Follow Vogue Arabia

Vogue Fashion Prize: Previous Winners Reflect on Their Success

Celine Dion wears Ralph Masri earrings. Masri is a Vogue Fashion Prize winner

Céline Dion wearing Ralph Masri earrings

Since its launch in 2015, the Vogue Fashion Prize has provided a global platform for regional designers to showcase their talent, with hundreds of designers from 20 countries across the Arab world applying for a chance to win. Powered by NEOM, the pioneering initiative makes a return this month, and it’s bigger than ever before.

The winning designers will be awarded direct financial grants, retail opportunities, editorial/press, marketing, and mentorship, collectively representing nearly US $500,000 in value. What’s more, the work of all 2020 finalists will also be showcased at a Fashion Prize showroom during Paris fashion week in March 2021.

We reached out to its previous winners to learn how the program shaped their success and to discover what’s next for their brands.

Submit your application here

Hussein Bazaza

2015 Fashion Prize debut winner Hussein Bazaza. Photo: Instagram/@husseinbazaza

The Fashion Prize’s debut winner, Hussein Bazaza, has seen nothing but success since his victory in 2015. With his creations worn by the likes of Naomi Campbell and Queen Rania of Jordan, the Lebanese designer has achieved significant success over the last five years.

What did winning the Fashion Prize mean to you?

The whole process was exciting from the start, from applying for the prize online to the event that took place in Dubai and hearing my name called as the winner. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience forever engraved in my memory.

How did winning the Fashion Prize shape your success?

It gave me the opportunity to have an exclusive collection on Farfetch, and it helped put me on an international platform when the brand was still so young. The experience shed light on the brand and ultimately gave it more exposure. It not only made me grow career-wise but also on a personal level.

What’s next for your brand? 

We launched our upcoming SS21 collection in Milan fashion week with Vogue Italia on September 27. The brand’s other focus at the moment is exclusive projects on the online store. Soon we will also start experimenting with new projects that are far from only clothing.

How important are initiatives like the Fashion Prize during the pandemic?

It’s incredibly important – it’s giving hope to the young and emerging artists in the field. Especially during these difficult times when fashion isn’t a priority in a Covid era, but they’re still working on pushing through with strength and determination, keeping the fashion world connected and not have that connection damaged or lost.


2016 Fashion Prize ready-to-wear winner, Reema Al Banna of Reemami. Photo: Courtesy of Reemami

After entering the Vogue Fashion Prize in 2016, Reema Al Banna captured the selection committee’s attention with her graphic and vivid designs for Reemami. Winning the ready-to-wear category, her brand found fans in Bella Hadid and Kelly Rowland.

What did winning the Fashion Prize mean to you?

Winning in 2016 meant the world for the brand and me as a designer. I had a tough presentation day and wasn’t sure what to expect post-presentation going to the awards night. When I was announced as the winner, I was over the moon.

How did winning the Fashion Prize shape your success?

Winning the prize helped the brand get stocked in the top retailers around the world, I received feedback from top industry fashion people, and was mentored by the best. It helped me recognize my strengths as a brand.

What’s next for your brand? 

The latest collection is in the works, and it is one that’s very dear to my heart. I have been delaying it for a while but I can’t wait to reveal it. Also, Reemami Home is in the works.

How important are initiatives like the Fashion Prize during the pandemic?

Very important. These industry awards help the contestants in so many ways. I’m still an advocate; sometimes we need to support each other to grow and also help the community grow. The Middle Eastern fashion scene has developed and grown so much since I began in 2010, and all these opportunities help so much in taking the industry to the next level.

Nadine Ghosn

2017 Vogue Fashion Prize high jewelry winner, Nadine Ghosn. Photo: Supplied

Jewelry designer Nadine Ghosn was crowned the winner of the high jewelry category for the 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize. The Brazilian-Lebanese jewelry designer’s vibrant and quirky creations have been featured on model Cindy Bruna and singer Pink, as well as garnering an international following from the likes of Beyoncé.

What did winning the Fashion Prize mean to you?

It was an incredible feeling. The competition felt vast, and seeing other extremely talented people run up against you was seriously worrisome, making it even more competitive. However, it was such a rewarding feeling to win such a prize and be recognized for our work.

How did winning the Fashion Prize shape your success?

Above everything it made me be seen. For a long time, I couldn’t even recognize myself as a designer as I was my own worse critic. Being validated, seen by peers and recognized gave me the confidence and also more resources to actualize my vision.

What’s next for your brand? 

I am preparing a new collection. Unfortunately, it has taken a little longer due to the current state of affairs, but I love the inspiration behind it and the work is more technical, so it has been a very interesting experience and journey. The collection also strongly resonates with the current moment I find myself in life.

How important are initiatives like the Fashion Prize during the pandemic?

I think the Fashion Prize is an uplifting experience that brings creatives together and increases the chances of encounters that could build friendships and mentorships. It is extremely important to shed light and have things to look forward to during such a bleak time.

Ralph Masri

2016 Fashion Prize high jewelry winner Ralph Masri. Photo: Supplied

Ralph Masri received the top prize for the high jewelry category at the 2016 Vogue Fashion Prize. The Lebanese fine jewelry designer, who is a favorite of Queen Rania of Jordan and Céline Dion, has gone from strength to strength since winning the Fashion Prize.

What did winning the Fashion Prize mean to you?

It was incredible validation and remains one of my career’s biggest milestones. It gave me more confidence, more credibility, and it made me trust my instinct.

How did winning the Fashion Prize shape your success?

It gave me great exposure and credibility, which in turn led my work to be picked up by some of the biggest retailers. Having a name like Vogue Arabia and the Fashion Prize backing you helps take your brand to a new level; it opened a lot of doors especially with big players, big retailers. It elevated my business to another level.

What’s next for your brand? 

At the moment we are focusing on expanding internationally, especially in the US and GCC.

How important are initiatives like the Fashion Prize during the pandemic?

I think prizes like these are always important regardless of what’s going on as they highlight up-and-coming talent.

Read Next: Announcing the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize. Here’s What You Need To Know

View All
Vogue Collection