities, and private suhoor events. Among the professional creatives who are a part of the Bazaar include celebrity hairstylist Nabil Harlow, stylist Lejenke, who has worked with Naomi Campbell, Beyoncé, and Kim Kardashian.
Photo: Courtesy of Basamat
A few of the bespoke luxury events and activations allow guests to have their purchases customized to their liking, including makeup and nail stations. The event also features an installation pertaining to Saudi culture and destinations, wherein guests can learn about the Holy Month of Ramadan and the heritage of the Kingdom. Brands included within the Bazaar are Honayda, Nasiba Hafiz, Otkutyr fashion house, Galag, Kim’s Caffee, The Parlor Salon, and 28.g.
Below, find out more about the Bazaar from Aisha Almamy, founder of Basamat.
Aisha Almamy. Photo: Charl Marais
What made you want to launch the Bazaar during Ramadan?
I wanted to launch the Bazaar in Ramadan as it is the month when everyone in Saudi, Jeddah, and Mecca, gather and families meet each other. It’s the month of giving back, it’s the month where everyone is spiritual and is trying to be the best version of themselves.
Why did you pick Al Balad as the location?
The location of the Bazaar is in the heart of Jeddah, it’s a Unesco site, and nobody has ever done an event there and I was the first to have this opportunity. The location is in between historical houses where our roots come from, where our grandfathers and grandmothers used to live.
Photo: Courtesy of Basamat
Tell us more about the unique concept of the Bazaar.
We have around 20 brands from all the departments from high fashion, couture, streetwear, art, beauty, perfume, nail salon, styling, and accessories. We also have a beautiful runway for the fashion show. Every day is the participants’ day; they get a chance to show their clothes on the runway in the middle of these authentic houses. I picked and approached the brands I wanted to work with me. My event is a very niche and very high-end event, and my idea is to bring high fashion into the original Jeddah. They called Jeddah the Bride of the Red Sea and my idea was to have the shining ring as my Bazaar for that bride. The shape of the runway is in bright white that looks like a diamond surrounded by colorful lighting so with the drone you see it as a diamond surrounded by colorful gems.
We have booths for the designers to present their goods and collections, and we have the help center which is a non-profitable organization for special needs children and part of the income of this event is charity to help the kids. We also have Dar Al-Hikmah college, one of the few fashion and art universities, so we wanted to bring the girls there who study fashion and art to join our masterclasses for free. We have three masterclasses—three major experts we flew here, so we have one day for makeup, one day for styling, and one day for hair.
Photo: Courtesy of Basamat
What kind of an experience do you aim to offer the visitors of Bazaar?
It’s about quality and creating community and experience, as well as luxury. We have valet parking for all of our guests, we have a PA to welcome the guests at the entrance and guide them through the event and introduce the story behind each brand, as well as a bell boy to carry their purchases. We have a Basamat lounge for our VIP platinum guests and the celebrities that we invite.
The event was also made possible with the help of our sponsors, Porsche and Aston Martin. We have a green recycled Saudi water brand and we have Arbab Al Haraf, an art community as a sponsor. We also have Liquid, a Saudi production company, and the most amazing lighting guy, Hussein Gazaz, who is called the King of Lights in Jeddah, Half of the magic in this event was created by his lighting.
I studied fashion and film production and lived in Paris for nine years. I double-majored in film production and entrepreneurship at the American University of Paris and I lived in London. Now, I’m back in Saudi and I couldn’t be happier to feel that I am bringing all the knowledge and everything that I’ve learned to the heart of my city and country where my family used to live.
Read Next: Everything to Know About Saudi Arabia’s Inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale in 2023
Saudi designers Honayda Serafi and Nasiba Hafiz. Photo: Courtesy of Basamat
Saudi Crown Prince Announces Largest Ever Project to Expand Quba Mosque, the First in Islamic History
Quba’ mosque at madinah the city of light was built by prophet Muhammad and the first mosque that was built in the history of islam
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has announced the expansion of Islam’s most notable mosque, Quba, located in Medina. Quba was the first mosque built under Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in the year 1 AH (622 AD) and holds a special place in the history of Islam.
