Touted as the largest and first of its kind, Tanween - Ithra's inaugural Creativity Season - was about as impressive as the behemoth-like hub in the desert that hosted it. The building - an otherworldly architectural monolith that Time recently named as one of 2018's '100 destinations to experience right now' - housed a 17-day activation comprising workshops, exhibitions, talks and installations, all in the name of engendering creativity and evolution. Our kind of event, then.
Lead by Wadha Alnafjan, Head of Ithra's Idea Lab and the equally brilliant-sounding FABLAB Dhahran, she project managed over 50 international speakers, over 40 workshops and 25 exhibitions across art, tech, science and fashion, with the end goal to bring together and inspire "professionals, learners, and creators to interact with pioneers and futurists who are operating at the intersection of imagination and innovation."
Grazia favourite, designer and entrepreneur Hatem Alakeel who curated the fashion exhibition at Ithra - also known as The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, tells us, "A very enjoyable part of being a fashion curator for Ithra - which I also consider a great privilege - is having the honour of selecting some of the most celebrated local designers to exhibit their work. I decided to kick off this creativity season with three shining Saudi stars: Razan Alazouni, Chador, Nora Alshaik and Reem Alkanhal."
Shining is the word, and with the first Saudi supermodel and Grazia Style Awards KSA nominee Taleedah Tamer the face of the initiative, there's little wonder it has been quite so celebrated. "The theme of my selection was to show the disruption of fashion, especially the Saudi fashion heritage," Alakeel continues.
"While future exhibitions will focus on global cultures, I found it necessary to focus this season on our Saudi gems. Each one of these talents has their own signature style and special stamp on the Saudi and international fashion landscape. They are authentic, unique and understand the importance of the craft. This creativity season at Ithra we will give you a small taste of what’s in store for Saudi fashion designers, giving them a platform to be proud of, in addition to guidance and solutions on how to move their business forward. But - most importantly - we are giving them a proper place and space to display their work."
The sheer level of burgeoning talent emerging from KSA is something that continues to inspire the world, and we're watching closely to see where it goes next. Ithra, it seems, is front and centre of it all, aligned with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and pioneering positive change through creativity. We're all for it.