Riyadh | Saudi Arabia
Like it or love it, it is the Era of Women. Every industry is witnessing the the fairer sex pioneering previously male-dominated positions. They are unstoppable and their dreams seem to have no limit. Every woman in the present era is yearning to achieve and their dreams seeming more and more obtainable with each passing year. And, might I add, we are working hard and, well, working rebelliously in order to achieve the spaces we as women deserve. The new kid on the block, the Arab Fashion Council, is one of the many organizations that are helping to fight the system and female empowerment.
Women are fighting for themselves, they are fighting for equality and the fashion industry is one of those spaces where the struggle can clearly be seen. Ironically the growing fashion industry in the Middle East is poised to drive women through the proverbial glass ceiling. One of the ambitious goals of After White, a non-profit organization, includes positioning the region as an important leader in the international fashion industry by the year 2030. It is anticipated that 20 million jobs for women will be secured as a result of building a sustainable fashion infrastructure within the Arab world.
Recently hired by NOWFASHION on behalf of the Arab Fashion Council, American born, Paris-based fashion photographer, Kristy Sparow was the solo-photographer at the end of Saudi Arabia’s first-ever runway event in Riyadh earlier this year. This allowed her special access to a large sold-out, women-only event. Sparow told the media:
“Over the course of four days, I became as excited about the impact of a growing fashion industry in the Middle East, as the women attending the event.” She continued, “What I very much like about the AFC is their long-term vision to have the fashion industry become a pillar for a regional creative economy, and their humanitarian interest to promote peace through fashion.”
Saudi’s Crown Prince has also intended to contribute his support to the Arab Fashion Council in order to expand jobs within the private sector throughout the fashion industry, expand tourism to become a more metropolitan country and to help reform the region’s dependence on oil. It is worth noting that the AFC is the largest non-profit organization in the world representing the fashion industry of 22 Arab countries.
The U.S. based online fine art photography business, AfterWhite.com, also owned by Sparow, provides a web presence for creative professional photographers worldwide to present work considered relevant to today’s collectors. Sparow concluded, “After this important first-step experience, I now want to use After White in a way that supports the AFC and the development of woman’s businesses in Saudi Arabia.”
There persists only a hope that this new glow of respect for women now happening around the world, will be quickly followed by a tsunami of global sentiment to also heal racial divides and religious persecutions, to find global standards of care for those less fortunate and to address the planet’s climate concerns.