Dubai: Fashion Forward, the Middle East's definitive fashion platform, ushers in its second season with 85% returning talentsfrom Season One alongside some of the region's brightest designers making their catwalk debuts. With four full days of catwalk presentation, talks, educational sessions and networking events, Fashion Forward is set to be the must-visit destination for Eid Al-Adha among the region's fashion buyers, commentators, collectors and influencers.
Fashion Forward Season Two, taking place from 15th-18th October, will welcome over 18designers from across the region, showing couture pieces as well as ready-to-wear. As a new addition for Season Two, more than 40 accessories designers have been hand-picked to show their collections at The Garden, giving guests and industry professionals the chance to purchase their own piece of original Middle Eastern fashion.
Throughout the four day event, guests will be able to see the latest creations from across the Middle East as the designers descend on Dubai from Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi, Qatar and the wider UAE.
"To have significantly more than three-quarters of the designers from Fashion Forward's inaugural event return for Season Two demonstrates the viability and demand for this platform in the region," said Bong Guerrero, Founder and CEO of Fashion Forward (FFWD). "It is a testament to Fashion Forward's vision to be a sustainable, bi-annual event which will nurture and grow the long-term prospects for these regional designers, offering a platform for them to consistently showcase theirdesigns to a regional and increasingly international audience."
"We are also excited to introduce a number of exciting industry newcomers from the Gulf, bringing even further diversity to the already eclectic portfolio. FFWD is an intrinsically regional platform, and the recent headlines about the need for fashion and design incubation in the GCC underscore our commitment to its growth," added Guerrero.
Among the new design talents showing at Fashion ForwardSeason Two:
Aziz Humaid - The young Saudi designer uses minimalistic and monochromatic design with strong silhouettes and asymmetrical lines. The womenswear label aims to fight against the decadently superficial, and revolutionise fashion in the Kingdom.
Endemage – Omani sisters, Nadia and Lubna created Endemage, meaning "the merging of two" in 2010.The brand incorporates ultra-feminine dresses, billowy evening gowns and Arabic-infused styles, drawing inspiration from traditional Omani designs.www.endemage.com
GISELLAblu- British/Australian SachaPlumbridge and British born Nana Agyemanform Dubai based label GISELLAblu - creating uniqueembellished evening dressesmade from Italian silk and punctuated with sequins and crystals. www.gisellablu.com
House of Fatam – The House of Fatam or HOFwas created by three Emirati sisters based between Dubai and Abu Dhabi: Lamya, Shaimaand Fatma Gargash. The brand shows colourful and modern takes on classic Arab garments. www.houseoffatam.com
Madiyah Al Sharqi – SheikhaMadiyah Al Sharqi is the daughter of the Ruler of Fujairah, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi. Al Sharqi offers effortless eveningwear with an updated edge, evolving the traditional vision of elegance.www.madiyahalsharqi.com
Reem Al Kanhal- The young Saudi designer creates distinctive ready to wear pieces with an eclectic and androgynous feel. Reem's passion for fashion is clear through her unique designs, characterised by her developed prints and row cuts.www.rk-designs.com/en/
Complementing these new shows, and building on their phenomenal success from Season One are these 12celebrated designers, with more to be announced in the coming weeks:
Amato – Since 2002, Dubai-based Furne One has been creating innovative pieces of couture, loved by his international clientele and celebrities alike. In keeping with couture traditions, Amato textures its own fabrics, fashioning lavish materials adorned with rare embellishment techniques. www.amatohautecouture.com
Amira Haroon - Of Pakistani origin, but raised in the Middle East, Amira set up her label in 2009, her piecesemployluxe fabrics, laces and detailed hand- embellishments utilising fine and age-old craftsmanship from the region. The result is a part vintage and part luxe-bohemian silhouette. www.amiraharoon.com
DimaAyad- DimaAyadlaunched her unique brand of evening wear in 2010.The Lebanese designerstrives to provide women with 'fashion that makes you feel good' – stylish, sophisticated and stunning dresses with a 'wear-and-go' philosophy that accentuate and celebrate their bodies, no matter what shape or size.www.dimaayad.com
Dina Jsr- Lebanese by origin, Dina Jsr was raised in Saudi Arabia. Her designs include cocktail and evening dresses celebrating grace and style and Dina Jsr's collections tend to be inspired by fine lines and geometric architecture. www.dinajsr.com
The Emperor 1688- Offering stand-out luxury menswear, The Emperor 1688 is the concept of three Iranian brothers who set up the label in 2007. Their collections combine exquisite tailoring, with regal prints and classic cuts made of the finest European fabrics. www.theemperor1688.com
Essa- Of Indian origin, but of Arab sensibilities, Essa's designs consistently try to weave together the traditional and the modern by relying on materials and prints that have iconic cuts and are universally flattering, creating extraordinary, colourful and contemporary ready to wear pieces.
Ezra- For over a decade, Dubai-based, Filipino designer Ezra has been producing exquisitely- made, extravagant couture, establishing his brand as synonymous to elegance and beauty. www.ezrafashiondesign.com
Kage- Childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma AbuGhazalehcreated their label in 2009, offeringplayful and chic contemporary womenswear. Kage mixes Lace, velvet, furs, luxurious tweeds and metallic embellishments in their fun, stylish ready to wear pieces.www.bykage.com
Starch- Three Lebanese designers Hussein Bazaza, Bashar Assaf, and Lara Khoury present their collections under RabihKayrouz's mentorship.
Before studying fashion design in Esmod, Hussein Bazaza experimented in many artistic fields including illustration, photography and artistic direction.
Bashar Assaf is a Lebanese fashion designer currently based in Beirut. The signature behind his label is its ability to challenge the female body with brave geometry complimented with sensibility to material and craftsmanship.
Lara Khoury, launched her eponymous label Lara in 2010, she makes her Fashion Forward debut this October. http://www.starchfoundation.org/
Toujouri- Doha-based designer Lama El-Moatassem launched Toujouri in 2009. In each collection translate effortlessly for any glamorous occasion whether evening, cocktail or red carpet. Draping and structure are signature designs for Toujouri evening wear and contrast the billowing fun of kaftans.www.toujouri.com
Zayan The Label- Lebanese designer Zayan Ghandour's girly, contemporary luxury ready-to-wear designs use premium silks and crochet knit fabrics, in vivid colours and innovative billowing silhouettes. www.zayan.com
In addition to the catwalk presentations, guests at Fashion Forward Season Two will be treated to The Garden – a carefully curated selection of over 40 accessory designers who will display an eclectic mix of bags, accessories, home ware and jewellery which will all be available for purchase. The Fashion Forward team hand-picked these designers from across Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi, the UAE and with some even making the journey from the United States.