Today, Vogue Arabia and Dubai Design & Fashion Council unveil an expanded program for the 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize, an annual endowment for the Arab world’s most promising emerging talents. Vogue Arabia’s editor-in-chief, Manuel Arnaut, stated “Building on the success of last year’s program, we will be introducing an official category for fine jewelry this year.”
The annual competition celebrates the region’s finest emerging designers across ready-to-wear, accessories, and now, with 2017’s additional category, fine jewelry. Since the initiative launched, hundreds of designers from twenty countries across the Arab world have applied. 2017 Fashion Prize applications are now open online, with this year’s winning designers announced at a gala event in November.
The Fashion Prize Selection Committee includes:
Manuel Arnaut: Editor-in-Chief, Vogue Arabia
Shashi Menon: CEO & Publisher, Vogue Arabia
Caterina Minthe: Features Director, Vogue Arabia
Jazia Aldanhani: CEO, Dubai Design & Fashion Council
Karina Dobrotvorskaya: President and Editorial Director, New Markets and Brand Development, Condé Nast International
Patrick Chalhoub: Joint CEO, Chalhoub Group
Reem Acra: Founder and Creative Director, Reem Acra
Edgardo Osorio: Founder and Creative Director, Aquazurra
Anya Ziourova: International Fashion Director
Launched in 2015, the pioneering Fashion Prize program nurtures talent and provides a global platform for designers across the region. The debut winner, Lebanese designer Hussein Bazaza, has gone from strength to strength, with supermodel Naomi Campbell sporting two of his creations only last weekend at a wedding in Lebanon. 2016 ready-to-wear winner Reemami is now a go-to label for Vogue cover girl Bella Hadid and artist Kelly Rowland. “The success of the Fashion Prize is testimony to the incredible talent of our community, and an important element in the effort to elevate Dubai’s positioning as a destination for design,” noted Jazia Aldanhani, CEO of the Dubai Design & Fashion Council.
Further winners from last year’s DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize include the Egyptian brand Okhtein, an accessories label that has just opened its first boutique, based in Cairo.
“The DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize has created a benchmark for us that we’re always working towards and aiming to push even further”
“The title came with responsibility and it’s become a driving force for us,” the Okhtein founders told Vogue.me. Fine jewelry designer Ralph Masri–who can namecheck the likes of Queen Rania of Jordan as a key client–gained immediate recognition for his Fashion Prize collection and Harvey Nichols Dubai placed an order shortly Masri was announced as an honorary winner last Fall. “Just before the jury presentation, I showed the collection to Harvey Nichols,” Masri told Vogue Arabia. “You can imagine my nerves that day.”
The winners gain a financial production grant, retail distribution from selected partners, substantial media/press coverage from Vogue Arabia and other publications, mentorship from the Selection Committee, and a Vogue ad campaign for the Spring 2018 retail launch, collectively valued at over US $250,000. “We’re now in a position to further support our home-grown talents across a platform that better encapsulates the Arab world’s potential on a global stage,” reflected Vogue Arabia’s editor-in-chief.
Leading Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad shared his advice on building a strong brand identity with last year’s finalists: “You must do something that you really love. When you are convinced of your product, people will buy it, and love it, too.”
May the search commence for three rising star brands from the Middle East to step up. Follow the journey of the 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize via #FashionPrize.