Saudi Arabia

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ISSUE 131 NOV/DEC 2022


Enas Hashani


Maria Mahdaly


Bassma Altoaimi


Syeda Inas Inayath

Karim Taleb

Rama Maad Hani A.Haq Haia Abdullah



Karim Taleb



In this issue of Destination KSA, you’re going backstage and into the boardrooms of the leading local media houses, marketing HQs, and entertainment companies in Saudi Arabia.

Hear it straight from the enterprise admirals steering the country’s creative and cultural industries forward: from Abeer Alessa, Hamzah Jamjoom to Saud Al Turk and Abdulrahman Abu Maleh.

For those wanting their lifestyle dose and insights, we have an array of articles for every spark of inspiration you seek. Artventurers, a new realm awaits– discover artists making a mark on the digital world in Digital Brushstrokes. True to Destination KSA’s DNA (and appetite), we have a complete dining section with the latest eateries, our experience-based feasts, and retail detours. We’ve also gathered our Green Beauty Guide for stressfree wellness.

On the other hand, want to unplug and get closer to nature? Make the most of the glorious weather by taking a trip Into the Outdoors. And if the travel bug’s got you bitten, find your antidote with Quick & Close Getaways.

Till next time… Find your voice, take an adventure, and tell us your story.



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Destination KSA Magazine is a Rumman Company publication. License No. 46967-05/10/1434

Publisher: Rumman International Company Ltd. Email: P.O. Box 4113 / Jeddah 21491

NOV/DEC 2022 2 BUSINESS Bold, Bolder Undeniable Chemistry ISSUE SPECIAL Voices of Media CULTURE Digital Brushstrokes 4 16 26 TABLE OF CONTENTS STYLE Style Through the Screen The Stylists Say Winter Style Scoop The Green Beauty Guide 36



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Dining Scoop Beyond the Feast
Mark your calendar Into the Outdoors Quick and Close Getaways Explore the Islands of Thailand From Paris to Zurich With Love


The visionaries putting Saudi on the map

Media has the power to encapsulate, enthrall and represent. With the field creatively altering perceptions and sharing stories that showcase what the bold new Saudi is all about, Destination KSA dives deeper into narratives of the country with three visionaries at the forefront of change.

Whether through movie screens, our playlist, or even the podcast sound waves, join us in discovering what goes behind producing and visualizing content that captivates the audiences of today.




Abdulrahman Abumalih, young Saudi entrepreneur, CEO, and founder of Thamnyah, founded in 2016. He is also the founder and host of the popular podcast Fnjan, reaching global audiences and covers a wide range of topics. Between 2012 and 2016, Abumalih was the editor-in-chief of an Arabic online news platform offering daily news about the digital world, such as social media, technologies, entertainment, and mobile industries.

He studied software engineering for his bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University and later gained an associate degree in computer programming from the Dammam College of Technology. He worked as the head of development there, helping them set up their university website.

Thamnyah began in 2016 with the idea of creating a platform that would leave an impact on people. When Abumalih was studying in the U.S., the thing that affected him the most was listening to different forms of content, “it changed the way I think and made me who I am today,” he claims. When he returned to Saudi, after extensive research, he realized that there was a major shortage of Arabic content on the internet, with a total percentage of 0.6% of all forms of content.

According to Abumalih, most of the Arabic content available was a mix of official entities that rely mostly on advertisements leading to click-baiting and others just putting content out there regardless if it’s good or bad. “People always told me that content does not get you money, but when I went to the U.S., I saw a lot of companies that are fully based on content creation, such as Buzzfeed for entertainment, Vice for news, and so on, which were all generating money whereas people kept saying Arabic content will not generate any money which was the challenge to face, and I like challenges, and I said I want to create that thing.” Thamnyah was the first company in the Arab world to create a business based on content, especially podcasts. Abumalih argues that due to the accessibility and low barriers to entry of podcasts, they decided to begin with that and work their way through different forms of content. They now have

“We have around 400 million Arabs worldwide, which is a high number compared to the amount of content available. I didn’t want to be the person that complains with no action, so I decided to try.


additional documentaries and newsletters distributed on their platform. “Focusing on podcasts was clear to me because all the traditional media is slowly dying, and new media is the way and content is consumed at all times.”

To monetize it, Abumalih says that they have plans to create a subscription fee to create a sustainable business model that does not rely on ads alone. “Ads don’t generate enough revenue, and it forces you to create content that aligns with advertisers and limits you in your content. We want to create a strong enough library worth paying for.”

According to Abumalih, making podcasts is much easier than the rest of the content creation. All you need is a good recording microphone, an idea, and the ability to talk. You record your content and upload it to the streaming platforms, which might require a minimal subscription fee, and people will listen to it. It has almost no barriers to entry compared to other content-creation mediums, such as films. Also, the length of your podcast does not affect the number of people that would listen.

A podcast is a growing medium, with Spotify investing 500 million dollars in podcasts and began identifying itself as “Music and podcasts.”

Apple now has original shows in podcasts; Amazon bought “Wondery podcasts” for 100 million dollars. However, the biggest investments in sound content in the Middle East are in Saudi Arabia.

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Also, the highest number of podcast consumers is within Saudi Arabia. The fast rise in the standard of content within the Saudi market spiked a strong interest in consumption by Saudis, where more and more companies are becoming more content-focused to provide the public with what they want. In the modern way of creating podcasts, many are mixing sound and video, filming the podcast, and giving the audience a sonar and visual experience. When the audience sees the face of the people they usually listen to, it makes the podcast a bit more approachable and trustworthy. It puts a face to the voice.

“The first time we made the podcast visual, it was a coincidence. It was back in 2019. We didn’t want to release the full episodes, and we said that not everyone knows about our podcast, and we wanted to film the episodes, get snippets out of it, and share them on social media platforms so the people would know the content. Then they’d come to listen to the podcast.”

