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Calling All UAE Designers: Expo 2020 Wants You to Create Its Uniforms

Madiyah Al Sharqi from Fashion Forward Season 10. Photographed by Mark Ganzon

The hotly anticipated Expo 2020 has launched a new competition for local design talent. The universal exposition is calling on designers to showcase their skills and creativity by imagining men’s and women’s uniforms that celebrate the Expo’s theme, which is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. In addition to highlighting the rich Emirati heritage through incorporating elements of the UAE culture into the design, each uniform must also be be practical, weather appropriate, and easily identifiable whilst remaining modest. Meanwhile, those who create zero-waste, eco-friendly designs, using recycled or sustainable fabrics and materials, have a higher chance of being chosen as a finalist.

The top three finalists, who will be selected on September 30 by senior members of the Expo 2020 Dubai team, will receive AED 50,000, and be asked to create samples of the full line, including a top, bottoms, outer jacket, hat, bag, tie, scarf, kandora and ghitra, abaya and shayla, and an Expo 2020 accessory.

The winner will be announced in the fourth quarter of 2018. The winning designs will go on to clothe the more than 30,000 volunteers and staff that will be working the six-month-long exhibition in Dubai, which runs from October 20, 2020, to April 10, 2021.

“We have a distinct advantage in that the UAE community is diverse in background, experience and talent, and this is a chance for Expo 2020 to tap into this creative pool,” said Expo’s vice-president of HR, workforce, and volunteers, Rita Penteado. “We want to engage the brightest and most creative minds in the local fashion industry and inspire them to design something truly unique for thousands of volunteers and staff who will help welcome the world to Expo every day for six months.”

The competition is launching with support from Dubai Design District (d3), the Dubai Design and Fashion Council, and Fashion Forward, all of which play a pivotal role in nurturing regional design talent. This year’s event will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. It is anticipated to welcome 25 million visitors during its six-month duration—that’s 25 million people who will see the winning uniforms.

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