Following hugely successful opening seasons, Fashion Forward (FFWD) returns for its third edition with an impressive line-up of design talent; offering up an even more diverse representation of the regional fashion landscape.
Bringing in these new talents adds further depth and range to the already well- established platform. In addition to the talent making their FFWD debuts, the majority of the catwalk shows this April 10th-13th will be from returning designers whose work we have seen at previous seasons.
“Going into Season Three, we were keen to maintain our momentum and draw from what Seasons One and Two have taught us,” said Bong Guerrero, Founder and CEO of Fashion Forward.
“Broadening our reach even further across the region has always been our goal, and whilst we will continue to do so, season after season, our main focus must always be on showcasing the best and brightest design talent. On this point Season Three does not disappoint, as we have selected a diverse and representative portfolio of designers from those who have shown in previous seasons, and those who are new to the platform, but have significant and notable talent,” added Guerrero.
Also returning for Season Three will be The Garden, the retail space for accessory designers to showcase their collections to buyers and guests throughout the event. This season The Garden will grow to house over 70 accessories designers from throughout the region. Guests will be able to browse and purchase jewellery, handbags, shoes, t-shirts and home ware directly from the regional designers in personalized retail spaces.
FFWD continues to build upon its strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) who have supported the fashion platform throughout its growth in 2013. With d3’s focus and vision on nurturing regional design talent across diverse sectors, as well as becoming the centre of Dubai’s creative community, their valuable support bolsters and solidifies FFWD’s mission to showcase the finest design talent across the Middle East.
The catwalk designers making their Fashion Forward debut for Season Three are:
Originally from Saudi Arabia, London based Lamia Asudari launched her label in 2007. Lamia’s passion lies in her development and execution of intricate and emotionally driven hand crafted prints. She is constantly experimenting with a variety of fabrics against conflicting and bold silhouettes. www.asudari.com
Following in the footsteps of his fashion-designer father, Lebanese couturier Sabaji has always had a passion for design. He studied in Milan at Domus Academy before launching his own couture line. Sabaji’s designs are influenced heavily by the strength and beauty of Mother Nature, and his pieces are conceptual and daring. www.jeanlouissabaji.com
Of Lebanese descent, London born Ronald Abdala trained in Los Angeles, Beirut and London before being appointed senior designer for Maison Rabih Kayrouz in 2004. Shortly after this he launched his own line of womenswear. Abdala’s designs focus closely on the human form, using bold and architectural cuts but delivered with fluidity, making for edgy yet sophisticated pieces. www.houseofronald.com
Born in Morocco, Said Mahrouf and his family moved to Amsterdam when he was nine years old. He studies fashion design both in Holland and New York. He presented his first pret a porter collection in 1999 to international acclaim and in 2000 he started his own performance company in Amsterdam. Mahrouf’s love of costume design, artistry and partiality to feminine elegance defines his collections. www.saidmahrouf.nl
Launched by brothers Zac, Zubair and Talha Timol in 2012, Velsvoir began by creating bespoke bowties and have since expanded to a range of men’s and women’s accessories and more recently a menswear line. Velsvoir focuses on classic tailoring whilst offering quirky and interesting accents to showcase their signature style. www.velsvoir.com
It was when studying Business Management in India, that UAE National Zareena Yousef first discovered what luxurious fabric combinations and rich embroidery could do to complement and enhance a woman’s beauty. This inspired her to begin her worldwide search for the exquisite textures, adornments and needlework that would one day become the trademark of her internationally acclaimed gowns. www.zareena.co/wp/
Returning to the runways this April to continue their FFWD success are:
The much-loved couturier returns to FFWD for his third season. Known for his natural ability to craft extravagant and artistic designs, Dubai-based One has rapidly worked his way up the fashion ladder, and is celebrated both regionally and internationally for his impressive couture creations. www.amatohautecouture.com
Having showcased at Seasons One and Two under Rabih Kayrouz’s mentorship and The Starch Foundation, Season Three sees Assaf present solo on the FFWD runway. Bashar Assaf is a Lebanese fashion designer currently based in Beirut. The signature behind his label is its ability to challenge the female body with brave geometry complimented with sensibility to material and craftsmanship. www.basharassaf.com
Of Indian origin, but of Arab sensibilities, Essa’s designs consistently try to weave together the traditional and the modern by relying on materials and prints that have iconic cuts and are universally flattering, creating extraordinary, colourful and contemporary ready to wear pieces. Essa returns this April for his third season at FFWD.
For well over a decade, Dubai-based, Filipino designer Ezra has been producing exquisitely- made, extravagant couture, establishing his brand as synonymous to elegance and beauty. Ezra has showcased at FFWD since Season One. www.ezrafashiondesign.com
Returning for their third FFWD Season are childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh. They created their label in 2009, offering playful and chic contemporary womenswear. Kage mixes prints, textures and fabrics in their fun, stylish ready to wear pieces. www.bykage.com
Former Starch foundation graduate Rami Kadi returns for his second season at FFWD. The Lebanese-American designer’s couture creations follow his signature style of elegance and femininity, mixing textures and materials with form-fitting lines in his work. www.rami-kadi.com
Under the mentorship of Rabih Kayrouz, the Starch Foundation has presented their chosen designers at each edition of FFWD to great acclaim. The designers this season are Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek. www.starchfoundation.org/
Half Kuwaiti, half-Indian designer Tahir Sultan launched his own label in 2008. In 2012 he became the first Kuwaiti designer to show at London Fashion Week. Season Three will be his third FFWD presentation. Sultan’s luxurious pieces pay particular attention to detail, are determinedly glamorous yet conservative, allowing women to feel empowered and sexy without necessarily being too showy and exposing too much. www.tahirsultan.com
The Dubai-based womenswear brand was founded in 2013 by designers Riccardo Audisio and Yago Goicoechea. The brand was born in Italy to be based in Dubai: A bridge between the European elegance and the Middle Eastern charm. Their inspiration is drawn from the conversation between the nostalgia of the past and the contemporary culture. Their collections merge minimalistic Italian tailoring with Arabic traditions. www.tallermarmo.com
The Golkar brothers return to FFWD for their third season, offering their stand-out luxury menswear. The British- Iranian trio set up the label in 2007 and are based in Dubai. Their collections combine exquisite tailoring, with regal prints and classic cuts made of the finest European fabrics. www.theemperor1688.com
Dubai-based Lebanese designer Zayan Ghandour will present for her third time at FFWD this April. Her brand, Zayan the Label, debuted at Paris Fashion Week in 2011 to wide acclaim. Zayan’s collections offer girly, contemporary luxury ready-to-wear designs using a mixture of fabrics, vivid colours and innovative silhouettes. www.zayan.com