Dec 31
Arab Fashion Week 2016: Brighter and better

After eight years designing abayas, Lamya Abedin is changing things up. The Emirati designer debuted her first full collection of Western wear with her label Queen of Spades at Arab Fashion Week,held from March 16 to 19 at The St Regis Dubai.

“I’ve done capsule collections and custom orders for private clients, but this will be my first full collection,” she says.

Called True Love, Abedin’s show will be the grand finale at the four-day event, which will see 15 other designers from around the world showcase their latest collections via catwalk shows. Other events include seminars and talks by experts as well as an awards gala dinner and charity event where designers will be honoured with The Fashion Trophy.

Abedin said she signed up for the event because of the potential exposure.

“I’ve always wanted to take my creations abroad and this is the right platform for me to take it to the next step,” she says. “This is really a step forward for me.”

The first Arab Fashion Week was held last year in Dubai. Organised by the Arab Fashion Council, which claims to represent 22 Arab countries, with an aim to promote Arab fashion designers in the international fashion market, the council has Mario Boselli, the former president of the Italian Fashion Chamber, as its honorary president of the council.

New elements introduced this year include a kids’ fashion show on March 16.

The focus of this year’s event will be to promote art through fashion, says Ilham Abbas, the event’s chief strategy officer.

“We’re also focusing on climate change and the environment by encouraging eco-friendly creativity. At this year’s event, we will also have our carbon footprint calculated by an agency,” she says. “2016 is looking brighter and better for Arab Fashion Week.”

The focus is also on regional designers, she says.

Included in this year’s roster are Emirati designer Hamda Al Fahim, Qatar’s Alanoud Al Attiya and Saudi Arabia’s Turk Jadallah.

“This is my way of taking my creations abroad and to take the name of my country internationally,” says Abedin. “After all the work that I have been putting in all these years, it will be nice to see new doors open up.”

Along with Abedin, here are five designers taking part at the second Arab Fashion Week:


Label: Tiiya

Designer: Alanoud Al Attiya

Established: 2010

Based in: Qatar

Al Attiya’s label is derived from her surname Al Attiya. This shaikha’s work is known for use of opulent fabrics, sculptural shapes and ornate beading.

At Arab Fashion Week:

“I’ll be showing my autumn-winter 2016 collection featuring strong Asian motifs, mainly Chinese and Japanese. The fabrics I’ll be using are lace and tulle, taffeta and brocades. The pieces made with brocades I’m using are made from pristinely conserved authentic vintage and antique Japanese Obis, some over 100 years old. We’ve incorporated a lot of hand beading and embroidery and embellished a lot of our collection with our ornately beaded “Tiiya flowers”. Although this season’s silhouettes are more fitted, my signature Tiiya construction remains the focal point of my structure.”


Label: Hamda Al Fahim Design Studio

Designer: Hamda Al Fahim

Established: 2012

Based in: Abu Dhabi

Al Fahim says her designs come from “a magical place where everything glitters and sparkles”.

At Arab Fashion Week:

“I will be bringing our autumn-winter 2016 collection, inspired by the grace and beauty of fairies, magical creatures who are known to be graceful and delicate, who possess magical powers. The silhouette is inspired by the idea of a modern fairy, wearing magical pieces that enhance her elegance and grace. The colour palette was drawn from nature… how colours of the sky blend into one another, resulting in a subtle transition of colours — such as the sunset or a rainbow.”


Label: Sylvio

Designer: Sylvio Roubertto Kovacic

Established: 2008

Based in: New York City

Kovacic says he is 100 per cent involved in the designing, draping, drafting and sewing of his collection. As in, he does it all himself.

At Arab Fashion Week:

“I’m showcasing my new Maestro Collection where every piece was 100 per cent created by me.”


Label: Turk Jadallah by Ot Kutyr Fashion House

Designer: Turk Jadallah

Established: 2011

Based in: Saudi Arabia

The Ot Kutyr Fashion House speciliases in one-of-a-kind couturestyle dresses. It also supports regional designers by helping them produce their collections through collaborations.

At Arab Fashion Week:

“We are bringing three of Saudi designer and London College of Fashion graduate Turk Jadallah’s recent collections that he created especially for OT Kutyr Fashion House.”



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