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Following LVMH’s Example, Arabian Fashion Initiative Launches Emerging Designers Award

Taking a page from the LVMH prize book, the Arabian fashion initiative, ‘Fashion Trust Arabia’, has launched its 2020 edit and award, to support local emerging designers.

With the coronavirus pandemic leaving those in the creative industries facing an incredibly uncertain future, it has never been more critical for large-scale organisations to support emerging fashion designers and brands.

Award schemes such as the LVMH Prize, provide the financial resources to ensure that young talent can sustain – and grow – their businesses.

At the same time, the likes of Fashion East and the BFC’s Newgen initiatives have given rise to some of the world’s most notable names.

However, in the Middle East and North Africa, there is only one similar awards-based initiative to date; Fashion Trust Arabia.

Fashion Trust Arabia 2020 Edit

Founded in 2018, Fashion Trust Arabia has launched a new initiative seeking to provide annual support and international recognition to shortlisted designers in the MENA region.

The 2020 iteration of the ceremony was due to take place on March 25 at the National Museum of Qatar.

Inevitably, it was cancelled when much of the world went into lockdown earlier this month.

Fashion Trust Arabia 2020 Finalist: Ahmed Serour.

The 2020 Arab Fashion edition comprised 25 designers running for prizes split between ready-to-wear, evening wear, accessories, jewellery.

Also, there was the ‘debut’ category which champions rising talent, presided over by a panel of judges including Marc Jacobs, Michèle Lamy, Naomi Campbell, and Olivier Rousteing.

The consecrated celebrities and designers were due to select the winner.

However, despite having the original format cancelled, the digital fashion show kept going.

The judging day went ahead via Zoom on April 28, with Yoon Ambush, Alber Elbaz, Olivier Rousteing, Daniel Arsham and more all dialling in.

Fashion Trust Arabia 2020 Finalist: Bazza Alzouman.

The audience witnessed Tulle embroidered gown by Sara Mrad, silk headscarf by ÉLBÉ, silver and pearl earrings by Alexandra Hakim, Hair done by Aldo Coppola at Salon Doha, make-up by Lucky Allure.

Fashion Trust Arabia 2020 Finalist: Sara Mrad.

Special thanks to model Amalina Alexander, photography assistant Joe Reddy, styling assistant Moundalek Sarah, local production The Film House, and especially to the National Museum of Qatar.

Fashion Trust Arabia 2020 Finalist: ÈLBÉ.

After the event, the Arabian Fashion (FTA) announced the 2020 finalists across its Instagram account, presenting shots by photographer Esther Theaker and styled by Makram Bitar.

There were story highlights by Alexandra Hakim, a jeweller who uses found materials from Lebanese food markets as inspiration.

Also, great lines from Yousef Akbar, a designer who specialises in evening wear and finds fascination in pattern cutting and construction.

After the glimpses from the ready-to-wear label Emergency Room, which repurposes vintage materials and ‘deadstock fabrics’ to form new pieces, the finishing shoots came from the Central Saint Martins’ graduate Omer Asim.

Asim was joined by Fatima Al Baker, a debuting designer celebrating her Qatari roots by printing voluminous dresses with illustrations of hijab-wearing women.

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Fashion Trust Arabia has also produced a series of short films where each designer discussed their work in detail, and how their respective nominations have impacted them.

The Middle East is undeniably a hub for creative talent, and I am proud to be part of,” says Alexandra Hakim.

Being an FTA finalist gives me a platform and international exposure to break the boundaries in an industry where local talent struggles to get off the ground.

Yousef Akbar also spoke of how the awards have touched him both personally and professionally.

Being an FTA finalist is a big honour and is a significant opportunity in my career. Moreover, to be selected amongst all these talented people is something exceptional,” he says.

In a further testament to the organisation’s commitment to nurturing fashion’s future, Arabian Fashion FTA has launched the #STANDWITHCREATIVES campaign, a COVID-19 initiative that sits alongside the ongoing annual awards programme.

The campaign seeks to provide help to designers, also residing in the MENA region, who have been affected by the current health crisis.

For those seeking financial support, admissions are now open here.

Other worth mentioning finalists of the Arabian Fashion initiative were:

Andrea Wazen.
ÈLBÉ (by Nour Ben Cheikh & Clementine Lecointre).
Liudmila (by Najeeba Hayat).
RAMLA (by Reem Hamed).
Zakaria Bendriouich.
Ahmed Serour.
Intissar Baiz.
Maya Chantout.
Zeid Hijazi.
Bazza Alzouman.
Sara Mrad.
Shahira Lasheen.
AMMANII (by Amany Bishara).
Kamushki (by Mariam and Dania Sawedeg).
OUMAEM (by Anas Alomaim).
TAMARZIZT (by Oumaima Tamarzizt).
Beige Label (by Muna al Othaiman).
BORN IN EXILE (by Ibrahim Shebani).
Nafsika Skourti (by Nafsika and Stephanie Skourti).

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