The Chalhoub Greenhouse Launches KSA’s first fashion Lab to nurture Saudi fashion talent
Posted on 2021 Jul,09

Chalhoub Group, the luxury specialised retailer across the Middle East, has announced the launch of Saudi Arabia’s first of its kind Fashion Lab to identify and boost innovative and disruptive Saudi fashion brands, and support creative designers on their journey to becoming successful entrepreneurs.

An initiative of The Chalhoub Greenhouse, to promote corporate entrepreneurship and innovation, The Fashion Lab is an open innovation platform that integrates Chalhoub Group’s operational expertise with the insights of industry professionals to grow prospective Saudi brands and nurture Saudi fashion talent.

The Chalhoub Greenhouse is looking into disruptive emerging brands focused on streetwear, sustainable fashion, contemporary design, and accessories with a unique story to tell; driven by passionate founders who know the fashion market inside out.

Successful candidates will be invited to a two-week hybrid bootcamp led by fashion experts. They will be guided towards building their brands through cutting edge marketing plans, supply chain management approaches, content creation and media management strategies.

The cohort will also have access to Chalhoub Group’s extensive retail network including the Group’s online and offline channels to sell their products. The first Fashion Lab will conclude in December 2021 culminating in a demo day where selected Saudi brands will showcase their projects to retailers, distributors, and investors. They will also get funding support of US$15,000 with the potential of equity partnership after the program is concluded.

Michael Chalhoub, Deputy President JVs and President Strategy, Growth, Innovation and investment, Chalhoub Group, said: “Saudi Arabia has a fast-evolving fashion ecosystem driven by its young population and its amazing pool of talented designers. With the launch of the Fashion Lab, we are supporting and assisting this ecosystem of great entrepreneurs. We also want to accelerate this truly home-grown entrepreneurial culture dedicated to the fashion industry that will contribute to building tremendous value in the Kingdom. In addition to shaping a fashion retail supply chain led by Saudi brands, the initiative will build a new generation of creative entrepreneurs who will have access to mentorship, funding and end-to-end support from fashion experts.”

Dina Sidani, Chief Innovation Officer, Chalhoub Group, added: “The Fashion Lab builds on our commitment to identify innovative Saudi brands with disruptive ideas and provide them a platform to evolve as business leaders. We are filling a gap in the industry with local designers currently lacking a viable and trusted platform to grow their enterprises. This is an initiative that will have long-term positive impact in promoting innovation in the fashion industry locally, while creating young fashion champions from the Kingdom for the world. We believe that the future of fashion will be defined by creative designers and entrepreneurs with ground-breaking ideas.”

The Fashion Lab creates a compelling data-driven and agile approach to investing in fashion brands. Passionate designers and brand owners who have been limited in their capacity to grow their ideas and Enterprises will benefit from this socially responsible initiative of the Chalhoub Group, in addition to transforming the fashion retail market of the Kingdom. With up to five brands eligible for selection per cohort, the Fashion Lab aims to create a long-term platform for identifying disruptive fashion ideas and equip them to evolve as full-fledged enterprises. Selected fashion entrepreneurs with production capabilities, operating trade licence and capacity to manufacture at least five SKUs, will be selected for the first cohort.

Applications are now open online. The deadline for submissions by Saudi-based early-stage ventures and brands focused on streetwear, sustainable fashion, contemporary design, and accessories is July 25, 2021.

The programme mentors include fashion designer Arwa Al Banawi and experts from the Chalhoub Group: Dina Sidani, Chief Innovation Officer; Sharmila Murat, Chief Investment Officer; Charbel Lahoud, Head of Growth; Dana Alhamrani, Business Development Manager; Joseph Chalhoub, General Manager of Fashion & Accessories, Saudi Arabia and Rafi Dikranian, Head of Marketing & Operations, The Greenhouse.

As a celebrated Saudi fashion designer who empowers women through her fashion label and communicates the arab culture, Arwa Al Banawi brings a unique blend of culture and modernity. On her role as a programme mentor, she said: “My collaboration with the Chalhoub Group started years ago and I am delighted today to be part of the Fashion Lab Program. I look forward to the brilliant and entrepreneurial fashion ideas from local youth.”

Chalhoub Group is said to be committed, as a major luxury player in KSA for over 50 years, to use its influence to make a positive contribution towards the nation’s diversified and sustainable future growth.