Middle East

How to support Saudi designers — wear their art on your sleeve

Author: NADA HAMEEDMon, 2018-02-19 04:00ID: 1518990025471289500

JEDDAH: Some art hangs on your wall. Some art sits on a plinth. Saudi entrepreneur Baha’a Gazzaz had a better idea — art you can wear.
The result of his brainwave is Spark, a design platform and online marketplace that allows artists to have their creations printed on everything from T-shirts and hoodies to bags and cushions, and then sold to fashion-conscious customers who value something just a little bit different.
“I was inspired in 2012 when I was at a life and style exhibition, I walked in and all I found was products made straight from designers,” Gazzaz, 34, told Arab News.
“I went to Hong Kong and did some research on design-related exhibitions and selling creative products, then I came home to Saudi Arabia and started to contact companies to market the products.
“But then I thought, I need to be more professional, so I built my own website. What I wanted was to bring these creative arts to Saudi Arabia by building a store with a diversity of products.”
Spark now has 24,000 items on sale — not to mention 50,000 followers on Instagram. “The majority of our artists are Saudi, including the calligrapher Shaker Kashgari, but we have artists from other GCC countries, Turkey, Sweden, Mexico and the US,” Gazzaz said.
All the products are made in Jeddah, and the Spark delivery team can then send them anywhere in the world.
The benefit to the artists is not only that they’re paid for each item sold, but their work reaches a worldwide audience.
The Spark website contains a biography of each artist, and web links to more of their work. “Artists have their own URL that enables them to share their art with others,” Gazzaz explained. “When we scan an item through our bar-code system and a customer pays for it, the artist is notified immediately.
“Whenever anyone buys a product, 15 percent goes to the artist who designed it. This is how we give credit to designers and bring them value.”

Main category: Saudi ArabiaArt & Culture

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Arab News

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