Moreover, when the episodes are shared on youtube, it gives them the advantage of the Youtube algorithm for recommended videos. The podcast streaming platforms do not possess any recommendation algorithm since the content is mostly diversified between several streaming platforms.

In youtube, it’s all on the same platform. “On youtube, if you’re watching an episode about a specific topic on Al Jazeera, for example, the next recommendation can be an

episode of Fnjan because it tackles a similar topic. This was very useful to us. If we did not share our content on youtube, we wouldn’t be what Thamnyah is today.”

“The shift began as an organic one and slowly became crucial in our strategy. Today we have three programs shot on video, but the goal is to have that for almost all our programs. Some cannot become video-based, of course, but the ones that can, we will make it happen.”

In conclusion, we asked Abumalih what to remember when starting a podcast. “To start your podcast, you should do something that resembles you, not to have fame as your goal, and to want to express your opinions and views. But most importantly, to begin and be consistent about it.”

abumalih thmanyah





Saud Al Turki is a music producer and founder of Brij Entertainment, a record label based between Riyadh and Los Angeles. Born and raised in Saudi, Al Turki went to Los Angeles for college, where his musical journey began. After finishing everything he needed to do in LA, he returned and worked in a Saudi oil and gas company and made music on the side. Brij Entertainment was first born as a platform for Al Turki to release his music, “I just wanted to look legit in the music industry.” After a while, he focused on the label’s provision and growth to understand how to contribute to the up-and-coming ecosystem.

Brij slowly shifted towards working with and representing the right artists in Saudi to help them understand music and the music industry as a whole.

Al Turki explains, “there’s a lot of like-minded people out here, and I felt like it was our responsibility more than anything to help them grow; we should show them the way.”

Al Turki is passionate about exporting his culture, bridging the cultural gaps, and breaking the various misconceptions about Saudis through the art of music. It is the language that transcends all barriers.

Al Turki believes that because of the governmental support the entertainment industry is receiving, the music industry in Saudi is bound to have exponential growth and the involvement of multimilliondollar international companies,

“the Spotify’s and Apple Music of the world,” according to Al Turki. He wants to differentiate Brij from the others and stay true to the artists they represent. According to Al Turki, the main objective at Brij is to be involved in the growing ecosystem, help build it with the artists, and ensure the Saudi artists are taken care of. Moreover, they believe that if any local artist makes the international charts and reaches global recognition, it will create a snowball effect, giving room for many others to follow.

According to Al Turki, in today’s world, the best way for artists to make money is through ticket sales rather than streams. Artists became brands that required their promotion, marketing, and much more. They have to become natural marketers. “The role of the label company back in the day was to plug the radio, to pay for marketing, and make sure artists sell albums. Cool. But nowadays, it’s more about strategizing every move.”

We felt the best way to do it is to stick to being a boutique record label company. We don’t bite more than we can chew. And that’s the most important thing. We’re not just going to throw money into an artist, and that’s it; we want to hone the creativity of the artists as well as support them in all aspects of the music business.”


To strategize their approach in the music industry, artists should understand their analytics (who, when, where, and how often) buying their concert tickets and study their audience demographics to maximize attendance at their concerts. “You have to know the demographic because the GenZ is the main demographic an artist needs to keep an eye on; they are the people dragging their parents and friends to concerts and buying the merch.”

He further discusses the importance of the data provided by streaming services such as Spotify and Apple music, informing you about where the records are being played and how often. This will allow artists to adjust their music to push their tunes further.

He adds that people’s attention span has changed in the last few years. This shifted the way people make and consume music. Records are no longer three to four minutes long, and artists begin their songs with the catchiest part of the record right away “because it’s a TikTok world; if you don’t catch my attention in the first three seconds, I’m skipping.” When distributing records, there’s a section called “Tik Tok timestamp,” where even if the record is not that great, a 10 seconds cutout can trend on TikTok and turn it into a “hit record.” Our last topic of discussion revolved around the music industry of Saudi as a whole and its issues. He argues that it’s still early to call it an industry due to the lack of performance rights organizations and artists not being able to register their music to collect royalties.

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Finally, when asked about the industry’s future, he argued that a few artists in the hip-hop community could transcend borders. Still, the fan base here would rather listen to international artists instead. When compared to other countries in the Arab world, people support their local talents by listening to their music and allowing them to reach the top charts. Whereas in Saudi, the top charts are always international artists.

In conclusion, we can understand the modern ways the music industry functions globally and in the kingdom through Saud. There’s a lot to do, and we still have a long way ahead, but it’s moving in the right direction. There will be more and more record labels giving local artists a chance to shine and represent their culture to the world. The future is bright.





Director, writer, producer, and consultant on the side, Hamzah Jamjoom embodies all the elements of the film industry. He is the founder of three companies, a commercial house, a production company, and a fund dedicated to empowering Arab filmmakers to work in Hollywood. Hamzah Jamjoom is passionate about elevating the Saudi film industry and elevating it to an international standard. He grew up in Jeddah and moved to the U.S. for his animation and film production undergraduate studies, then taking his master’s in film writing and directing.

His first company was initiated while studying in the U.S. under Digital Hydra. They got to work with many international brands and were quickly recognized thanks to their animation and visual effects. Nevertheless, his passion still resided in making movies. After various attempts to create a film in Saudi, he stumbled upon an opportunity with the IMAX company and worked on a movie about the history of Saudi. It took them four years to shoot, and they faced a few challenges due to the lack of exposure in the country back then to movie production.

After putting his name out there, Hamzah had many opportunities. He then focused more on serving the Saudi film and TV industry. He launched the Ascending Media fund to empower Saudi directors and writers to get opportunities

they wouldn’t get otherwise. He shared, “one of the things I am dedicated to is elevating the quality of Saudi filmmakers and actors. It’s the reason I launched the fund. Part of the mandate we have in the investment is you have to use Saudi crew members and cast.”

