Harper's Bazaar and Esquire launch in Saudi Arabia, as Riyadh looks to expand media presence

Harper's Bazaar and Esquire launch in Saudi Arabia, as Riyadh looks to expand media presence
Luxury fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar and Esquire will launch print editions in Saudi Arabia this month.
2 min read
18 March, 2021
The first issue will feature Saudi model Taleedah Tamer [Getty]

Luxury fashion magazines Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire will debut in Saudi Arabia this month and mark the country’s latest effort to transform the kingdom into a regional media hub and to cater to younger audiences.

They will be the first international luxury fashion and lifestyle magazines to be available in the country, with most regional media outlets based in neighbouring UAE. 

The two glossies are owned by the Dubai-based ITP Media Group and the licensing agreements have been arranged by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.

"It is extremely exciting that we are launching historical fashion brands into what is probably one of the youngest markets in the world," Sue Holt, managing director of ITP Media Group and ITP Saudi told Arab News.

Two-thirds of the Saudi population are under the age of 35.

The first edition of Harper's Bazaar featured a photoshoot of the first Saudi Arabian model to walk on a couture runaway, Taleedah Tamer, in what will become the city of NEOM.

Currently, Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire are only available in digital formats, and when it launches in print, both magazines will be available in both English and Arabic. 

The UAE, and Dubai in particular, has shown immense pulling power when it comes to convincing multi-national companies to set up headquarters.

Lately, Saudi Arabia has been seeking to do the same and is setting up a new Media City in Riyadh which it hopes will become a regional hub. 

In an apparent effort to pull ahead, Saudi Arabia surprised many last month by announcing that by 2024, it would cease doing business with international companies without a regional headquarters in the kingdom. 

Read more: Reset or rupture: What lies in store for US-Saudi ties?

"The Kingdom of Saudi of Arabia intends to cease contracting with companies and commercial institutions with regional headquarters not located in the Kingdom. The cessation will include agencies, institutions and funds owned by the government and will take effect 1 January, 2024," reported the Saudi state news agency. 

The launch of Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire also fit in with Vision 2030, a plan to diversify the Saudi economy and away from oil dependency, which was the brainchild of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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