DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — “I’m the only editor-in-chief I know who was a retailer,” says Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, the Saudi princess who was appointed editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia, a new Condé Nast edition that launched in 2016 as a digital-first publication. The print magazine is due to be released across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in early 2017.
“It’s 250 million women; 21 countries. Arabs are ready for Vogue; it’s long overdue,” adds Abdulaziz, who for 10 years owned a multi-brand designer fashion boutique called D’NA with branches in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Doha, Qatar.
Highlighting the diversity of the Arab market region, Abdulaziz points to the very distinctive nature of the urban markets that she will target next year. Beirut, Lebanon and Cairo, Egypt remain very important but the region has experienced instability.
It’s just like Miami and Los Angeles or comparing Washington to New York. We are global citizens.
“Kuwait City is very interesting and cool and I think it will keep on going for a long time. The reason is that the natives, at one point, started to understand that they don’t necessarily have to travel to shop, and Kuwait’s market is all about the natives. You don’t see foreigners as much.”
“I think that Doha has definitely tried to learn from Dubai’s mistakes,” she says. “So Doha has always separated itself as trying to be the cultural centre, a little bit of a sophisticated outlook... But Jeddah has become interesting and Vogue Italy just did an event there — though it’s not where the [biggest] spending is. Riyadh is definitely where the money is.”
In addition to their unique demographics and variety of wealth profiles, the major cities of the MENA region can have very divergent styles and tastes. Designs popular in Jeddah are not necessarily popular in Riyadh, for example, even though they are both in the same country, Saudi Arabia.
“It’s just like [the differences between] Miami and Los Angeles or comparing Washington to New York,” she says. “We are global citizens.”
The State of Fashion 2017 is The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company's in-depth report on the global fashion industry in 2017, focusing on the themes, issues and opportunities impacting the sector and its performance.