Through the fund, Hamzah was able to make six movies. His secret sauce in the success of the movies was to employ a hybrid model where both Saudi and American actors work together. He believes that creating a story that can travel outside the kingdom is one of the best ways to export your culture to the world. After a series of successes, Hamzah was approached by the MBC group for consulting and helping launch their new studio after getting support from the government. The main topics of discussion revolved around attracting Hollywood actors into their productions and supporting Saudi filmmakers.

It was one of the first movies to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. That was back in 2009. There was no attention to films. Even when we were working with the government, they didn’t know how to block streets, how to film in Makkah, nobody knew, and we helped them.


After almost three years of consulting with them, MBC concluded that they needed to create commercially successful movies to raise the standard of production in Saudi. He directed the horror film Rupture, starring Billy Zane (known for his role as the main antagonist in the movie Titanic), alongside the two Saudi actors Sumaya Rida and Fayez Bin Jurys. It won the Audience Award at the Red Sea Film Festival. “I wanted to create something for the Saudi audience and set the bar very high, from the quality, the acting, and everything else. We achieved that even though it was a low-budget movie compared to the movies we financed through our fund,” Hamzah said.

He believes that one of the best ways to break the misconceptions about Saudi Arabia is to work with international names, and they will see how the crew members act and how they carry their culture and change perception.

“In filmmaking, you will have to interact with other people, and if you carry your culture with you and be proud of it, you will clear more misconceptions about your society just by making the film. When you release it, it’s even double the reward.”

Hamzah Jamjoom is now working on more Saudi-centric movies based on true stories. He likes to find thrilling local stories that will leave you on edge. “I think that’s the beauty of our culture. We, as Arabs, like to tell each other stories and share dramatic experiences.”

He wants to bridge the gap between Saudi and Hollywood

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and bring them here to shoot in the country’s beautiful, diverse landscapes, which can accommodate all types of movies. Finally, Hamzah mentioned the crucial elements missing in our industry and how it would elevate it drastically.

“When I’m asked about the industry’s status and what is missing, I always say movie critics and qualified producers. We need people that will understand the business side of making a movie. And on the other hand, critics raise the standard of productions, and people would fear not

producing something within the standard set.”

We will see many featured Saudi movies in the Red Sea Film Festival, proving further the exponential growth of the Saudi cinema industry and the constant support it is receiving from governmental entities pushing Saudi creatives to express themselves through the many stories that could be shared with the world. We hope to see more Saudis making it to the top with movies and series features in global film festivals.



Abeer Alessa, CEO of The Bold Group on all things Media DESTINATION X THE BOLD GROUP
Interview by Syeda Inas Inayath

The Bold Group is an integrated creative ecosystem that provides innovative platform-driven solutions to the challenges faced by creative industries using a fresh approach. Destination KSA had the privilege to sit with Abeer Alessa, its founder and CEO, to get a rare insight into her journey as one of the executive female pioneers in the country’s creative and media industries.

We began with a simple question, what is Abeer’s origin story? We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the confines of the classroom always eluded Abeer, where math and science didn’t make sense, and her inclination was more towards the arts. “I hated being in class, that’s why when I was pursuing my degree, Saudi at that time didn’t have anything within the realm of creativity,

and truthfully I didn’t know what to do or what to study, or what I wanted to become., At that time, I started to hear about graphic design. I thought, if I did graphic design, I could have a career, whereas if I studied art, what would I do with that?” This led Abeer to travel to Bahrain to study art and design, specializing in graphic design. After finishing her degree, Abeer returned to Saudi Arabia to a wave of uncertainty. She was unsure of her future until one fateful Ramadan night when her uncle called her about an opportunity at MBC. “My uncle told me that MBC has a training for a rotation program as their contribution towards localizing and creating jobs for Saudis in MBC; this was in 2006 or 2007,” adding, “I said, okay, why not, and he informed me the interview was right away, mind you, it was 2 am right before the Fajr prayers.

It didn’t give me much time to prepare. I went back home and took my portfolio, which honestly didn’t have much, just a compilation of my drawings and art, and my interview was with Dawood Al Sharian, a famous media person with a top-rated show on MBC. Unfortunately, he informed me that the gates were closed.”

Nevertheless, Dawood saw something special in Abeer and agreed to mentor her, as part of MBC. “The very next day, I packed my bags and headed to Dubai; bear in mind that at that time, this wasn’t something conventional for Saudi women to study abroad or work abroad, especially in media, but my family’s support was what got me through it all.” Abeer rotated in various media powerhouses like Arabiya, MBC 1 and 2, eventually becoming a promotion producer at MBC4. She fell in love with everything

The Bold Group management team

she learned, which was starkly different from what she studied. “This is where I learned everything, from editing to all other skills related to the field, at MBC.”

Abeer would start freelancing, landing gigs with Saudi companies, and little did she know that it would lead her back to Saudi Arabia. “While I was at MBC, I often took up side hustles; I received a call about a commercial that was being shot in Dubai for STC and that they were looking for a Saudi wardrobe stylist,” adding “Back then, all commercials used to be shot either in Dubai or Lebanon as we didn’t have any production houses in Saudi.’’ Even though wardrobe was not Abeer’s expertise, she decided, to take it on, and it opened many doors. Frequently freelancing with Saudi companies, she grew her connections.

As it was the first time around, the next pivotal moment in Abeer’s career came as a phone call. “I wanted to pursue education in film, having worked with MBC on onground productions, wardrobe and more, I was in love with the field and I wanted to learn more.” But life has other plans— a single convincing call asking her to work on a project for STC landed her a seat at a multinational agency that represented the company in Riyadh for four years.

