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Innovative Saudi Designers Can Benefit from This Game-changing Fashion Lab

The initiative by the Chalhoub Group fills a gap and will have a long-term positive impact in promoting innovation locally.

Saudi designers with early-stage ventures related to innovative and disruptive fashion brands can now seek support on their journey to becoming successful entrepreneurs through The Fashion Lab. A Chalhoub Group initiative to promote corporate entrepreneurship and originality, the Kingdom’s first-of-its-kind Fashion Lab is already open for applications.  

The Chalhoub Greenhouse scheme is an open innovation platform that integrates Chalhoub Group’s operational expertise with the insights of industry professionals to grow prospective Saudi brands and nurture fashion talent from the Kingdom. Pairing entrepreneurs and fashion experts, it looks into emerging brands focused on streetwear, sustainable fashion, contemporary design and accessories with a unique story to tell. With up to five brands eligible for selection per cohort, The Fashion Lab aims to create a long-term platform for detecting noticeable fashion ideas and equip them to evolve as full-fledged enterprises. Selected fashion entrepreneurs with production capabilities, an operating trade licence and capacity to manufacture at least five SKUs, will be selected for the first cohort.  

“Saudi Arabia has a fast-evolving fashion ecosystem driven by its young population and its amazing pool of talented designers. With the launch of the Fashion Lab, we are supporting and encouraging this ecosystem of great entrepreneurs,” Michael Chalhoub, Deputy President JVs and President Strategy, Growth, Innovation and investment, Chalhoub Group, said. “We also want to accelerate this truly home-grown entrepreneurial culture dedicated to the fashion industry that will contribute to building tremendous value in the Kingdom. In addition to shaping a fashion retail supply chain led by Saudi brands, the initiative will build a new generation of creative entrepreneurs who will have access to mentorship, funding and end-to-end support from fashion experts.”  

Successful candidates will have the opportunity to attend a two-week hybrid bootcamp led by fashion experts. The up-and-coming designers will be guided towards building their brands through cutting- edge marketing plans, supply chain management approaches, content creation and media management strategies.  

In addition, the cohort will also have access to the Middle East’s leading partner for luxury’s extensive retail network, including the group’s online and offline channels to sell their products. The first Fashion Lab will end in December 2021, concluding with a demo day where the selected Saudi brands will display their projects to retailers, distributors and investors. The talented founders will also get funding support of US$15,000 with the potential of equity partnership after the programme ends.  

One of the programme mentors, who joins experts from the Dubai-based Chalhoub Group, a major regional player in the beauty, fashion and gift sectors, is Saudi Arwa Al Banawi. “My collaboration with the Chalhoub Group started years ago, and I am delighted today to be part of The Fashion Lab programme. I look forward to the brilliant and entrepreneurial fashion ideas from local youth,” the fashion designer, who is known for empowering women through her fashion label and communicating the Arab culture, said.  

Passionate designers and brand owners who have been limited in their capacity to grow their ideas and enterprises will benefit from the Chalhoub Groups’s compelling data-driven and agile approach to investing in fashion brands. As well as being socially responsible, the initiative by the group that was founded in 1955 and has been a major luxury player in KSA for over 50 years is set to transform the fashion retail market of the Kingdom.  

Applications are now open online. The deadline for submissions by Saudi-based early-stage ventures and brands focused on streetwear, sustainable fashion, contemporary design and accessories is July 25.   

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