The Fashion Trust Arabia have announced the finalists for this year's awards. The initiative focuses on nurturing design talent in the Middle East and North Africa, areas frequently excluded from the Eurocentric narrative of Western fashion. Following from 2020's award ceremony which took place digitally, this year the FTA are unveiling a new prize, having invited Colombia to participate as a guest country.
Founded in 2018 by Tania Fares, Fashion Trust Arabia offers mentorship and financial support to five (this year six) winners, who each receive a grant of up to $200,000. The design talents can also expect to stock their collections with MatchesFashion; winners receive a one-year partnership with the luxury retailer, which includes mentorship. Devoted to supporting fashion talent, in 2020 FTA created a COVID-19 crisis fund. For this year's awards they have also invited Colombia to participate. Introducing a sixth award, the Unique Edition Award, the inclusion of a guest country helps to grow the vital fashion network FTA are weaving.
The Fashion Trust Arabia's Advisory Board have selected a shortlist of Colombian designers, who will be judged alongside the other finalists by a jury, the members of which are yet to be announced. The advisory board includes Gabriela Hearst, Alexander Fury, Ib Kamara, Hamish Bowles and Alastair McKimm. The shortlist for Colombia includes the brands Alado by Alejandro González and Andrés Restrepo; ANEW CROSS by AGUSTIN RIVERO and Laura Laurens and Priah by Juanita Garcia. Taking place in a unique physical meets digital format, the 24 finalists are set to meet up in Doha in March, where the six winners will be announced.
Explore the 24 finalists below:
Ready-to-Wear Award: Cynthia Merhej (Lebanon), Lama Jouni (Lebanon), Maram Aboul Enein (Egypt), and Zaid A as (Iraq).
Eveningwear Award: Elie Mizrahi (Lebanon), Harith Hashim (Iraq), Laith Maalouf (Jordan) and Mohamed Benchellal (Morocco)
Jewellery Award: Alia Bin Omair (UAE), Azza Skhiri Bouchamaoui (Tunisia), Julien Riad Sahyoun (Lebanon), Tania & Dima Nawbar (Lebanon)
Accessories Award: Billal Fellah (Algeria), Dania Shinkar (Saudi Arabia), Haya Al AbdulKareem (Kuwait), and Zakaria Bendriouich (Morocco).
Franca Sozzani Debut Talent Award: AbdelGader El Tayeb Al Sadig (Sudan), Malik Thomas Jalil Kydd (Iraq), Mina Tahi by Mintallah Tahir (Egypt) and Roudha by Roudha Ahmed Almazroei (Qatar)