It was this return to Saudi Arabia and seeing the market that got Abeer’s wheels turning, “I saw the gap in the Saudi market, as multinational companies often only took big clients, I saw a gap for midsize

The Bold Group team

businesses and this led me start Bold.” “Bold was founded in 2012, with Mohamad Baalbaki and me. He used to do the creative, and I used to do everything else, it was just two people but then the team grew. Fast forward to 2022, almost ten years later and we have over 75 people in two offices. Today Bold has gone from a single agency to a group and we are focusing on specialization and growing in our specialties, whether geographically, vertically or horizontally.”

With over seventeen years of experience, Abeer is an experience pioneer who has seen the market evolve. She lends her expertise and knowledge to the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, as part of the Advertising Committee.

So today the growth of the industry and where it’s heading is up to the local and independent industries, they’re getting all the interesting work and projects, I do believe we have some challenges and gaps, but there is a competitive edge today more than before.


“Regardless of what your specialization is, the key is to know the science and art of what we do, the art needs to be relevant to the target audience, it needs to be localized, that's why I feel the local companies are being very competitive. And then there is the scientific part, which I feel we need to develop further as we move on.”

With the rise of creative representation in the country we wanted to know how The Bold Group is adapting, “A lot of the agencies in the market these days tend to go too local, if you look at Saudi Arabia today with 32 million population, and I would say 12 million of those are not Saudi. So the challenge today is yes, being local, but there is a very thin line being too local that you are irrelevant to everyone else living in the country, because in the end of the day everyone is your target audience, if you look at big brands such as McDonalds, or Coca Cola, they target everybody and not only Saudis.”

“And with the country’s vision for 2030 being to increase its population, you can anticipate that foreigners will need to be better included in future communications. So yes, being local is good but all target audiences must be kept in mind and that’s something that Bold always focuses on.”

As a woman CEO, Abeer had to navigate a rapidly changing industry. “I believe that the challenges we used to have as women, in the past ten years in comparison to today, are totally different. If I look back to the challenges I personally faced, they were more about

being the only woman in the room, often having difficulties getting my voice heard, that was demotivating at times. But I would say at the end of the day, consistency and persistence were the key to overcoming those challenges.”

Adding, “Today as we speak being woman or a man in Saudi does not make any difference, actually being a woman today gives you a competitive advantage, women empowerment is at its peak today in Saudi, we are seeing a lot of encouragement whether from the private sector or the governmental sector.” Abeer says that her go to advice to women in the country trying to create a path for themselves. We asked Abeer what the future

holds for The Bold Group and herself, “The Bold Group today, how we are growing and where we are headed, is strong.

We aim to increase further by 50% year on year; we have a new strategy for the company; we transformed from a single company into a specialized group, with Bold brands, Bold comms, and Bold experiences and one more company, which will is specializing in corporate gifting.” Adding, “The Bold Group also aims to grow geographically, having recently opened an office in Egypt this year, we also aim to grow and open office around the GCC.”


Never think less of yourself, sometimes you won’t be invited to the table, but never feel less, or take it as a setback and always charge on.



Creating for the people with Lub Creative


Let us get started. White walls, passionate minds, and unrestrained creativity… Okay, okay, we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Let us go back to the beginning… When I joined Rumman Company, I was ready to be a great writer, taking on the world with my words. Armed with a keyboard, a computer, and the misconception that I knew everything about everything; then I entered Lub Creative offices. There’s an undeniable chemistry between the creatives, a familial comfort and a friendly atmosphere that attracts everyone who walks through our doors, almost instantly.

So, I did what anyone in my position would do, I pulled up my big girl pants and set out to learn all there is to know about the creative advertising industry, and who better to help me on this journey than the creative minds of Lub Creative?

The first revelation was learning that there’s a difference between a creative agency and a creative advertising agency. A big difference!

I didn’t know everything, only some things.

From my very first project meeting, I realized two things: The ever-changing creative advertising world is a daunting reality, especially in Saudi Arabia.

Destination KSA is one of many projects developed and designed by Lub Creative under the umbrella of Rumman Co.

HEBA ALSAFWANI resident Lub Creative walking encyclopedia helped explain this further

“As an advertising agency, we’re not just about the look; we’re about the hook that draws people in. We study, create, and plan; there’s a method to our madness.”

→ She offered me an opportunity to attend a project briefing meeting with her. She offered me an opportunity to attend a project briefing meeting with her.

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Walking into the meeting room, I could already feel the anticipation as project manager, MAYDA HASHANI, began briefing us about a campaign to be produced for the Saudi Ministry of Tourism, Saudi Seasons. She explained the requirements, timeline, and other specifications. Everyone was motivated and had a collective understanding;

We will come together creatively to use our combined insights to create impact and effect.

Fast forward about a month, and after countless brainstorming meetings, research, conceptualization, design, and execution, we not only won the pitch, we developed and executed the project.

“It was our unique activation strategy that did it! The client loved that we created something that went beyond the brief, and captivated audiences on multiple platforms simultaneously, creating an impact they hoped for.ˮ Mayda Hashani

My curiosity got the better of me. I asked her to expand on that, to which she said,

“Concepts create connections, but excellence in execution is what builds a show-stopping power.”


A Project Manager Mantra: “Execution

TO OUR MADNESS Curiosity to Innovation Organized to a Fault Simplicity for Sophistication Producing to Perfection Intellectuals have fun
is King”

This is just one example of the various campaigns Lub Creative has worked on. The same determination has been employed in various campaigns for the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Abdullatif Jameel, Saudi National Bank, Saudia Airlines, Goody Kitchen, MDLbeast, Lomar, and numerous others. Campaigns are the only projects Lub Creative works on; that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Any agency can build a brand, but it takes a specific set of skills to create communication that resonates. Senior Art Director JOUDI SABRA expanded on how that can be achieved,

“It is imperative to dissect the brand before designing it; to understand its essence before going into the execution. This helps guide the creativity to make something that speaks to audiences and stays true to the brand, no matter the scope.”