The place of worship is currently 5,035 square kilometers in size with plans to expand to 50,000 square meters, tenfold the size. Goals to have Quba reach a capacity of 66,000 worshipers are also in order, allowing for the accommodation of the largest number of mosque-goers. The project dubbed the “largest expansion in the history of the Quba mosque” seeks to add to the beauty of the mosque while maintaining its heritage and architectural beauty.
The goals in line with the expansion of Quba involve increasing visitor numbers by providing more space and further granting safety to worshippers. The project also aligns with the 2030 visions of the Kingdom that call for a better quality of life, introducing programs and advancements to develop public sectors and diversify its economy.
According to the official statement, there will also be 57 historical sites from wells, farms, orchards and linking three of the prophetic paths built alongside the generous expansion of Quba. There will also be a clearer road passage and security system designed to keep worshippers safe. “It is worth mentioning that Quba Mosque has been important in architecture and expansion throughout history, starting with the Prophet, Rashidi, Umayyad and Abbasid eras, and ending with the prosperous Saudi era,” reads the statement.
The Crown Prince also visited and prayed at the Quba mosque in Medina during his visit. Accompanied by Prince Faisal bin Salman and the Governor of Medina, the Crown Prince received scholars and prominent royals at Taiba Palace in Medina.
Read Next: Saudi Actor Aseel Omran on Becoming Dior’s First Arab Ambassador: “There Are No Limits to Anyone’s Potential
Abbi Pulling and Aseel Al Hamad Photo: Courtesy of Alpine
Going through the very first Saudi State and home to the Al Saud Dynasty, state of Diriyah, all the way to the vibrant King Abdallah Financial District, the engines of the BWT Alpine F1 cars blasted through streets of the Kingdom. Behind the wheels were Aseel Al Hamad, Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation Board Member, and Abbi pulling, Alpine Academy Affiliate Driver, who marked themselves in history as the first-ever women to drive F1 cars in Saudi Arabia.
The two motorsport record-breakers not only take the lead for the first women to drive the Alpine V8-powered E20 cars, but with the support of Saudi Tourism Authority, have also made waves with the first time an F1 has ever been driven through the streets of the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh. As a female leader and member of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and a board member of the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation, Al Hamad has also consistently worked to advance strategies and policies to promote women in motorsport, specifically in Saudi Arabia. The F1 driver has previously made history with Alpine in 2018 when she took the same E20 on track at Paul Ricard Circuit, France.
Aseel Al Hamad. Photo: Courtesy of Alpine
“It was beautiful to drive with BWT Alpine F1 Team once again, and even more special to do this in my country of Saudi Arabia and my home city of Riyadh,” says Al Hamad. “I hope this inspires more generations to fall in love with Formula 1 and for more women to consider motorsport as a future career.” Of taking the journey with 19-year-old Pulling she said, “I was super happy to meet Abbi, a lovely girl with lots of ambition, and an amazing passion for racing. She shows that with enough drive, girls can become professional racing drivers. It is important that we showcase examples to demonstrate to the younger generation that it can be them in the future; it doesn’t matter your gender; you need to show your talent. I will be cheering for them and opening the doors and hopefully we will see them on podiums in the near future.”
Abbi Pulling. Photo: Courtesy of Alpine
Having joined Al Hamad in the drive through the Kingdom, Pulling will soon compete in the W Series this year. Part of the Alpine Affiliate Programme, Pulling promotes young racers and provides them the training and guidance needed to make it all the way through to F1. “I got my first experience of an F1 car last weekend and it was everything I was expecting, and more,” said Pulling. “I started racing when I was just eight years old, always with the goal of reaching Formula 1, and I am so pleased to have got that little bit closer. It is very important for the industry to encourage and support young, female talents to achieve their ambitions. It was a pleasure to meet Aseel and to hear about all her initiatives to support young racers. It’s super encouraging for myself and the next generation.”
Read Next: Everything to Know About Rally Jameel, Saudi’s First Women’s-Only Motoring Event
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. Photo: WAM
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, issued an order for two planes carrying emergency aid to support Ukrainians fleeing conflict. Enabled by the International Humanitarian City in Dubai, the relief flights have departed from Dubai and Sharjah.
The first flight was provided by Emirates Airline with its Boeing 777-ER Cargo plane that departed from Dubai to land in Warsaw, Poland. In coordination with the UN and other charity organizations, the shipment is expected to aid 50,000 people. The second flight was operated by Aramex airline in arrangement with the World Health Organization and UN refugee agency and departed from Sharjah to Liege, Belgium, with aid to support 35,000 people.
