Fashion Forward Dubai Announces Designers For Eighth Season

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And finally it’s Fashion Forward time again! And we can hardly wait for the catwalks to begin.

Entering its eighth season, Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD), the definitive regional fashion platform, has announced its line-up of the best couture, ready-to-wear and accessories labels based in the region, or of Middle East origin, who will show Spring/Summer ’17 collections from October 20th – 23rd 2016.

Endorsed by the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC), FFWD prepares to host the most diverse portfolio of brands to date at the bespoke location hai d3 in Dubai Design District (d3). The latest installment of the twice-annual event will show a total of 31 designers, with 5 labels making their FFWD debut this season.

Bong Guerrero, CEO and co-founder of FFWD said, “Each season we look forward to welcoming returning brands to FFWD while debuting new designers that we have sourced and selected from across the region. Season Eight sees the exciting introduction of designers from beyond the region, a tactical addition by FFWD to extend the breadth of the event while maintaining its authenticity to support emerging talent.”

Nez Gebreel, CEO, Dubai Design and Fashion Council said, “We are pleased to extend our support to Fashion Forward. Now in its eighth season, Fashion Forward has established itself as an important platform to celebrate creativity and fashion, and to showcase the work of our designers from the region. The event continues to gain momentum each season and we look forward to witnessing the breadth of talent on display during this edition.’’



The designers showing at FFWD Season 8 are:

AMATO BY FURNE ONE –  Known for his natural ability to craft extravagant and artistic designs, Dubai-based Furne One has rapidly worked his way up the fashion ladder, and is celebrated both regionally and internationally for his impressive couture creations. From ethereal bridal wear to playful prêt-a-porter, Amato collections are all about celebrating the real woman – expressive, opinionated, and quirky, with soaring self-respect and the confidence to revel in the power of her femininity.



AMIRA HAROON – Having shown at FFWD Seasons One, Two and Six, Amira Haroon returns this October. Of Pakistani origins, but having grown up in the Middle East, Haroon launched her brand in 2010. She designs for a woman who has a Middle Eastern soul with a trans-regional outlook and attitude, a confident and globally travelled woman.

ARWA AL BANAWILike her eponymous label, Saudi-born designer Arwa Al Banawi is an eclectic mix of contrasts. While raised in Jeddah, Banawi also spent a large part of her childhood in Switzerland. Her travels abroad instilled a deep love of and appreciation for fashion. After a career in banking and taking up courses at the London College of Fashion in Dubai, she launched her namesake womenswear brand in 2015.


Arwa Al Banawi features expertly-tailored, androgynous suits and separates in unexpected prints and hues. Designed for the “suitable woman”, her aesthetic is both classically cool and undoubtedly feminine – earning her a recognition from and being a finalist at Jeddah Vogue Fashion Experience.



BEDOUIN – Designed and developed by Central Saint Martins’ graduate Andraya Farrag, BEDOUIN is a contemporary womenswear label that aspires to create flattering, easy-to-wear collections with a confident, spontaneous style. Sleek designs with a combination of relaxed silhouettes and feminine materials; simplicity is key in every collection.

BOUGUESSA – Faiza Bouguessa is a French-Algerian born fashion designer and is the founder of Dubai based label, Bouguessa. Taking inspiration from art, architecture and global culture Bougessa merges modern and modest fashion for the forward-thinking women of our era. Her signature designs lie in highly modern silhouettes, bold lines, geometric precision, sharp edges and great attention to detail.



BY AMAL AL RAISIMaking her FFWD debut, by Amal Al Raisi presents a ready-to-wear collection with a touch of couture that pays tribute to strong women. Amal began designing traditional Omani dresses before entering into creating beautiful, modern abayas and jalabiyas.

DIMA AYAD Dubai-based label by Lebanese designer Ayad, returns to the FFWD runways this October 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.

EZRA – A formidable influence in the region, Ezra creates modern and classic sensibility with a twist. Drawing attention to the female silhouette with the perfect fusion of minimalism and opulence, his approach to essential lines and shapes lies in masterful cutting and tailoring with refined embroideries and embellishments.

HÂSHÉ – UAE raised Persian Ava is fueled by the Middle Eastern culture, architecture, art and environment that inspires Hâshé’s custom-made clutch, RTW and hat collections. Each handmade clutch possesses its own unique geometric shape and design with stones, studs and vintage brooches. Hâshé’s ready-to-wear line exudes old-world elegance with a modern spin.

