The term community seems to often be thrown back and forth in dialogue quite often, regionally here in Saudi Arabia, but also across the globe.
However, in the context of Riyadh, what is the value, meaning and impact of community? Why does it matter and why should we be thinking about it?
Firstly, we must recognize what makes a community and what makes a strong community. At the core of community, is a sense of mutual care, shared values and interests and shared ambition or cause. With this, each person simultaneously is able to develop their personal skills and move closer to their goals with the support of their peers, whilst building and developing resource, opportunity and accessibility for themselves and their peers. Despite the success of one owns goals, community only thrives, and the potential for impactful success only become sustainable and long term, where selfishness and greed are kept at bay. Of course, creatives and entrepreneurs can become protective of their creations, but there must be a sense of security and trust amongst and between ones peers.
In the context of fashion, a grounded community can gain benefit through the exchange of knowledge and skills, they can collectively campaign for policy change that will optimize everyone business practices (FYI I am talking about SABER here), they can centralize production with a specific cohort of factories, reducing costs and streamlining the production and supply chain process. They possibilities for optimization become exponential. Take the case of Proud X consultancy, founded by Proud Angeles founder, Mohammad Bajbaa. Proud X had allowed the realization of regional artist's Rex Chouk's art installation and products by utilizing their knowledge of fashion production to streamline the artists creation of merchandise for Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
In tandem to the above, the power of community and unity projects a sense of strength on global platform and re-writes some of the expected standards we have seen as common place in the fashion and design industry as a whole. In a time where we should be re-assessing the method of fashion industry practice, a unified community of designers have more impact and power than they may realize in their ability to change the status quo- and given the fact that here in KSA we are building in essence, an industry from the ground up, there's a real chance to do things differently.
In being a unified community, with a sense of security and safety, not only can individuals gain education, knowledge, develop their ideas and optimize their design and production processes, the Kingdom can truly present a new and more human-centered and efficient approach to creating a thriving fashion industry- which by default supports more sustainable practise.