Middle Eastern fashion platform Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD) hosted its third showroom in Paris as part of its mission to globalise regional fashion talents and promote business exchange between Dubai and Paris.
There were 12 designers who presented curated collections to buyers and press at Hotel InterContinental Paris Le Grand in collaboration with Muriel Piaser Consulting office as Global Fashion Developer.
The regional designers including Anaya, Amira Haroon, Asya Krasnaya, Sadeem, Cheyma, Geodie, Hessa Falasi, Kage, Rula Galayani, Soltana, Tania George and Utruj presented collections to key buyers from Galeries Lafeytte, Beymen, Harvey Nichols and Saks Fifth Avenue to name a few.
In parallel, FFWD hosted a workshop in partnership with INSEAD to foster creative exchange and enhance commercial collaboration between Europe and the Middle East. Attended by influencers, designers and industry experts, and led by FFWD co-founder Ramzi Nakad, the workshop addressed the topic of ‘The Emergence of a Global Fashion Community’.
Given the cultural diversity, the central location and infrastructure, Dubai is a perfect location to host emerging fashion talent, both regional and international. With this in mind, FFWD has the ambition to become a viable global platform for the best designers from all around the world.
“The social and cultural diversity of Dubai, the city that hosts 180 nationalities, is something unparalleled in the world. What brings the population together is not so much national history but rather human ethics, which is the dynamism, the ambition and the love of hard work. If you work hard enough you can succeed,” says Nakad. “Paris, on the other hand, is the pivotal eco-centre that unites everyone in fashion. Paris has nurtured some of the brightest of our talents, like Elie Saab, and it launched the careers of many of our (regional) designers, and we hope that Paris will always be that city where we go to in order to nurture the next generation of designers.”
“An exchange programme between Paris and Dubai would be very beneficial. Dubai is more affordable for young brands as it offers tax free, low rent, low participation fees in platforms like FFWD versus other cities like New York or London. The fact that FFWD spotlights emerging talent has the highest value for brands – they are not the second-class citizens during the fashion week, they are the heroes of that fashion week,” he adds.
In addition, a panel discussion also took place with representatives of the regional fashion community including Clair Seffen, senior women’s wear buyer for Bloomingdales Dubai, Bloomingdales Kuwait and Harvey Nichols Dubai.
“We are always trying to scout new fashion talents and FFWD has helped to create a meeting point for all the brands around the Middle East. It helps them develop and grow through guidance and advice. It is so exciting to see the confidence these brands have now, and see them in the spotlight of the fashion scene,” states Seffen.
During the one-hour panel discussion, guests learnt about the originality of the Middle Eastern fashion market, and discussed an opportunity to develop a fashion retail business in the region. The speakers explained best practice for expansion, for both offline and online distribution in the GCC region, as well as ways French brands can adapt their products to appeal to local tastes.
The panel was followed by a networking reception in the FFWD Showroom, where a selection of the region’s leading fashion designers presented their collections and provided insights into Middle Eastern fashion trends and the specifies of regional customer behaviours.