Today, we are surrounded by advertising, from billboards and television ads to phones and social media. As someone who enjoys using social media, I was pleasantly surprised to learn all that goes into creating content for brands — this is also one of the services that Lub Creative provides.

AREEJ ALHAMEDI, a project manager who specializes in social media, said,

“Everyone everywhere in the world is on social media all the time. If we want to target certain audience segments, we have to understand their unique social behavior, create a strategy accordingly, and activate it on the platforms they’re always on.”


is a social media management and intelligence tool that helps manage conversations and uncover actionable insights that have a genuine business impact.

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Another revelation for me: ads are not just pretty designs and clever copy. Powerful advertising is not about selling something, it’s about creating connections with audiences, insights with industries, and overall, a meaning that lives on. When it comes to advertising, learning doesn’t cease.

The essence of Lub Creative goes beyond its projects, and into the process, and partners. I learned that an ad can speak without talking, appeal with order, and connect with insight. Every day, as I enter Lub Creative, I am hit with a sense of familiarity amongst the good morning and the Sabhal Nour’s, which I brought up in a conversation with MARIA MAHDALY, founder and CEO of Lub Creative, to which she said,


*These are just a few great minds working with Lub Creative.

Clear Client Communication is her game.

Crosses the goal line by always submitting on time.

Arabic or English always gets the ball rolling.

Holds all the aces regarding visual concepts.

Always ready to Take one for the team.



360 campaigns and marketing plans

Creative communication strategies

Digital and social media strategies

Content development and editorial

Social media content and photography

Brand creation and identity design

Photography and art direction

Event conception and management Videography and filmmaking

Mayda Hashani Heba AlSafwani Jasteen Javina Mohamed Haroon Joudi Sabra
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lubcreative @
“Lub aims to build a collective of
and collaborate to drive the local industry to achieve global recognition.”


Saudi art goes virtual

What is Digital Art?

In recent years, we have seen an influx of digital mediums, and life has become a phygital (physical and digital) hybrid. Hence, it’s no surprise that art, too, has expanded and boomed so rapidly. Artists everywhere are experimenting with various digital art forms, from photography and illustration to graphic design and architecture in the metaverse.

Digital art has also become increasingly prominent in Saudi, with artists having their break online, such as Saudi artist Rex Chouk, illustrator Bayan Yasin and more. As the country embraces the intangible but equally valuable realm of digital art, we see more artists braving the frontiers. Here are some of them:

Ya Habibi Market by Sattom Al Asad
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From the Bleachers by Sattom Al


A practicing architect and digital artist based in Los Angeles, Sattom Al Asad reimagine spaces within a digital framework. After starting her career in architecture, she realized that more than the field alone was needed for her to create and visualize her thoughts. She then began to express those ideas through digital visualization of spaces, sculptures, furniture pieces, and much more.

Sattom draws inspiration from her personal experiences, travels, and Saudi background. This, as well as her passion for shaping space, whether physical or digital, led to the three main elements of most of her projects: Light, materials and texture, and natural elements.

The elements can be seen in her artwork, where viewers feel transported to another reality of peace and tranquility, even for a few seconds. Sattom believes digital art will become more relevant as technology advances around artificial intelligence and virtual reality, eventually becoming the norm.

Sattom likes to incorporate natural elements to add a touch of surrealism to her digital art, such as having large boulders or trees in places they’re not expected to be. _sattom

Sattom has exciting plans coming in the future, where she

aims to continue to experiment with the virtual space where the limitations to physics, weather, and other obstacles are lessened. She also plans to continue leveraging her skills to contribute to a beautiful and more culturally diverse virtual reality in forms such as the metaverse. Stay on the lookout for Sattom’s dreamy designs.



A graphic designer and digital artist, Fatimah Emad was interested in digital illustration from a very early age. She began in the industry with creative advertising and marketing, but she had a passion for digital illustration from her early years of growing up watching Disney characters and animation. One of her childhood dreams was to create cartoon characters to bring her imagination to life.

After finding herself studying creative advertising, which did not involve too much design, she began to take time out of her day to improve her design skills and develop her passion from there. Her skills span in all areas, including 2D designing, Arabic typography, and, more.

Apart from digital art, Fatimah has also enjoyed creating physical artwork, including DIY origami and pop art. She has attempted to combine both passions and include digital art in any project, as she believes that our lives are now dependent on digital forms regardless of creative interests.

Fatimah attempts to raise awareness of augmented reality through her work and to showcase imagination within reality. She aims to highlight how possible this notion is now with technology.

Her most recent poster was made physically with her own hands while also integrating Artificial Intelligence to animate the poster, all included within a QR code to digitize the artwork.

Fatimah would like to begin conceptualizing her work towards children by focusing on illustrated children’s books that also include Artificial Intelligence to deliver stories and imagination in a whole new way, especially in the Arabic language, which Fatimah feels is lacking in content right now. She shares all her work on her social media so stay tuned.

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Message of the Day by Fatimah Emad
Shimagh Series by Meshal Al Obaidallah

Meshal Al-Obaidallah is an independent artist and curator based in Riyadh. His practice centers around the question, “Before it is forgotten, how can our everchanging present-day culture be preserved?” Therefore, he utilizes experimental modes of archiving narratives.

He uses cultural artifacts (be it a shemagh or Internet videos) as mediums to document current issues and affairs in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. He covers several topics, such as social inequalities, regional stereotypes, the Middle Eastern diaspora, self-identity, and national identity. Meshal explains, “In our hyper-shifting reality, we must catalog today’s dominant narratives to subvert tomorrow’s collective pitfalls.”

Meshal views himself as part of a generation that grew up with the introduction of the Internet as we know it today. Within this time came the rise of consumer laptops. Computers are his primary outlet for creating, with his little interest in the “traditional forms” of art.