These recent relief efforts are an addition to a previously sent emergency aid flight dispatched by the UAE on March 7. The UAE has also previously called for peace amid the conflict through diplomatic means.
“UNHCR is proud of its strategic partnership with IHC in Dubai and we appreciate this important contribution which represents the generosity of the government of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid,” stated Nadia Jbour, head of the UNHCR office in the UAE.
The emergency aid material will benefit 85,000 people affected by the escalating conflict.#WamNews pic.twitter.com/jlYc4DqFNj
— WAM English (@WAMNEWS_ENG) March 17, 2022
The UAE also announced this month that it would provide US $5 million in relief aid to affected civilians. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation stressed the importance of diplomatic solutions to the Ukrainian crisis during his visit to Moscow on Thursday and in conversation with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. The two discussed the current ongoing issues of global food and energy crises by the effect of the conflict.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to affirm the confidence that the UAE places in the parties’ ability to seek a political solution and to build on the existing talks between the parties,” said Sheikh Abdullah. He added, “The UAE is fully prepared to support all efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the Ukraine conflict. We also affirm our full readiness to engage with all parties to reach a ceasefire agreement.”
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also come to the aid of Ukrainians. A decision under the direction of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Thursday was made to extend visas for Ukrainians in the Kingdom. Whether the Ukrainians are there as tourists or for business, they will be given an extension for humanitarian reasons. The extension will automatically be added without the need for Ukrainians to visit the passport departments.
Read Next: What Is Happening in Ukraine, and How to Help
In Diriyah, the capital of the first royal Saudi dynasty, women from the Kingdom’s provinces display their rich and distinct traditional dress.
Photography Hayat Osamah
As the all-Saudi team – led by historian Dr Laila AlBassam and with photographer Hayat Osamah – maneuver around Diriyah to prepare for the Vogue Arabia December 2020 cover story shoot, they can’t help but marvel at one of the most significant cultural heritage sites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Throughout its rocky topography and winding valleys and amid the mud brick former palaces of At-Turaif, Ghussaibah, and AlMulaybeed, a myriad of treasures await discovery.
Central and Northern Region: Saba Alkhamis. Black net dress in tulle embellished with metallic lace and sequins. This overthrow dress was worn with the sleeves looped over the head to create a head cover. Photography Hayat Osamah.
As the capital of the first Saudi dynasty, Diriyah established what is known today as modern-day Saudi Arabia in 1744; it also united all corners of the diverse and culturally rich Kingdom. Since then, the Kingdom has been divided into five main provinces – Najd in central Saudi Arabia; Hijaz in the west of the Kingdom; the Eastern Province; and the Northern and Southern borders.
Photography Hayat Osamah
Given the Kingdom’s unique geographical location – occupying 80% of the Arabian Peninsula and surrounded by Gulf countries – its lands have been populated with numerous tribes impacting and stimulating the nation’s unique culture and aesthetic. Diriyah was the needle pulling its thread throughout the Kingdom, uniting the regions while honoring their cultural diversity. This diversity is evident within the variety of dresses that presently make up part of the Kingdom’s cultural DNA.
Photography Hayat Osamah
Nowadays, what is considered traditional dress in the Kingdom was deemed fashion to the generations that preceded. Like many contemporary designers, the Kingdom’s women used traditional techniques to forge identities of their own. They quickly found that the methods in stitching used to join animal skins together could be used for ornamentation and embellishment, and despite the primary function of their traditional apparel being protection against the relentless desert sun, the innovative women of the Kingdom found ways to balance function and fashion by communicating the stories and narratives of their tribes and regions through embroidery and embellishment.
Central and Eastern Region: Dana Al-Senan. Dress and and overthrow dress made of blue silk and embroidered with metallic threads and sequins. Photography Hayat Osamah.
