Since we launched Style.com/Arabia in late 2012, fashion in the Middle East has undergone a staggering amount of development. Malls around the region went from one commercial success story to another, hosting some of the luxury world’s best selling stores; the Dubai Design District announced its opening and intention to serve as a backbone of the region’s creative sector; and the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) was formed to help structure a market ready to transition from an importer of fashion to an exporter—during a time when cultural exchange is more important than ever.
Still, despite the growing infrastructure, the commercial successes, and an increasing consumer appetite for local brands, too many roadblocks stand in the way of young designers today.
It has been more than two years since our team sat down to assess what is needed in our industry to create fashion success stories like in other fashion capitals of the world.
Today is a milestone for us — and for all the young talents stemming from the region — as we announce the formation of the Style.com/Arabia – DDFC Fashion Prize, an annual endowment granted to the most promising design talents from the Arab world. Launched in partnership with the Dubai Design and Fashion Council and the luxury ecommerce brand Farfetch, this initiative will provide a global platform for emerging designers to showcase their abilities while establishing the quality control, standards, mentorship, and broader visibility the nascent industry needs.
The Style.com/Arabia – DDFC Fashion Prize will be overseen by a Selection Committee comprising senior executives from Style.com/Arabia, the Dubai Design & Fashion Council, Farfetch, and both the regional and international fashion communities, including:
• Tim Blanks: Editor-at-Large, Style.com;
• Peter Dundas: Creative Director, Roberto Cavalli;
• Zuhair Murad: Founder and Designer, Zuhair Murad;
• Stephanie Horton: Chief Marketing Officer, Farfetch;
• Nez Gebreel: CEO, Dubai Design & Fashion Council;
• Shashi Menon: CEO & Publisher, Style.com/Arabia;
• Sofia Guellaty: Editor-in-Chief, Style.com/Arabia;
• Patrick Chalhoub: CEO, Chalhoub Group; and
• Afef Jnifen: International model, presenter, and brand ambassadress
Official mentors of the Style.com/Arabia – DDFC Fashion Prize include:
• José Neves: Founder and CEO, Farfetch
• Meredith Melling: Founder of La Marque consultancy and the former Senior Market Editor of American Vogue
• Susanne Tide-Frater: Brand & Strategy Director, Farfetch, and Fashion Director, Victoria Beckham
• Nevena Borissova: Founder of the influential Curve boutique
• Angelique Soave: Investor, various luxury fashion/lifestyle brands, including Creatures of the Wind (a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist)
We’re proud to announce that the inaugural winner of the Style.com/Arabia – DDFC Fashion Prize will be declared this Fall. The winning designer will receive a financial grant; the opportunity to produce a capsule collection for sale on Farfetch.com; a year of mentorship from a collection of highly esteemed mentors; media/press coverage; and an advertising campaign, collectively representing over US $250,000 in value.
We invite all designers based in the Arab world to submit their profiles and participate in what promises to be a thrilling experience.
For more information and to apply, head to the Style.com/Arabia – DDFC Fashion Prize website.
Best of luck to all of the designers.