Last year, the Fashion Prize, a groundbreaking prize for Middle Eastern fashion talent, launched with the backing of the luxury ecommerce brand Farfetch. In the program’s inaugural year, 200 women’s ready-to-wear designers from 15 countries across the Arab world applied. Ultimately, Hussein Bazaza, hailing from Lebanon, was revealed as the winner of the inaugural Fashion Prize at a star-studded gala held in Dubai.
Today, the Fashion Prize announces its second edition and reveals an expanded program to include an additional prize for accessories design. Shashi Menon, CEO and Publisher of Vogue Arabia, stated, “The Fashion Prize aligns with our vision to invest in ecosystem development and elevate the regional fashion scene. Now, by expanding the program to include accessories, we are in a position to further support our homegrown talents across a platform that better encapsulates the region’s potential—on a global stage.”
Commenting further, Nez Gebreel, CEO of the Dubai Design & Fashion Council (DDFC), noted, “The introduction of our accessory design category allows the Fashion Prize to engage with—and show our commitment to—a broader range of emerging designers, creating yet another gateway for regional talent to showcase their work..”
The executive panel of judges for the second annual Fashion Prize welcomes back both Gebreel and Menon, along with José Neves, CEO of Farfetch; Stephanie Horton, Chief Marketing Officer of Farfetch; Patrick Chalhoub, Joint CEO of the Chalhoub Group; Couturier Zuhair Murad; and Nevena Borissova, Founder of Curve Boutique.
Also joining the 2016 Fashion Prize jury is Caterina Minthe, Features Director of Vogue Arabia; London-based designer Roland Mouret; Ramzi Tabiat, Creative Director of Al Ostoura; Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns boutique; and Anya Ziourova, Executive Editor-at-Large for Farfetch.
José Neves, Founder and CEO of Farfetch shared, “We are looking forward to working alongside Vogue Arabia and DDFC once again, to help discover and nurture the region’s freshest and most interesting designers. The Middle East has so much to offer the fashion world, with its strong network of homegrown design talent; we are thrilled to be a part of the partnership for a second year.”
Ahead of last year’s Fashion Prize gala, and in an exclusive interview with Vogue Arabia’s Minthe, renowned Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad discussed the responsibility that comes with winning the Fashion Prize, and how the winner can use the esteemed honor to build a platform for the road ahead. “I think that the winner will have the responsibility to first acknowledge the opportunity and then understand that he or she has a lot of things to think about seriously—to put together a plan, a strategy, and to determine—two-to-three years from now—what does he or she want to be, and to map out the future.” When discussing the business aspect of the creative industry, Murad advised the inaugural winner to “use this money in a smart way, and use it to invest in him or herself by beginning to build a small team.”
Both the ready-to-wear and accessory design winners of the Fashion Prize will be announced this Fall 2016, while the finalists in both categories will see their journeys reflected on Vogue Arabia in the months preceding the Fashion Prize gala. Each winner will receive mentorship; a financial production grant; the opportunity to create a capsule collection for sale on Farfetch.com with retail pick-up from Browns (London), Curve (USA), and Al Ostoura (Kuwait); along with an advertising campaign promoting the retail launch. The prizes for both the accessory and women’s ready-to-wear winning designers collectively amounts to over US $250,000 in value.
If you think that you have what it takes, head to the Fashion Prize website here—you have until June 30th to submit your application.