AlBassam, one of the first Saudi women to study and document the Kingdom’s history through traditional Saudi costume and textile, explains, “Decorative embroideries and accessories have well-defined each region as its own, and through these intricacies you can tell a lot about the cultures they were influenced by and which tribes they came from.” She continues, “Whether it was a simple embroidered sleeve or a feminine-shaped design, they used their environments as their muse and canvas.” Accordingly, the differences in the positioning of appliqué and embellishment took into consideration both the tribe of the wearer and the temperature and topography of the region. Within the Najd region of central Saudi Arabia, intricate adornments made of gold and silver thread were placed strategically around the bust, neck, and sleeves of their traditional Thoub AlToor. Predominantly Bedouins, who were in constant movement under the overwhelming sun, the peoples of the region needed garments that were embroidered in parts that were exposed to direct sunlight to detract the harsh heat of Arabia. Their dresses were known for their massive wide sleeves with deep flaps that reached their hemlines and were designed in such a way to catch the breeze and trap body moisture. The Eastern Province incorporated similar features with the contrast of dress color. The vibrant tones of the region’s Thoub AlNashal were influenced by shades worn in India, from where many textiles were brought in by merchants returning from their voyages.
Westren Region: Danya Al-Ghamdi. Distinctive dress, geometrically patterned from black and blue colors that identify the wearer as a married woman. Photography Hayat Osamah.
In the Southern region, Dr AlBassam explains that the Asiri Qatt – a geometric design in bright hues of red, green, blue, and yellow typically painted by women in the entrance of their houses – found its way into the region’s traditional dress over the years. The South’s Thoub Mujanab is elaborately embroidered with Asiri Qaat and cinched with meshes of silver at the waist. Occupied by mountainous terrain with a more temperate climate, the South’s dresses are both shorter and more fitted, yet the garments still drop easily over the head, being both mindful and modest. The Northern region of the Kingdom is known to have the most practical of traditional dress, sparsely embroidered with fine line stitching. Their Thoub Al-Midrgah is made much longer than the frame of the women wearing it and is hitched up in a deep fold at the waist to provide freedom of movement through the region’s towering peaks and plunging valleys. Known to be the most culturally diverse of the Kingdom’s regions, primarily due to being the traditional host area of all pilgrims to Makkah – many of whom settled and intermarried there – is Hijaz. The women of Hijaz had hundreds of distinctive traditional dresses depending on their lineage. One particular traditional dress, Thoub Mobgir, from Taif in the Hijaz region, combines practical patchwork, gold embroidery, and ornate headpieces. Albeit being incredibly diverse in technique and tradition, two things remain constant – modesty and ornamentation. Of the more than 300 types of traditional dress, depending on tribe, these are just some of the many skins of Saudi fashion, and they are what pave the way for future creations.
Northern Region: Njoud Alanbari. Red velvet dress embellished with white embroidery, with deep V-shape neckline. Photography Hayat Osamah.
Presently, Saudi is at a pivotal point, where so much is being invested in preserving, protecting, and promoting its culture and heritage. In doing so, the country has developed initiatives with the aspiration of promoting culture as a way of life that contributes to economic growth and creates opportunities for international exchange. With 66% of Saudi’s population under the age of 35, it is no surprise that nurturing young talent is absolutely vital to the Kingdom’s goal of developing a thriving cultural sector and paving the way for future generations. One remarkable initiative that has come into fruition is the Cultural Scholarship Program, which launched in January 2020 under Saudi’s Ministry of Culture. The program aims to emphasize the importance of culture in improving quality of life, enabling national talents, creating opportunities for dialogue, and promoting the exchange of experiences with the world. Dr AlBassam recognizes that traditional dress and crafts are inherently linked to culture, and their need to preserve it – through documentation, engagement, and conversation – is what will give way to future artisans, which in turn will lead to the birth of modern Saudi fashion. As Njoud Alanbari, one of the women on these pages, compellingly states, “Tradition is imperative to the future of fashion because everything new must be inspired by something old, and tradition is a point of creation – the beginning and the foundation for anything novel.”
Southern Region: Alaa Al-Zahrani. An embroidered black dress with geometric patterns and flower motifs. Most notable is the embroidery on the side gores in straight lines. The head is covered with a yellow scarf and wide-brimmed hat; a black scarf is added when the women get married. Photography Hayat Osamah.
Originally published in the December 2020 Issue of Vogue Arabia
Makeup Aljoud Aldrees
Production KSA Aisha Almamy for Basamat Arabia
Production UAE Laura Prior
Photography assistant Abdullah Al Jahdhami
Production assistants Suhailah Almamy, Abdullah Alquayt