If you are someone who lives, eats and breathes fashion then you pretty much know that there are four main fashion weeks that take place around the world: New York, London, Milan and Paris. As well as these four mainstream giants, smaller fashion weeks have been starting to emerge and get attention in other areas such as Los Angeles, Brazil, Russia, China and India. So where does that leave the Middle East??? My answer – nowhere!!! Well…so I THOUGHT until this year…
As a fashion addict and guru, upon moving to this country I was very disheartened, disconcerted and overall depressed that the UAE had no fashion week. That is until this year…when Fashion Forward, Dubai’s so-called “fashion week”, was launched. The first one (aka, season one) took place earlier this year in April. However, I was just able to grace the last event, season two, which just took place last month. My review in one word? ASTOUNDING!
So, as I have graced many fashion events in my day as well as major fashion weeks in Milan, Italy, I honestly was not expecting too much (how could a first time fashion week be THAT great)? But after attending the event all four days, which took place from October 15 -18th, I must say I was quite blown away and it was much more organized, concise and sophisticated than I could have imagined.
So just to give you the rundown of the event, it looked a bit like this:
Runway Shows: 26 local designers showcased their lines, all within the Middle East region (UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, etc.)
D3 Fashion Talks: these fashion talks were a series of panel discussions and presentations sponsored by the Dubai Design District and led by global experts, which involved different topics within the fashion sector.
The Garden: a type of “pop-up” shop where regional (Middle East) accessory designers were able to sell their collections, and we (the guests/attendees) could go shopping!!!
Fashion Gallery: here signature pieces from each designer were displayed and showcased.
Fashion Avenue: this beautiful area was a large concourse of “fashion cafes”, VIP lounges, a fashion bookstore, other various engagement activities and some days, even live music.
Social Events: these events included, “Glam Hours” with high tea parties, brunches and ritzy after partied that went well into the morning dawn.
The four days I attended the event I was so (happily) busy going from one fashion show to the next, one fashion talk to the next, engaging in social events, meeting a whole array of interesting people and making some great connections…and I also did some shopping! (In the Garden). All in all, I can say the event was HIGHLY organized, there were some very prestigious people speaking at the fashion panels, and some of the fashion designers completely left me with my jaw dropping to the floor…I never realized the true creative talent that is in this region! So as in closing, I would say the highlights of the event were:
- Charbel Zoe and Ezra – by far the most amazing designers I saw! Complete haute couture and absolutely AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING!!! They will be my future haute couture gown designers in the future!
- Paul Tierney (London College of Fashion & Freelance Journalist), Simon Collins (Dean of Parsons School of Fashion), Danish Farhan (CEO of XISCHE & CO), and Bong Guerrero (Founder and CEO of Fashion Forward and BRAG) – these four speakers to me, were by far the most inspirational! After their panel discussions you were just floating on cloud nine!!! Just amazing business men and knew there “stuff” pertaining to the fashion world.
So for those of you out there who have not been to Fashion Forward yet and you are working within or have interests in the fashion industry in this region, you must NOT miss Fashion Forward next season! When the time comes, you must register for the event and get an invitation. (http://fashionforward.ae/). If you are press then you can obtain a press pass, which will give you more accessibility at the event, otherwise you can just sign-up as a guest, in which you can still obtain a four-day pass and partake in a number of the events.
So my lovely Fahsetters…until next season, I hope to see you all there! ; )