Meshal also discusses how he believes the distinction between “digital forms” and “traditional forms” is now outdated. He attributes this to the rise of newer technologies of artificial intelligence and machine learning, such Stable Diffusion. “Now,” Meshal states, “what we consider ‘digital forms’ are becoming ‘traditional forms of art.” Currently, Meshal is working on an ongoing project titled Farewell Arabia.

It explores the Arabian Peninsula through the lens of Orientalism and provincialism.

It examines today’s repetition of dominant narratives from the distant past. It recycles history to tell of the changing social and urban landscape. Last year, he was commissioned by the Arab British Centre in London. Now, he is expanding this project by collaborating with various creatives from around the region.

Look out for Meshal’s upcoming works, such as a project to conserve and restore old Internet media and memes. Meshal explains, “These overlooked Internet media are records of changing times in the landscape of Saudi Arabia.” Another is a DIY project in Riyadh, in collaboration with JosephVadakkumchery. The project has various outputs, inclusing regular updates through his Instagram.



The latest in the film industry locally and beyond.

As we move into the new year, there is much to look forward to, especially within the film industry. In Saudi Arabia and throughout the region, you can expect exciting films coming your way from local, regional, and International talents in the film industry.



The second edition of the International Red Sea Film Festival will be opening its doors in December of this year, showcasing a number of new and exciting Saudi, regional and international films by talented filmmakers. This year’s festival will not follow the previous location of the historic Al Balad, but will take place at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Jeddah, as well as the Corniche Al Hamra.


Based on the hit Saudi digital show Alkhallat produced by Telfaz11, the film Alkhallat+ will feature four different stories surrounding the themes of deception. It will be set in unlikely locations. Directed by Fahad Alamarri, the film is set to come out in 2023.

Starring: Aziz Alshehri, Mohamed Aldokhie, Ibraheem Alkhairallah, Ibraheem Alhajja


An exciting psychological thriller directed by Saudi filmmaker Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan and also produced by Telfaz11. The film is set in AlUla and will cover supernatural themes in a historical location. The film is expected to release early 2023.


The film follows the journey of a man named Ali, who is on the Autism spectrum, as he loses his way en route to see a doctor. Alone in the middle of nowhere, Ali must face a series of challenges that may ultimately lead him to a world of discoveries.

Starring: Hussam Alharthy, Reem AlHabib, Nour Alkhadra Starring: Hamad Farhan, Naif Khalaf, Aseel Omran

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Although released earlier this year, Ashbah Europa is one of the Arab language cinematic gems to come out of 2022. The story revolves around a couple’s birth of sextuplets, forcing the husband to sell three children secretly due to poverty. When the wife finds out, she leaves him with challenges.


Recently released on platforms such as Shahid, Wahed Tani is an Egyptian film about an apathetic man with a seemingly dull life who implants himself with a device that changes everything for him.

Starring: Ahmed Helmy, Ruby, Ahmed Malek



Set in Kuwait in the 1980s, the film revolves around two women who enter the boys club of Kuwait’s banking industry. Created by TV presenter and actress Nadia Ahmed, the film will launch on Netflix.

Starring: Rawan Mahdi, Mona Hussain, Hussain Al-Mahdi



Turning the spotlight once more on the music icon Whitney Houston, this biopic will explore the details of her rise and the struggles she faced during her lifetime and stardom.


A film that all gamers and novices alike will enjoy, the Super Mario Bros. animated film tells the story of Mario, and Luigi's quest to save the Princess. It is set to be released in theatres in 2023


Another childhood favorite made into a live-action film, The Little Mermaid, will once again make a splash on the silver screen. It is set to be released in theatres in May 2023.

Starring: Haifa Wehbe, Ahmed Al Fishawy, Mostafa Khater


As one of the world’s most ambitious festivals of its kind, Noor Riyadh transforms the city into a dazzling night-time ‘gallery without walls’ across the largest city footprint of any light art festival worldwide.

The festival brings together local communities, from families to artists, students, professionals, and more, with international audiences from across the globe.

Noor Riyadh creates unique moments of joy across the city, nurtures artistic talent, and delivers awe-inspiring immersive experiences that allow visitors to appreciate world-class light artworks and rediscover the city of Riyadh in a new light. The anticipated second edition showcases over

120 installations, building projections, and drone shows by more than 100 Saudi and international artists. The festival is co-curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, Dorothy Di Stefano, and Jumana Ghouth.

Many renowned names in light art are united with an expanding roster of emerging and established local artists with over 40 nationalities.

Noor Riyadh’s 2022 theme is ‘We Dream of New Horizons,’ responding to a motif that is both literal and metaphorical in meaning. This edition will see the festival triple in size, with activations in 40 locations across the city of Riyadh.

It alludes to the distant glow of sunrise or sunset and the

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Noor Riyadh and Riyadh Art are back to Illuminate the city


The groundbreaking annual festival of light and art, launched on Nov. 3 (until Nov. 19), accompanied by a 3-month art exhibition from Nov. 3, 2022 - Feb. 4, 2023

shining light of our dreams, with a sense of hopefulness for the future inherent in the phrase. Additional highlights include the festival’s accompanying exhibition entitled ‘From Spark to Spirit,’ taking place from Nov. 3, 2022, to Feb. 4, 2023, at JAX 03 (JAX District), Riyadh, curated by Neville Wakefield (lead curator) and Gaida AlMogren (associate curator).

The exhibition traces light’s role in shaping our relationship to a world for which light has become the signal of change, exploring themes such as the ‘Technologies of Light,’ ‘Architectonics of Light’ and ‘Consciousness of Light.’






Saudi FashionTech on a roll

When we walk down pop culture memory lane, no movie did style like the 1995 cult classic Clueless, where the main character chooses her outfit pairings by swiping left and right on the screen. Fast forward to 2022, with the rise of technology and online applications, what seemed like a far-fetched idea has now become a reality.

