On October 29th 2015, the third edition of Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience (VFDE) organized by global property developer Emaar Properties in partnership with Vogue Italia and supported by the Dubai Design & Fashion Council, held its official press conference high above the city in downtown Dubai.
Members of press were welcomed and escorted to the Office Annex of the world renowned Burj Khalifa. Prior to commencing, the media excitedly gravitated to the spacious outdoor deck to take in views of the expansive landscape below as well as the breathtaking skyline.
After being seated, cameras began flashing non-stop at the arrival of the distinguished, Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia and Nez Gebreel CEO, Dubai Design & Fashion Council.
After formally welcoming all the members of the media, the speakers promptly began to discuss the success of last year and the events ahead. The second edition of the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience, held in 2014, welcomed over one million visitors across three days. In-store activities organized by over 200 fashion retailers in The Dubai Mall also contributed to the significant boost in footfall, further underlining The Dubai Mall’s credentials as the ultimate destination for luxury shopping. The official partners of VFDE 2015 are Sephora, Pepsi, Emirates Airline and OSN.
Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, said: “The first two editions of Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience have established Dubai as a fashion capital that offers a world-class retail infrastructure and welcomes luxury shoppers from around the world led by its central geographic location. The Dubai Mall, the world’s most visited retail and leisure destination, today is the hub for luxury retail, and has been a driver for growth for the fashion scene across the region. VFDE further serves as the nurturing ground for new talents, several of whom have evolved as international fashion professionals. With the enthusiasm that the event has generated internationally, we are confident of VFDE 2015 setting new benchmarks and adding to the pride of Dubai as a creative hub.”
Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia then spoke of the latest addition to the VFDE 2015, Who is on Next? Dubai. A talent scouting initiative that is mainly focused on emerging designers from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Twenty-five talented designers were selected to showcase their collections during the event. Who is on Next? Dubai has been launched by Vogue Italia and Emaar Properties, in collaboration with Altaroma and with the support of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, Pitti Immagine and yoox.com, online retail and media partner. The project covers three categories: womenswear, menswear and accessories.
Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia, said: “Right from the first edition of VFDE, we have been placing a firm emphasis on the event to serve as a magnet for new talent and creativity. VFDE has not only positioned Dubai and The Dubai Mall as referral points in the global fashion dialogue but also serve as a platform to nurture emerging talents. VFDE 2015 will provide spectacular showcases of global fashion trends and highlight the skills of emerging designers from around the world, who have great potential to make their mark internationally.”
Despite the surge in international exposure that the event brings to Dubai, it was quite evident that the purpose of the events held a deeper meaning to the panelist.
Nez Gebreel CEO, Dubai Design & Fashion Council, added: “More than a celebration of fashion, VFDE 2015 gains international relevance in its commitment to scout, nurture and promote emerging designers. The event complements the vision of Dubai Design & Fashion Council to nurture the next generation of design and fashion professionals in Dubai, which in turn will add to the city’s creative economy.”
The crowd listened intently throughout the press conference, utterly intrigued with the plans for the coming days ahead, while provided further insight into the future of the programs.
During the question and answer portion, The Dia Diaries had an opportunity to ask Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia more about Who’s on Next? Dubai. We inquired whether the designers are provided mentorship opportunities, which ensure they continue to flourish their talents long after this experience. Franca Sozzani said: “Yes, outside of a mentorship they are provided production distribution. The designers are provided a space in the Dubai Mall that allows them to not only retain exposure but to also generate revenue for their designs. Vogue works closely with the designer’s years after their participation in the contest because it is important to us that they continue to grow their skillset.”
Without a doubt, there is no way to discuss the advancement of global fashion initiatives without discussing the impact of social media with designers and the industry. When the panelist were asked about their feelings on digital platforms, their responses were insightful.
Franca Sozzani said: “It’s good and bad. People are attracted to the number of followers instead of the quality of the content, however, the digital influence is exceptional. Overall, there have always been followers and winners, decide which one you want to be.”
Mohamed Alabbar said: “It can be a tremendous source of inspiration. Especially when young designers are using the platform to inspire. To first see someone stitching a shirt that later evolves into a collection, is truly moving.”
Nez Gebreel added: “At times social media allows designers to accelerate too quickly and they often miss a vital step in the growth and development of becoming a designer. It should be used as a space to inspire and not just showcase.”
The 25 talented designers chosen for Who is on Next? Dubai are: Abcense, Adriaan Kuiters + Jody Paulsen, Anita Quansah London, Beyond Closed, Brother Vellies, Byungmun Seo, CA&LOU, Cynthia & Xiao, Dent de Man, Elio Abou Fayssal, Faissal El-Malak, Hussein Bazaza, J Moon, Jourden, Maryam Omaira, Matter Matters, max.tan, MaXhosa by Laduma, Nathalie Trad, Sindiso Khumalo, sulvam, Susana Traça, Ujoh, Yirantian and Youjia Jin. Their collections will be evaluated by a panel of globally-renowned fashion experts.
Written by: Chandia Brennen
Chandia Brennen is a Certified Image Consultant and CEO of ItsGood2bME Fashion Consulting and Image Management based in Los Angeles CA, Chandia has been in the Fashion industry for over four years. She has worked for dozens of publications and holds the title of Senior Fashion Editor in both LA and NY. Chandia is a fashion scout for a Design Agency in NY and Brand Ambassador for HairEverywhere Luxury.