The first Swerve Festival aims to connect sports and fashion – WWD

Sports Communication: Bruno Danto, the editor and entrepreneur who founded French magazine Sport & Style, is back with an initiative to bring sports and fashion together.

The first edition of Swerve Festival is scheduled to be held from May 5 to 7 in Alula, the ancient city of Aussie, which is growing as a major tourist attraction in Saudi Arabia. The invitation-only event will bring together 200 athletes, innovators and tastemakers from the fields of sports, fashion and wellness, and will feature sports activities, fashion shows, talks and entertainment.

The festival serves as the launching pad for the first annual Swerve Awards for Design at the Intersection of Fashion and Sports. The jury, which will be announced in June, will award projects in six categories: innovation, social impact, women’s empowerment, education, sustainability and a competition open to Saudi designers. Winners will be announced in May 2024.

The event is the official debut of Swiver Media Group, founded by Danto and his business partner Mohammad Hanzab, president of the International Sports Safety Center in Doha, Qatar and founder of the non-profit Sports Save the Dream.

A freelance surfer, soccer player and marathon runner, Danto aims to use his industry connections to create a hub for sports and fashion.

In the year In addition to opening Sport and Style in 2004, He was the editor-in-chief of Vogue Homes International from 2004 to 2007 and co-founded SportsForce, a sports-oriented social network that organized mass yoga events under the banner of White Yoga Sessions.

“There are many music festivals and over 300 fashion weeks around the world. There are trade shows for sports business and sports equipment, but there is no platform that brings sports and fashion together at the highest level,” Danto told WWD.

Bruno Danto

Bruno Danto

Courtesy of Swerve

While specialist websites have kept tabs on the fast-growing sports fashion collaboration segment, with Hysnobit launching athleisure last year, Sverve wants to go further by acting as a bridge between audiences and major sporting events like the Paris Olympic Games next year. Hungry for physical contact.

“Organizations like the Olympics, Roland Garros, the US Open and all these international events are looking for people who can speak their language and communicate with fashion,” Danto said. The idea is to create a showcase where brands can connect with fans.

The media group gets most of its revenue from partners.

For the Swerve Festival, the title partner is the Royal Commission of Al Aula, tasked with developing and promoting the archaeological and historical site. Local attractions include Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comparable to Petra in Jordan, and the iconic Maraea.

Maraya building near Alula

Maraya Building near Alula.

Courtesy of Swerve

Alula also hosts events such as the recent Alula Camel Cup, whose guests include Will Smith, who is a music producer and owner of the Swizz Beatz camel racing team. And the Center Pompidou in Paris recently signed a deal to host a major modern art museum.

The Sweave Festival is supported by the Saudi Arabian government with its broader mission of promoting sports by hosting major tournaments and encouraging citizens to be more active. The country has been chosen to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games in Neom, a $500 billion futuristic megacity in the desert still under construction.

Danto is aware of the critical response to the decision, which some see as bad for the environment, and the negative press surrounding last year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and the host country being under intense scrutiny, particularly for its human rights record. To the LGBTQ community.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of human rights abuses by organizations such as the US non-profit Freedom House, which has branded the country “not free” in international polls on political rights and civil liberties.

“I was not given any limits or restrictions on the guests or the type of participants or the nature of the conversation,” Danto said. “It is true that in the past, the country’s politics did not allow such events or speeches. But it is changing, and my position is to engage with those who are promoting this change and this opening.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and prime minister, Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, said he was confident in the direction he was taking. “I firmly believe in the policy of MBS to change the culture, and today it is happening very quickly, and I cannot imagine that these questions will still be raised in 10 years,” he said.

Habitat Resort near Alula

Habitat Resort near Alula

Courtesy of Swerve

Danto Alula said it will provide an unparalleled environment for Swerve Festival. Participants will stay at the Habitas Hotel, a resort comprised of sustainable villas offering scenic canyon views.

Each sport is championed in a discipline and there are discussions to hold the fashion show in Alula and open it to the public. Panels will include lectures on music, sports and fashion featuring Recording Academy President Panos A. Panay.

While the festival’s format is inspired by events like Coachella, Danto wants to keep it a little longer after tickets open to the public next year, with no more than 800 attendees. “We really want it to be a luxury experience, so it has to be a small format to deliver that,” he said, noting that the event aims to leave a minimal environmental footprint.

While the original version was designed as a showcase, Swerve aims to expand into a digital platform and agency that connects athletes and brands. “This platform is the first seed of a tree that will grow to include the universe of sports, fashion and entertainment,” he said.

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