Saudi Vision 2030

Saudi Arabia taps ex-Parsons dean Burak Cakmak to lead Kingdom’s Fashion Commission

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Saudi Arabia has announced the appointment of Burak Cakmak, the former dean for the College of Fashion at Parsons School of Design at The New School, to lead the Kingdom’s Fashion Commission, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Culture.

Cakmak will officially lead the Fashion Commission as CEO, with the task of managing, organizing, and developing the fashion sector in Saudi Arabia.

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Part of his new responsibility will include the setting up of a strategy for developing the fashion sector, encouraging finance and investment, licensing sector activities, defining the sector’s laws and regulations, supporting and empowering talents, professionals, and entrepreneurs within the fashion industry and developing educational and professional programs.

Cakmak was the former Dean of Fashion at the Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York City from 2015 until July of last year. Prior to his role at Parsons, Cakmak was Vice President for Corporate Responsibility at Swarovski.

The veteran fashion industry insider attended the Fashion Futures conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last month which included the Kingdom’s first large-scale runway show at Tuwaiq Palace.

“That fashion show may have felt small to people from the West, who normally experience these things on a regular basis. But few Saudis could have ever imagined something of this scale happening in their own country. It was a demonstration that Saudis can rise to the global stage and empower women. This is the start of a new beginning,” Cakmak was quoted as saying by the Women's Wear Daily (WWD) news journal.

Cakmak has also has held leadership positions in major industrial companies, in addition to his membership as a sustainability consultant at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and his membership on the Advisory Board of the Council of American Fashion Designers, Lexus Fashion.

He holds MBA degrees from SKEMA Business School and San Francisco State University.

The Fashion Commission is one of 11 cultural bodies established by the Ministry of Culture to manage the Saudi cultural sector.

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