AlUla, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia –
Tafoni, a new concept store will open on January 26, 2023 in AlJadidah, the artistic district in the ancient desert city of AlUla, Saudi Arabia. Curated by Saudi fashion entrepreneur Rae Joseph and celebrating Saudi fashion and design, the concept store will host a series of curated immersive retail experiences.
Featuring 14 local Saudi fashion retailers during each residency, products will include ready-to-wear fashion, accessories, fine jewelry, beauty and home decor. Retailers that will be showcased include ‘Qormuz’, a Saudi unisex fashion house, ‘Abadia’ an ethical luxury brand for contemporary womenswear, ‘Noora Hifzi’ a luxury evening wear label for women, ‘Mashael Al Torath’, an abaya brand for women incorporating traditional art into contemporary designs, and many more.
The first concept “Once upon an Azeema” running from January 26 to February 18 is inspired by the period between 1980-2000 in Saudi Arabia where the tradition of “Azeema” would see people getting ready every weekend to meet with relatives in the hospitality of one family member’s house. Drawing from this nostalgia, Tafoni will encapsulate the sense of welcoming and hospitality to offer shoppers a rich, unique and intimate retail experience.
The old library building has been restored and specially fitted-out for the first concept. The second installation will be host a different retail experience and take place at the Design Gallery, located on the Incense Road of AlJadidah.
The name, Tafoni, is a reference to the small, rounded, smooth-edged openings in a rock surface, most often found in arid or semi-arid deserts like AlUla. The name reflects the rich culture, geology and history of AlUla in the design and offerings of the retail store.
Tafoni is planned to permanently open in AlJadidah as an ever-changing showcase of carefully curated products from various local and regional high-end designers from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region.
The concept store is curated by Saudi native Rae Joseph, a fashion entrepreneur and Industry pioneer. Her love of fashion, storytelling and her deep connection to her Saudi roots were the inspiration behind the curation and establishment of Tafoni.
Rae Joseph commented: “The reason I chose AlUla as a destination for the concept store is because of the rich history, hospitality, nature, and beauty it holds. Through Tafoni, I want to employ fashion as a tool to share chapters of the Saudi story, and shine a light on the talented local designers that are integrating our traditions into every detail of their pieces. The standards of Saudi design rival that of the most established names in the industry as far as creativity and quality.”
“For our AlUla store, our Saudi customers will see parts of who they are in the curated pieces of our collection, as uniquely interpreted by each designer and our international customers will get a glimpse of the Saudi culture through an engaging and visually stimulating retail journey. I hope all of our visitors enjoy this retail experience as much as I enjoyed working on it.”
Fashion has become a significant part of the AlUla visitor experience. Recently, the Ashar Valley Fashion precinct saw a series of luxury retail pop-ups set in the stunning landscapes of the Ashar Valley. This high-end shopping experience is the perfect retail therapy for guests and visitors to the sublime Ashar Valley. The activation currently features luxury brands including Samer Halimeh, Assouline, L’Opera, Michael Cinco, Azza Fahmy, and Vianney Halter.
Tafoni welcomes guests from 4pm to 11pm daily starting January 26th with a festive 3-day launch weekend (26-27-28th January), designed to enrich the experiential aspect of the store. Visitors will also get the chance to meet the designers to hear their stories and inspirations behind each of their unique brands.