“You either know fashion or you don’t,” Anna Wintour, the famous Vogue editor once said. The Arab world has always known fashion. It’s one of the world’s biggest markets for it. But what they didn’t know, was when they’d get their own ‘fashion bible’.
Conde Nast International, the American publisher of Vogue, has announced it is finally launching a regional version of the world’s best known fashion magazine. Vogue Arabia will make its debut online later this year, followed by 11 print editions from next spring. The website and magazine will be bilingual and will have both Arabic and English content. This will be the 22nd edition of the magazine in the world, with editions in the US, the UK, Thailand, India, Japan and China among others.
Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, a Saudi fashion icon and entrepreneur, will be the launch editor-in-chief of the magazine, to be headquartered in Dubai.
“The Arab world consists of 250m people, and they never had a Vogue,” Abdulaziz tells the Financial Times. “The time has come, and it has been a long time coming.”
The 41-year-old from the Saudi royal family founded the members-only high fashion boutique D’Na, with stores in Riyadh and Doha (she later sold her stake in the company). She is the daughter of an economist and grew up in New York. Among fashion circles, she is also known for her ability to blend Western and Eastern sensibilities both in her buying and personal style.
“There has been a growing demand for Vogue in the Arab world for some time, and now the time has come to make it a reality,” said Jonathan Newhouse, the CEO of Conde Nast in a statement.
He told Financial Times that Vogue Arabia was a carefully though-out plan. “We never rush to bring Vogue into a new market. We wait until we are confident there is the creative talent to produce a product at the Vogue level,” he said.
Conde Nast will publish Vogue Arabia in partnership with Nervora, the company behind Style.com/Arabia, which will now be relaunched as Vogue Arabia. The annual Style.com/Arabia fashion prize, in association with the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC), will also be renamed the DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize.
The arrival of Vogue Arabia follows the launch of luxury lifestyle magazine Citizen K Arabia by GN Publishing, the publisher of Gulf News, in May. Harper’s Bazaar Arabia was launched in 2007 by ITP, which also publishes Grazia Middle East, Cosmopolitan Middle East and Esquire Middle East.