There's no second-guessing that fashion loves its awards. Month in, month out, a different prize is announced, leaving one very happy designer. However, the problem with fashion's many grants and scholarships - no matter how useful they may be to one particular group - is that they only benefit that group, unintentionally feeding into the Eurocentric narrative of Western fashion. This is where Fashion Trust Arabia's six awards offer something different, nurturing design talent in the Middle East and North Africa, areas frequently excluded from the West's countless grants.
Each year, the FTA announces a 'Guest Country' category that will add a separate sixth prize to its roster of awards. Last year, luxury label A NEW CROSS by Columbian designer Agustin Nicolas Rivero was was offered this award in the ceremony's first physical event since the pandemic. Making up this year's Guest Country is Turkey - with designers Şansım Adalı, Burç Akyol, Ceylin Türkan Bilge and Bünyamin Aydın all up for the prize.
Founded in 2018 by Tania Fares, the six Fashion Trust Arabia recipients are offered not only exclusive mentorship but also financial support for their work in the form of a grant of up to $200,000 that will be gifted to each winner. They can also expect their collections to be stocked with MatchesFashion as winners will receive a one-year partnership with the luxury retailer, which includes mentorship.
'This year, we've received over 1,000 applications from incredible talent across the MENA region. Since we launched FTA in 2018, our community has been growing immensely, and it's incredibly rewarding for us to witness the journey of many Arab designers who have taken their brands to the next level', Fares commented in a statement.
In addition to the Guest Country Award, other awards up for grabs fall into categories that praise eveningwear, ready-to-wear, jewellery and accessories designers. There is also a Franca Sozzani Debut Talent Award which offers a grant of $25,000 to help jumpstart the recipient's business alongside mentorship. Choosing to narrow down the 24 finalists to find just six winners, this year's FTA will feature talents like Alexander Fury, Bryan Boy, Erdem Moragliou, Nina Garcia, Olivier Theyskens and Pierre M'Pele on its advisory board.
Explore the 24 finalists below:
Ready-to-Wear Award: Renwa Yassine (Lebanon), Rym Beydoun (Lebanon), Siham and Sarah Albinali (Saudi Arabia) and Yousra Elsadig (Sudan).
Eveningwear Award: Amna Alsalem (Kuwait), Artsi Ifrach (Morocco), Moulham Obid (Syria) and Yasmin Mansour (Qatar).
Jewellery Award: Alexandra Hakim (Lebanon), Dalila Barkache (Morocco), Fatma Mostafa (Egypt) and Youssra Nichane (Morocco).
Accessories Award: Duha Bukadi (Tunis), Eilaf Osman (Sudan), Karen Gaballa (Egypt) and Leila Roukni (Morocco).
Franca Sozzani Debut Talent Award: Claudia Khachan (Lebanon), Kazna Asker (Yemen), Mohammed El Marnissi (Morocco) and Rayana Boulila (Algeria).
The finalists will present their work to the FTA Jury in Doha on 26 October, 2022. The six winners will be announced during the evening's FTA 2022 Awards ceremony.