Categorized | Fashion

FFWD Pushes Forward The Regional Fashion Industry

498Fashion Forward (FFWD), the definitive fashion platform in the Middle East, continues its commitment to driving the region’s fashion industry to a global audience with its Fourth Season this October 4th-6th. FFWD is the only fashion platform to solely champion Middle Eastern design talent, and as it enters its fourth edition, the movement has become a catalyst in the growing success and international visibility of the regional industry.

Commenting on the platform’s growth Bong Guerrero, Founder and CEO of Fashion Forward said: “The considerable traction we have made since our inception little over a year and a half ago has been phenomenal. It validates the vision we had and the need we identified for a unifying platform upon which to showcase the design talent of this region. Being able to offer visibility to these designers not only to their peers in the local and regional fashion communities, but also to an international audience, means we are succeeding in our mission to create a regional fashion eco-system which resonates globally.”

For Season Four, FFWD has partnered with WGSN and Fashion GPS to further engage the global fashion community. All FFWD catwalk show imagery will be displayed on the WGSN portal, facilitating international trend reporting from the Middle East. The designers’ runway images will also be uploaded to Fashion GPS’ exclusive industry-only community, GPS Radar.

On the partnership with FFWD Eddie Mullon, Founder & CEO of Fashion GPS said: “Fashion GPS was founded with the aim to connect the global fashion industry through technology. We are excited to bring the catwalks from FFWD to our international network of editors, buyers, stylists and beyond. Via GPS Radar designers from Dubai will have exposure to over 20,000 of fashion’s elite worldwide.”

FFWD’s commitment to fashion and the development of regional talent has been praised by Dubai Design District (d3), a new creative community dedicated to fostering the growth of the Emirate’s design, fashion, art and luxury industry.

Commenting, Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO of TECOM Investments, the developers and operators of d3, said: “FFWD’s dedication to nurturing regional talent mirrors d3’s ambition to grow designers from this region into international brands. Our main participation in FFWD is support of the ongoing academic and developmental programmes that run throughout the event, these platforms are particularly important in helping to develop regional talent as new designers are able to gain true insight into the industry first-hand from some of the world’s leading fashion and design names. By inspiring these designers to flourish through events such as FFWD and building the infrastructure they need at d3, we will enable the growth of the industry and assist in the vision of the diversification of Dubai’s knowledge economy. FFWD has become an important contributor to the region’s fashion community and I am delighted that once again, d3 will be a strategic partner.”

Taking place at The Madinat Jumeirah from October 4th-6th, FFWD is also proud to once again be part of the official “Eid In Dubai” celebrations.

Suhaila Gobash, Events Director at Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE), an Agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said: “DFRE have always been an avid supporter of high calibre fashion events in Dubai, many of which were embraced by its main international festivals, such as Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises and Eid in Dubai. FFWD has evolved to be one of the main fashion events on the regional calendar, and it will surely be a main attraction for “Eid in Dubai” local and regional visitors. Our support for this benchmarking event comes in line with our commitment to position Dubai as a fashion hub in the region, and we look forward for another successful edition this year.”

Since its first season in April 2013, FFWD has welcomed over 45,000 members of the local, regional and international fashion community to Dubai, and has showcased over 35 of the finest couture and ready-to-wear design talent who are either based in the region or of Middle Eastern origin. Over 70 regional designers have also showcased in the accessories hub, The Garden.

The ‘d3 Fashion Talks’ has welcomed a host of international fashion experts such as Steven Kolb, the CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Fern Mallis, the Creator of New York Fashion Week and international designers such as Rabih Kayrouz, Nanette Lepore, Ennio Capasa and Reem Acra. The expertise imparted by such guests has not only advised and informed FFWD on its growth, but has also created a firmer bridge between Dubai and the international fashion hubs of London, New York, Paris and Milan.

The first three seasons of FFWD have seen considerable success for participating designers both regionally and internationally.

In April 2014, FFWD was selected as the official nominating body for the International Woolmark Prize (IWP) for the UAE. Following their nomination from FFWD, Dubai based Iranian-British designers The Emperor 1688 won the menswear regional final of the Woolmark Prize for the Middle East and India. They will now go on to showcase in the international finals at London Collections: Men in January 2015.

The regional IWP womenswear winner Rayya Morcos will also showcase her collection with her brand Bird On A Wire on the FFWD runway this October.

Several designers have attracted the interest of international retailers and celebrities following their presentations at FFWD.

April 2013 saw Paloma Faith wearing a Michael Cinco dress straight from the FFWD runway to the 2013 Met Gala. Colbie Caillat wore a gown from Ezra’s Season One collection to the 2014 Grammy Awards in January of this year. Ellie Goulding wore Amato by Furne One at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) and this year’s VMAs saw Jennifer Lopez champion Middle Eastern design wearing FFWD designer Charbel Zoe.

Considerable retailing orders have been made following FFWD shows for designers including: Zayan who secured orders with Harvey Nichols in Riyadh, Dima Ayad who sold to House of Fraser, accessories designer Nathalie Trad who launched her collection at FFWD and was subsequently picked up by Harvey Nichols, Amira Haroon had her largest ever order from Harrods following her FFWD show and Essa has sold to Dadu Luxe.

Through FFWD’s partnership with the crowdinvesting site Eureeca.com, accessories designer Roula Ghalayini was able to secure significant funding for her brand Poupée Couture which has grown her company exponentially.

FFWD partnerships with international media outlets have further bolstered global visibility: all catwalk imagery is shot, edited and hosted by Getty Images; each show is live-streamed on Style.com/Arabia, the first Condé Nast fashion and beauty publication in the Middle East, and Fashion TV broadcast highlights of the event to their international audience which exceeds 30 million.

“Looking forward to Season Four and beyond, FFWD will be more closely aligned with the objectives of the newly appointed Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC),” said Guerrero. “FFWD will continue to focus on consistency and quality to determine who the strongest and most viable regional designers are, and to further develop a cadence, professionalism and rigor within the region’s fashion sector. FFWD will continue to see memorable, far-reaching and tangible success for its showcasing designers as they command space in shopping malls in the region, and beyond.”

With Dubai as its base, FFWD is perfectly placed to continue the growth of the Middle Eastern fashion industry to an international market, bringing the region into the global fashion conversation and making it a viable and sustainable destination for international designers, media, buyers and industry influencers.


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