As weeks of preparation came to an end, an intimate crowd gathered at the Five Palm Jumeirah in Dubai for a gala to honor the 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize finalists and announce the winners of the annual endowment that celebrates the region’s rising star talents. Faissal El-Malak was crowned the ready-to-wear design winner, Joanna Laura Constantine took home the prize for the accessories, and, Nadine Ghosn won the high jewelry category. Each designer will receive a collective prize valued at US $250,000; the opportunity to sell their Spring 2018 collections at Harvey Nichols in Dubai and Bloomingdale’s Kuwait; receive high-level mentorship; and an advertising campaign promoting their retail launch.
El-Malak shares: “It’s such an honor to win the Vogue Arabia Fashion Prize. I want to thank the community for the opportunity, and I hope that this will further support and nurture emerging talent in the region.”
Meanwhile, a tearful Ghosn adds “This is such an incredible moment for me and also for all of the people that supported me along the way. It’s been such an incredible journey, thank you Vogue Arabia.”
Constantine had a a couple of words to share, too. “True girls can do anything. Thank you Vogue Arabia and DDFC.”
Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut comments: “We are thrilled to be supporting the winners tonight. We were really blown away by the talent of this year’s competition. We’re extremely proud that we were able to elevate designers across different countries in the region, this proves that we are contributing to a healthy, fashion ecosystem. I also think its important to add that its not only Vogue Arabia that launches the careers of up-and-coming Arab talent. We really urge our readers to wear and purchase local fashion by local designers. Yes, we are shedding a light on our emerging design talents but we also want to encourage our audience and readers to join us in advocating for and supporting our local designers.”
Related: Behind-the-scenes of the Fashion Prize finalists shoot
New York-based stylist and Fashion Prize judge Anya Ziourova, shares, “The lines are blurring between countries. The West is as open as ever to welcoming Middle Eastern designers and we see more and more appearing in America, especially. Take fine jewelry winner Nadine Ghosn, whose has been embraced–in such a short time–by major retailers who are showcasing her brand on the international market at stores like Colette and Bergdorf’s.” Reem Acra also highlighted the instant appeal of the high jewelry winner, Ghosn, “She is innovative, smart, and has the right dynamic for a sustainable business.” Edgardo Osorio of Aquazzura reflected, “I was happy to find talented and hardworking young designers developing in the region. It’s so important to have contests like the Fashion Prize to give international reach and nurture young talent so they can grow and triumph internationally.”
As the winners use the Fashion Prize as springboard for the next level of their business strategy, and gain traction with the stockist opportunities that are part of the prize, you can expect to see these names go from strength to strength. Tanya Atkinson, SVP, Commercial of Al Tayer Insignia, added: “The DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize program is one of the region’s standout initiatives to support emerging designers. Our stores already carry previous Fashion Prize designers and we’re thrilled to celebrate this year’s winners.” Watch this space.
Jazia Aldanhani, CEO of the Dubai Design & Fashion Council, was one of Selection Committee judges reviewing the thirteen finalists. Aldanhani reflected on the third year of the DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize, that made its debut in 2015: “In line with DDFC’s mandate to support talent development and the growth of our creative community, the Fashion Prize is an important platform for upcoming designers to further develop their skills and showcase their talent on a global stage.” Vogue Arabia Features Director and Fashion Prize judge Caterina Minthe chimes in here, adding: “As proven in past years, the Fashion Prize is an opportunity for our regional talent to be propelled under an international spotlight. In the age of social media, the number of emerging labels increases exponentially. The need for rigorous judging, focusing on quality and facilitated by industry experts, becomes all the more significant and celebrated among buyers and consumers of fashion.”
As 2017 winners enjoyed the spotlight at the Dubai gala dinner, winners of last year’s prize, Ralph Masri, Reemami, and Okhtein joined the throng of attendees. To mark the announcement, fashion’s international and Middle Eastern community came together to celebrate. VIPs included Reem Acra, Edgardo Osorio of Aquazzura, Hatem Alakeel. Mabrouk to the winners!
See the full list of finalists and winners (in bold):
Faissal El-Malak: UAE (winner)
FMM Dubai (Fatma Al Mulla): UAE
Lama Jouni: UAE
Nour Najem: Lebanon
Twisted Roots (Latifa AlGurg): UAE
Joanna Laura Constantine: Lebanon (winner)
Alia bin Omair: UAE
Hooked | HKD (Farah Nasri): UAE
LaLaQueen (Sally Sarieddine): Lebanon
Liudmila (Najeeba Hayat): Kuwait
Nadine Ghosn Fine Jewelry: Lebanon (winner)
Gafla Jewellery: UAE
Nuun Jewels (Nourah Al Faisal): Saudi Arabia