HOUSE OF NOMADHaving made their FFWD debut at Season Five, HOUSE OF NOMAD returns to the runways this October. The nomad – a wanderer who travels from place to place in perpetual motion – is the inspiration behind Dubai’s most beloved homegrown label, House of Nomad.


Founded in 2014 by longtime friends Ahmed El Sayed and Saleh Al Banna, House of Nomad seeks to outfit the ever-moving style set. Staples of the label include bomber jackets, cropped tops and jumpers updated with quirky details and innovative fabrics – a nod to their love of the sports-luxe aesthetic.



HUSSEIN BAZAZALebanese designer Hussein Bazaza first showed at FFWD Season One as part of The Starch Foundation, and in April 2015 he showed his first solo collection at Season Five. The brand is based on a merge of classic and modern fashion; feminine but edgy. Bazaza’s ready-to-wear line is a combination of wearable pieces and couture details with lace collage and, geometric cuts, story-telling prints and intricate details.



HZ BY HISSA ZAINAL – The young brand out of Doha presents ready-to-wear that marries a dramatic avant-garde with sensibility with timeless simplicity. Created by Qatari designer Hissa Zainal, the label has received much acclaim and will be making its FFWD debut this October.

KAGE – Dubai-based label KAGE designed by Basma Abu Ghazaleh, launched in 2009 and offers ready-to wear womenswear. Each collection brings a modern feel while staying loyal to the inherent daring nature of the KAGE girl: self-loving and unobstructed, she lives a life without boundaries, where style is what she chooses to express with the freedom of individuality.

KRISTINA FIDELSKAYA – A Dubai-based label spearheading by Kristina Fidelskaya who mixes vintage styles with her current cultural fascinations. The eponymous label effortlessly creates elegant and timeless clothes that speak to every woman. As an entrepreneur, a mother and a trendsetter, her collections symbolize the power and independence of the modern woman while maintaining the traditionally refined femininity and class.



LAMA JOUNI – Launched in 2013, the eponymous label of the Paris-based Lebanese designer produces high-end ready-to-wear with its own unique style and bold designs. Her pieces have discernible and inspiring cultural referents, in outlines or details, and are made to be worn by independent and passionate women.

MADIYAH AL SHARQIReturning for her fifth season at FFWD, Emirati designer Sheikha Madiyah Al Sharqi offers graceful eveningwear with a contemporary edge and opulent designs, evolving the traditional vision of elegance. Daughter of the Ruler of Fujairah, UAE, HH Sheikha Hamad bin Mohammed, Sheikha Madiyah Al Sharqi grew up immersed in the world of high fashion. After graduating from French fashion university, Esmod in Dubai, she launched her eponymous ready-to-wear label to critical praise. A finalist for the coveted Woolmark Prize in 2013, Al Sharqi has since earned a number of other awards including being named a “Vogue Talent” by Vogue Italia. Her intricate tailoring and ultra-feminine fabrics have also made her a favorite of supermodels Alessandra Ambrosio and Karolina Kurkova.


MARAM, meaning aspiration in old Arabic is a high-end womens-wear label born out of an obsession for old-world craftmanship and story telling. The brand was founded in September 2014 by Egyptian designer Maram Aboul Enein after training in Paris and moving to Montreal to open her atelier.

MIRA HAYEK – After interning at the ateliers of Elie Saab in Beirut and Erdem in London, Beirut-based designer Mira Hayek was selected by the Starch Foundation in Beirut to launch her first ready to wear collection in 2011. The brand is dedicated to dynamic women with an effortless sense of style. They seek contemporary pieces with a fun and sporty edge that can be worn day and night, fitting perfectly in their bustling urban lifestyle.



MRS. KEEPA – Egyptian-French designer Mariam Yehia takes inspiration from her Middle Eastern roots playing on patterns, fabric and colours merges with European elegance and sensibility.  The label features flattering silhouettes, feminine and vintage inspired pieces. This is Mrs. Keepa’s first showing at FFWD.

ORKALIA – The ready-to-wear brand based in Dubai, presents lifeless elegance with a modern twist designed by American-born designer Orchid Ganji. ORKALIA’s aesthetic combines traditional techniques with contemporary applications, and prides itself with being at the forefront of neo-couture.