With so much attention being paid to the need for innovation in the fashion business, the same old thing may quickly become outdated. The availability of alternative styles and trends adds to further perplex consumers. The potential of cultural and environmental factors to influence the next generation’s fashion practices can be examined as a springboard for a vision of fashion’s future.

The fashion tech industry is stepping in to fill the gap and monetize the importance of incorporating sustainability into the industry. Taffi was established with an archetype built on a customer persona of busy people with flair.

“Taffi is targeting today’s age and monetizing the development of online shopping,” founder and stylist Shahad Geoffrey said. “This means focusing on the customer behavior in Saudi Arabia and uplifting the buying and styling to the fullest.” She told us that you don’t need to search for your style; you can purchase Taffi’s styles based on your preferences.

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The Saudi fashion industry is teeming with innovation and creativity. To stay competitive, the industry’s middlemen must learn to roll with the punches and broaden their focus to include customers’ experience as an essential element for the fashion business to succeed.

Taffi used the idea of “quick looks or items,” which provides consumers with pre-assembled, individualized outfits. Additionally, you get to work with a stylist of your choosing, who will tailor the experience to your preferred looks, price range, and time spent shopping. Shahad told us, “We wanted to make the retailing experience easy for our customers, both online and offline.”



world will foster a discussion that welcomes conventional and technical perspectives in the practice of fashion. Taffi is a place to share and discover new industry-related ideas and connections. The platform facilitates communication between stylists and customers, allowing for a deeper appreciation of individual tastes. As Taffi’s customer base grows, the company hopes to expand its team of 130 stylists to accommodate its growing clientele. “The app gives tools for stylists to pick the brands, build on the retail experience for customers, and current trends,” Shahad shares.

and choose what you like on their website


Customization options for clothing and personal wardrobes are sustainable, creative, and innovative within current trendy fashion realms. Taffi has simplified the process of making a profile on the website so that anyone can get started on the journey to “styling made easy” with the help of new online tools. Shahad stated, “Client’s relationship is so important to us. At Taffi, your fashion preferences won’t be evaluated by an AI but rather by a human stylist that aims to expand on a personal experience.”

The fast-changing Saudi fashion industry is creating innovative practices that are being transformed into comprehensive fashion systems adapted to our times. Taffi has successfully done this and provided its customers with the best services. Hence, it’s no surprise that their client retention rate is at 60%, with an approximate 70% rate in the number of stylists joining the platform. Having begun in Saudi Arabia’s silicon valley, Taffi is poised to become the country’s go-to source for FashionTech.



The Stylists Say

Finding your personal style in a world where trends constantly shift can be challenging. Experimenting with new aesthetics is always fun and better than sticking to one style forever. We’ve streamlined the process so you can know your right fit and get fashion inspiration from stylists on our radar.


Luluah has been a stylist since 2014 and has worked on a number of editorials and ad campaigns. She aspires to combine elements of street style with those of Scandinavian designers in her personal vision. John Galliano’s street-style apparel and art pieces inspired by stories and movies have significantly impacted her creative process. When it comes to her “style preferences,” she favors a look that is both practical and trendy: a daily glam look.



The black ‘Faye’ jacket is a chic choice of evening wear elegance; it is crafted from a high-quality wool-mohair and features a draped insert at the shoulder. You can’t go wrong with a pair of straight-leg pants like the Pavot stretch-wool and this jacket.


A unique accessory, the Loewe Bracelet convertible leather shoulder bag is a must-have for this outfit. It is made of black nappa leather that can be folded into a large bracelet when not being worn across the shoulder.


Angelic jewelry set by Garrard, the Wings Embrace Yellow Sapphire and Diamond Ring and Wings Embrace Phoenix Drop Earrings, has the most exquisite diamonds and calibré cut sapphires in the most inviting of yellow tones.


Unless you have a pair of René Caovilla Embellished Galaxia Sandals 105, your ensemble is missing something. These mesh shoes have a sock-like design and are adorned with colorful crystals for a refined appeal.

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This Prada button-up shirt is made from ultra-soft cotton and is everything you need to complete a polished formal wear look.


Straight-leg jeans with a looser-than-usual fit from Prada perfectly complement your refined ensemble.


The crew-neck sweater in geometric jacquard from Prada is a perfect complement to the rest of the outfit. This sweater is detail-oriented, with its homage to the ‘70s aesthetic and minimalist design.


The Acne Studio tote is a trendy item that comes in two sizes and has calf leather panels and a logo print on the front.


The finishing touch to this ensemble is a pair of black, ankle-high buffed calfskin boots by Alexander McQueen. The boots exhibit chicness thanks to details such as a leather outsole with rubber inserts and a side zip clasp.


Without these accessories, this outfit would seem unfinished. A Tom Wood neckless and an M. Cohen ring would add fine details to this look.





Able to fit a variety of styles and events; the pure cotton shirt from THE ATTICO’s Diana collection has a sharp collar, a hidden front button placket, and a flared hemline.


Vintage-inspired cutout Rigid and faded AGOLDE’s Lana Straight-leg Mid-rise Jeans are designed for the classy fashionista who values attention to detail.


The oversize wool blazer by Stella McCartney is both a fashion statement and a chic comfort staple.




Zeina’s early passions were in the creative arts and fashion. Her background includes editorial and commercial styling, creative directing, and social media activations.


The Saint Louis GM Bag by Goyard was originally envisioned as a beach bag, but its reversible design makes it appropriate for a wide range of chic occasions.


The outfit is incomplete without these PRADA leather slingback pointed-toe pumps.

According to Zeina, there is no universally attractive silhouette; instead, the most important thing is to dress in a way that enhances one’s confidence and attractiveness. She said, “finding your style is a journey that she is still going through,” which entails trying various styles before settling on one that is most comfortable to your fashion sense. Zeina’s fashion picks have a distinct style that you can include in your wardrobe for a casual, puttogether look.


