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Are Saudi Arabia’s luxury consumers looking for sustainable, ethical, and ethnic options?

Saudi Arabia is embracing sustainable luxury, inspiring a shift toward conscious consumerism.

Are Saudi Arabia’s luxury consumers looking for sustainable, ethical, and ethnic options?
[Source photo: Ziyad Buainain | Mohammed Khoja | Reem AlKanhal | Shahd Al Shehail | Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Sustainable luxury has inherent coherence. It relies on superior materials and has that heritage of bespoke craftsmanship and attention to detail – in theory, a high-quality item stays with you forever. 

A hidden realm of conscious consumption is emerging in Saudi Arabia as people embrace a new era of sustainable and culturally rich fashion. The country’s substantial youth population, growing economy, and significant purchasing power have created a thriving market for local designers, propelling them onto the global stage while showcasing opulence and commitment to sustainability.

According to Euromonitor International, the kingdom was home to 117,000 millionaires in 2022, signifying a substantial number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Additionally, the luxury market in Saudi Arabia benefits from a sizable Gen Z population, as the trend of younger luxury shoppers is observed on a global scale.

A survey conducted in January by the Business of Fashion reveals that more than half, precisely 55%, of affluent Saudi consumers, spent at least $12,000 towards fashion expenditures over the preceding 12 months. 


“The luxury market in Saudi Arabia is experiencing remarkable growth, making it an increasingly alluring destination for international and local luxury brands. The country’s cultural landscape is undergoing significant positive developments, fostering an environment encouraging creativity and providing a thriving platform for Saudi creatives,” says Ziyad Buainain, whose eponymous conscious luxury label embraces multiculturalism.

The market demonstrates a remarkable level of maturity, particularly in consumer awareness. Mohammed Khoja, the founder of the luxury label Hindamme, believes the average Saudi consumer is more familiar with and knowledgeable about luxury brands and products than their global counterparts. “Although there remains untapped potential, swift growth is expected in the foreseeable future, as more international luxury brands aim to cater to the Saudi Arabian market, while Saudi luxury brands endeavor to establish a presence on the global stage, thereby fostering a mutually beneficial cultural exchange within the luxury sector.” 

It is believed that the next two years will witness increased investment in local luxury brands in the country.


Local brands in Saudi Arabia are prioritizing green initiatives and sustainable operations n their businesses. 

Reem AlKanhal says her demi-couture label focuses on originality and authenticity. For her, the epitome of luxury lies in adaptability and versatility. Through continuous refinement and reshaping of garment silhouettes, disposal is unnecessary, as designs are designed to endure and withstand the test of time.

She believes Saudi Arabia is poised to become the epitome of where East meets West. This transformation will be marked by the country’s authentic manufacturing of couture-level craftwork, attracting more fashion brands to produce luxury goods locally. Such a shift will support female artisans and foster sustainable growth with conscious practices in their businesses.

Many Saudi designers are increasingly adopting sustainable and conscious practices in their businesses. Buainain says, “We prioritize using recycled and deadstock fabrics, repurposing surplus materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Operating on a made-to-order basis ensures that every piece created serves a purpose, avoiding overproduction and minimizing resource waste. Our commitment extends to minimizing the use of plastic products whenever feasible.” 

Some luxury brands utilize local crafts and deploy craftspeople, creating a unique selling point that integrates a strong cultural identity. 

Khoja adds, “There’s also more of an inclination to use recycled fibers and materials in general with Saudi luxury designers as it’s become more of an industry-standard in production, and there’s a growing shift to move away from mass production and creating pieces that are more meaningful and ethical, especially considering that Saudi Arabia still doesn’t necessarily have mass production facilities.” 

Many luxury Saudi designers either produce locally with small production houses and artisans or abroad with production houses that produce smaller quantities and have a more ethical value chain. 

Abadia, an ethical luxury brand by Shahd Al Shehail, reimagines fashion for the contemporary woman while preserving traditional craftsmanship through partnerships with local artisans. She says, “The Saudi consumer is well-informed and increasingly values quality products. Our focus is crafting timeless pieces using the finest materials, making thoughtful choices, and creating a meaningful impact for artisans.

Although there remains a need for increased education and awareness on the importance of conscious consumerism, the Saudi consumer’s deep-rooted connection to their cultural heritage drives local designers to preserve traditional crafts in their creations. 

For Shehail, the focus is on creating timeless products that provide artisans with a sustainable source of income. The collections embrace cultural storytelling, from honoring Saudi dance forms to reinterpreting traditional garments like the Farwa, bridging the gap between cultural heritage and the modern consumer.

While a few global luxury brands have begun exploring collaborations with Saudi luxury designers, artists, and craftspeople for exclusive releases, such collaborations are still relatively limited. Khoja says, “Expanding these partnerships would undoubtedly facilitate a more profound and meaningful connection between global luxury brands and the Saudi audience, fostering a genuine cultural exchange.” 

However, Buainain argues that he wouldn’t call conscious consumerism a trend. He believes more consumers, especially Gen Z, understand the importance of preserving our planet. Increasingly, brands are recognizing the urgency of the climate crisis and taking proactive measures to implement sustainable practices. This shift is driven by the understanding that consumers now prioritize supporting brands actively working towards reducing their environmental impact. 

He adds, “There is a growing sense of responsibility and a desire to contribute to creating a livable planet for future generations. As a result, consumers are increasingly inclined to make purchasing decisions that align with their values and support sustainable initiatives.” 


A noticeable trend is emerging in the luxury industry where the emphasis is placed on reducing waste and repurposing materials to create exquisite pieces. Khoja believes the one approach gaining traction is using scrap material through recycling processes, as demonstrated by Prada’s re-nylon line products. 

Another method involves employing scrap materials in the production of distinct and limited edition pieces, employing a cut-and-sew technique. Also, designers increasingly focus on creating timeless statement pieces that reflect their cultural identity and personal style rather than conforming to fashion trends.

“The inclusion of technology in fashion and its impact on sustainability is also changing consumer behavior,” adds Kanhal. Consumers who prioritize the timelessness of their purchases are willing to pay a higher price for unique, creatively designed, exquisitely crafted, and highly wearable items rather than following seasonal buying patterns. 

“The luxury market in Saudi Arabia is poised for a remarkable shift towards sustainability as businesses embrace creative and conscious practices for the benefit of us all,” says Buainain.

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Karrishma Modhy is the Managing Editor at Fast Company Middle East. She enjoys all things tech and business and is fascinated with space travel. In her spare time, she's hooked to 90s retro music and enjoys video games. Previously, she was the Managing Editor at Mashable Middle East & India. More