Saudi holds first fashion show for designers

Audience strictly female and no photos allowed


There were no camera flashes or paparazzi as the models strutted down the catwalk showing off the latest Western and Oriental styles in Saudi Arabia’s first fashion show this week.

The show was the culmination of a competition among Saudi designers and was the first of its kind. Other fashion shows in the kingdom had been held as part of charity activities or approved under other names like “bazaars.”

"A fashion show in Saudi Arabia is different from anywhere else," one of the models told "We took part in this one after making sure no cameras will be allowed."

The female-only audience got to see a range of fashions by the 28 designer finalists, including abayas -- the traditional cloak worn over clothing -- casual outfits and gowns.. The goal of the competition was to design an oriental outfit and a western outfit to suit modern times.

Out of the 120 contestants who applied for the competition, 28 were selected by a panel of fashion-design experts to compete in the finals, show supervisor Rola Basmed told

Susan Shamy, manager of the Nafisa Shams Academy for Arts and Crafts, which organized the competition told "We are the ones who put the restrictions so that the show would be in accordance with Islamic law."

Designer Wijdan al-Sharyoufi won first place and a prize of100,000 riyals ($26,500), Wedd Rahimi second place with 75,000 riyals ($20,000) and Hala al-Aita third place with 50,000 riyals ($13,000).

A fashion show in Saudi Arabia is different from anywhere else

A top model