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Get Yasmina’s long overtop dress, the season’s most versatile and well-fitted outfit that will complement any and all elegant outings




Get Yasmina’s long overtop dress, the season’s most versatile and well-fitted outfit that will complement any and all elegant outings



Small stud earrings and a necklace are all you need to create this elegant ensemble. Shaima and Opal Stone by Hanan Bugshan, both local fine jewelry designers, have ideal accessories for such an exquisite ensemble.

by_saimatash opal.stones


Heels that make a statement are always in style; round off your outfit with a pair of medium- to high-heels by Schutz.


Haya is an expert editorial stylist who is continuously on the lookout for new ideas. Her insatiable curiosity in fashion and her desire to constantly improve her work via experience have afforded her several opportunities to study the inner workings of the evolving styling industry.

Haya believes that the future of Saudi fashion will be an amalgam of traditional elements and contemporary trends that nevertheless have a touch of Saudi uniqueness, which is the trend that is already prevalent in the Saudi fashion industry. Her sartorial choices highlight local designers like YasminaQ, who are excelling in the field.

bond_of_fashion_ _yasminaq_




A guide to staying in style

As the year comes to an end it’s time to level up your style, here are our picks for the season.


Our End of Season Picks


Comfortable and trendy? Mazrood has got you covered with its selection of colorful, flowy, and stylish options.



Add a bit of fun to your wardobe, with a brand powered by Youngsters. Especially their Mooondana, a quirky and cute bandana to feel trendy.


Create noise with your outfit. Noise grants you with all things hoodies to warm up your season and keep you in style.


Upgrade your fashion with Coded Nation’s latest collection, the Kids of Arabia II with patterns that grab yout attention.


Giving you the best options of watches and fine jewelry! Cle offers a remarkable collection of jewelry with a wide range of necklaces, bracelets and more.

wear.some.noise since2087

codednation werecle

SINCE 2087

An up-and coming brand merging fashion and design through their innovative fun designs of relatable elements within the Saudi culture.





In addition to layering on some sweatshirts, a new season means new everything. Switch up your persona with these beauty chart toppers.


With a line of neutral/ colored pencil or liquid eyeliner, you have granted yourself a major statement in the 2022 makeup look for the books.

WHERE TO FIND: Available at Namshi


Let’s get loud with a pop of color. Add a colorful lipstick to create a makeup look so unique leaving you flawless with colors including Red and Dark Rosy Pink.

WHERE TO FIND: Available at Makeup Forever


Creating fluffy eyebrows can be one of the easiest sections to achieve this winter. Just grab a strong-hold gel, swipe up, and you’re done.

WHERE TO FIND: Available at Faces


Get yourself burning with the sunburnt Blush. Tap on cream or powder blush, then add some more and more.

WHERE TO FIND: Available at Sephora


Give your eyes a Euphoria-like look with ‘colorful eyes.’ Accompanying the eyeliner, highlight your eyes with a great selection of vibrant eyeshadow palette.

WHERE TO FIND: Available at Urban Decay



Fenty Beauty’s Cookies n’ Clean face mask is a detoxifying whipped clay mask that purifies your skin by eliminating dirt, oil, and impurities for deeply cleansed, snatched pores.


With Wishful, expect the unexpected! This pineapple-papaya face scrub gently exfoliates your skin leaving you with a healthy glow.

WHERE TO FIND: Available at Sephora



Guilt-free wellness products

Now more than ever, wellness must be a top priority in our fast-paced and creative worlds. It’s even better when we get to do it guilt-free! Here are some Saudi-based sustainable wellness products and brands that are putting the green on the beauty scene.


Created by Majed Hamdoon, Organic Leaf is a Saudi brand that uses organic and natural ingredients to make products that are not only sustainable but have many natural essences and elements of nature that are largely beneficial for the skin, hair and more.

Each of their products is infused with ethically sourced fragrance extract. Their special Rosemary Hair Oil utilizes the popular rosemary oil as well as many other natural herbs that can stimulate hair growth, slows gray hair and even helps treat dandruff issues.

Organic Leaf also utilizes ingredients like charcoal in their products, such as in their Activated Charcoal Soap Bar Scrub, which has well known beneficial properties including powerful cleansing, detoxifying, and cleansing properties.

Other products that can be found at Organic Leaf include, Hibiscus Flower shampoo, Skin and hair Aloe Gel, Green Coffee Under Eye Serum, Restorative Night Cream, Kashmiri Safron Toner, Nourishing Day Cream, Anti-Aging Cream and more.

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2. 3. 4. 5.

ith quirky and fun produces scrubs, creams, shower products, and more, using natural ingredients that are relaxing, refreshing, and aesthetically pleasing to


An alternative option for glowing skin, Sila Shop peeling gloves are made from natural viscose fiber that cleanses the skin of dead skin cells, leaving it feeling smooth while also maintaining an ethical peace of mind.

Price Range: SR 90 - 300


A skin-care brand that does what they say, their products are hydrating and moisturizing, leaving skin glowing. Not only are there a variety of skin body products and creams that relax and hydrate.

Price Range: SR 150 - 500


All natural soap made with fragrances and ingredients found in nature. Kaya Soaps doesn’t use animal and hydrogenated oils, making the brand vegan and ethical without artificial ingredients.

Price Range: SR 20 - 30 PER PIECE


A true treat for the skin and the senses with an added tribute to the Arab lands, L’araboutique produces natural and organic handmade skincare products with regional, traditional ingredients and Saudi mineral water.

Price Range: SR 80 - 300


Complete ease of mind in the form of organic skin care scrubs and products that are much safer for the skin while also leaving you feeling refreshed. Kumaneka uses natural ingredients such as lavender, rose, coffee, and more

Price Range: SR 90 - 120


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