SAID MAHROUFMoroccan-born, Said Mahrouf studied fashion design both in Holland and New York. He presented his first prêt-à-porter collection in 1999 to international acclaim; and in 2000, he started his own performance company in Amsterdam. Mahrouf’s love of costume design, artistry and partiality to feminine elegance defines his collections. Mahrouf will show for the fifth time at FFWD this October.

SALTA – Showing for a second season at FFWD, Kazakhstani designer Saltanat Baimukhamedova founded her label SALTA in 2008. In 2016 the label relocated to Dubai, UAE, furthering Saltanat’s aim to become a Middle Eastern designer with global vision. The label offers freedom and comfort yet with a touch of modern ethnic creativity – a contemporary yet affordable aesthetic with a cosmopolitan touch and flawless shapes and lines produced for successful, creative and feminine woman.



SOTRA – Jeddah-based label Sotra makes its return to FFWD for a second season. Designed by Saudi designer Mariam bint Mahfooz, the brand creates collections that focus on juxtaposing modern cuts with playful feminine details; to enliven urban wardrobes with colour and texture. Stylish and comfortable, Sotra reflects the confidence and versatility of its customers.



STARCH FOUNDATIONUnder the mentorship of Rabih Kayrouz, the Starch Foundation has presented their chosen designers at each edition of FFWD to great acclaim. The three designers this season are:

SALIM AZZAMA Lebanese illustrator and designer, Azzam is inspired by enacting social change through collaborating with communities. He works with local craftswomen who embroider his designs and illustrations onto shirts and dresses. Through their work, these women will tell their own stories with their own needles and threads, echoing the village’s voice in the fashion world.

/Pər’vərs/Perverse ConceptLebanese designer Lobnan Mahfouz graduated from ESMOD in 2011 and following several internships around the world, launched /Pər’vərs/ in 2015. It is a unisex and conceptual brand that provides distinctive pieces targeting venturous individuals around the globe inspired by the melting pot of genders and ethnic backgrounds.

Starch alumni, TIMI HAYEK returns to FFWD this season with her dreamy ready-to-wear line and stunning prints. In 2010 she won the Liberty Art Fabrics Award, where her winning print design was sold at the renowned British department store, Liberty & Co.

TAIRt a i r was created in 2013 in Dubai by Aliya Tair who finds an ultimate inspiration in far eastern aesthetics and a uniqueness of modern time – these tendencies emerge through geometric silhouettes and a minimal mood. The brand explores the relationship between the masculine and the feminine and has led the designer to experiment with classic menswear textiles. Tair will show its menswear line for the first time at FFWD this October.

VAROIN MARWAH – Dubai-based fashion designer of Indian origin will present his signature style of imperial inspired menswear for the first time this season. Marwah draws upon his Indian roots to create clean lines, contemporary silhouettes and attention to detail.

ZAID FAROUKI –Jordanian, Dubai-based designer Zaid Farouki’s fashion house attempts to blur the lines between fashion and art with its detailed womenswear collections. Each piece is handmade and abides by couture techniques, embroidery, and finishing. What’s more all prints are hand painted onto the fabric by Farouki himself; transforming the wearer into a walking piece of art.

ZAREENA – Having previously showcased her elegant couture collections at FFWD, Zareena returns with timeless, one-of-a-kind pieces. Known for her use of luxurious fabrics and rich embroidery, Zareena has established her trademark needlework and exquisite adornments.

ZENA PRESLEY – Syrian-born, Dubai-based designer Zena’s affection for the acceptance of diversity within culture is paramount throughout her ready-to-wear womenswear collection. By collaborating with international artists whom commission patterns and prints, her signature style has been established.

Also, fashion lovers will have a unique opportunity to view a range of original accessories from regional designers at the 8th season of FFWD.  Fourteen designers will showcase a curated selection of their pieces include Alessa Jewelry, Amal Haliq, Bana Sunglasses, Belquis Bags, Inaaya, Madiso, Myriam SOS, Narinee, Nathalie Trad, Ns by Noof, Rula Galayini, Sahag, Vanina, and Vinita Michael.




See more pictures in the Gallery above.


All materials: Fashion Forward Dubai


Karin Bizjak Vercellotti

The Cute Queen (Editor in Chief)

Little Cutie full of energy and good will. New challenges, new knowledge, inspirations, creations, fell of beauty and greatness, is what guides me in life. I love to be with people that inspire me and flow with my energy. With them I am building my dreamlife, my Cute Life. Be Cute

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