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Saudi fashion brands attract first international investment

Saudi fashion investment Saudi Fashion Commission
Ravi Thakran, chairman of Turmeric Capital, compared the experience in Saudi Arabia to his time working in China with LVMH from the early 2000s
  • Turmeric Capital backing 1886 and Abadia
  • Also supporting local fashion SMEs
  • Designers urged to look to Asia

The first international investment in Saudi Arabian fashion brands has been agreed in what represents a key milestone in the country’s ambition to rival Louis Vuitton and Chanel.

Consumer-focused private equity firm Turmeric Capital has invested undisclosed sums in Saudi-founded streetwear brand 1886 and ethical luxury label Abadia.

The company, which has its headquarters in Singapore, has also signed an agreement with the Saudi Fashion Commission to support the growth of local fashion SMEs.

The deals were signed in New York earlier this week at a roadshow hosted by the Commission. The financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. 

“The return to New York this year is an incredible moment where we are witnessing key milestones,” Burak Cakmak, CEO of the Saudi Fashion Commission, said. “For Saudi brands as we help them secure international investment, for the Commission as we continue to put our mark on the global stage and for the Saudi fashion industry as public awareness grows.”

Ravi Thakran, chairman of Turmeric Capital, compared the experience in Saudi Arabia to his time working in China with LVMH from the early 2000s.

“A decade from now, I believe books will be written about the colossal changes, as Saudi increases its economic presence across Asia,” Thakran said.

Saudi Arabia’s fashion industry holds the largest projected growth rates of any other large, high income market, according to the State of Fashion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia report published last month. 

Saudi Fashion Commission
A design by Saudi brand Abadia
Fashion Week

From 2021 to 2025, retail fashion sales there are expected to grow by 48 percent to $32 billion. 

The value of luxury fashion purchases in the GCC was $9.6 billion in 2021, with Saudi Arabia posting 19 percent growth, the report added.

Founded in 2020, the Fashion Commission will host the inaugural Riyadh Fashion Week later this month.

Celebrities, VIPs, buyers and key industry figures from the global fashion community are expected in the Saudi capital.

The local fashion industry is estimated to employ 230,000 people, or 1.8 percent of the domestic workforce, and to have contributed $12.5 billion to the economy in 2022 – equivalent to 1.4 percent of GDP.

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