Article in brief: the author discusses Dubai’s own fashion week through Fashion Forward.
One aspect of Fashion Forward (FFWD) for me is the hot rush I used to get from hopping off the car and frantically walking inside the hall of the convention center at Minaa’ Al-Salam, in Madinat Jumeirah, to attend a show or a talk in the nick of time. Punctuality after all is needed in such situations; the alternative is arriving, as the show is about to start, and finding no seats whatsoever.
Fashion Forward is often considered to be a Middle Eastern Fashion Week, rounding up the region’s top designers such as Toujouri or Rami Kadi to showcase their collections. Having wrapped up its fifth season, Fashion Forward has generated wide international acclaim and it looks like it’s going full force with growing; with its drive to position itself internationally as a prestigious platform for fashion, a lot can be said about Fashion Forward at this point of time.
Fashion Forward was founded by Bong Guerrero, and launched its first season in 2012. What differentiated Fashion Forward from the rest of its international peers are the activities taking place whilst people waited for the shows. For instance, you have The Garden, where accessories, jewelry, and bag designers can showcase their products to show-goers. Often The Garden is suitable for designers who are just starting out, like New York-based Nathalie Trad. Her structural and defining clutches were precisely laid out in her space, as I remember when passing by in Fashion Forward’s third season.
Another central aspect of Fashion Forward are the fashion talks, which is another attraction for industry insiders or even a non-fashion related audience. Usually consisting of panels discussing fashion-related topics such as the “How to get your brand into stores: A Retailer’s Perspective” talk or the “Fashion and Film: the cross-pollination between” talk, they happen to be quite informative and interesting. On the other hand, interviews also take place within the fashion talks, such as interviews with American designer Ben Malka of Halston Heritage and Kuwaiti blogger Ascia Al-Faraj, not to mention designer Nanette Lepore, who also gave a walk-through of her label’s history.
Despite its flaws, one can ultimately note how far Fashion Forward has come in terms of not only elevated designer prospects, but also organization and commitment. It’s no wonder that well-known figures in the industry such as Fern Malice and Olivier Rousteing have paid a visit to the bi-annual event in past seasons.
Already making headlines internationally at Vogue Magazine and locally at The National and other media outlets, it is with no doubt that next October will see Fashion Forward welcoming more international industry personnel while also receiving resident visitors. What I personally admire about the people working to make Fashion Forward happen is their devotion to the designers. It is after all very important that regional designers get all the assistance required with growing their brands, and placing their trust with the team behind Fashion Forward; it just comes as a natural instinct.
Reem is a fashion fanatic. She used her talents of critiquing to start a blog called “We Voice Fashion” along with a partner that shares her views on the world of fashion and design. Through her column, she likes to explore fashion in a philosophical way at times.
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