Season after season Fashion Forward proves it's not just here as a creative platform for designers, but also a learning ecosystem for the sartorial community. Kicking off Season 9 with in-depth talks on the nature and impact of the digital consumer as well as how to cultivate your brand in the tech sphere, day one saw the nucleus of Dubai’s style scene descending on d3 for an in-depth, albeit glamorous lesson on the future of regional fashion both for the consumer and the brand.
Nafsika Skourti presented by EPIC X Samsung
As profiled by Bazaar, the young designer has accomplished a wealth of achievements in her career and with the launch of her eponymous label. Packed with tongue-in-cheek prints and embroidery and sharp silhouettes the Jordanian/Greek creative is one to watch.
The Starch Foundation
Showcasing designers Emily Cremona, Nour Najem and Roni Helou there was a unity of soft, feminine shapes from all three shows. Sleek tailoring at Emily Cremona and tapestry-inspired finishing at Nour Najem added dimension to their mostly neutral colour palettes.
Arwa Al Banawi
Fun, vibrant and unforgettable, Saudi designer Arwa Al Banawi joined the ‘see now, buy now’ movement with a collection of tops, trousers and blazers that will be available for purchase as of March 26. Think crisp cotton tops (emblazoned with the words The Suitable Woman’ and ‘I Studied in America’) and desk-to-dancefloor separates.
Starting his show by revealing every look to come, Hussein Bazaza brought his expert knowledge and understanding of embroidery to an almost gothic, darker collection inspired by Asian and 40s influences. Easily one of the most dramatic shows of the day.
The Emirati designer offered up her signature modern twist on Middle East fashions with lightweight, billowing silhouettes in a soft palette of pink, beige and off-white. Touches of velvet and belted waists added dimenson to the ultra-feminine collection.
Royaled by RH
Strong silhouettes on jackets and waistcoats were offset with sharp cage-detailing on the shoulders and waterfall hemlines at the Saudi designer's A/W17 show. Catering to the strong, working woman, Jeddah-based Renad Hefni displayed her talent for creating architectural, yet instantly wearable seperates.
The Impalpable Dream of VERSAILLES... My new Fall-Winter 2017 Collection...Thank you @sayed5inco @bong_guerrero @mashallahlova andcto my whole MC Team ... @paulki4 @ffwd @d3dubai @asiancouturefederation @Couturissimo @pkiefer_photography #couture #FashionForward #D3 #Versailles #France #Royalties #Baroque #romantic #Dubai #MyDubai #MadeinDubai #MichaelCinco
Set against the backdrop of Renaissance-era artwork, a fashionable fairytale unfolded at Michael Cinco where the couturier revealed one show-stopping gown after another. Dresses came down the runway drenched in crystals with sheer overlays, voluminous skirts and gallery-worthy prints.
All three talks, 'Tradeshows & Showrooms: Increasing Your Reach,’ ‘See Now, Buy Now: Can It Work?’ and 'The Art of Digital Storytelling In Fashion' focused on how to adapt your brand to an increasingly online world and the consumer behavior that affects this digital experience. On the subject of choosing an international showroom and leveraging the most for your label out of the experience the panel, which included Clair Seffen, Senior Womenswear Buyer at Bloomingdale’s and Janet Wong, founder of Cabana Show, relayed their importance of choosing the right platform, not just every available platform. Agreeing with these sentiments Zayan Ghandour, buyer at S*uce and founder of her eponymous label agreed both from a retailer and creative perspective saying “A lot of your experience at international trade shows will be trial and error but do as much research as possible to ensure you’re aligning your label with the right crowd.” Perseverance was also a key message with Zayan reminding the panel that it was at a tradeshow where she first discovered jewellery brand Shourouk, who now has an international following.
Much like their d3 preview featuring Bazaar Editor-in-chief Louise Nichol, ‘The Art of Digital Storytelling In Fashion’ reiterated the sentiment of focusing on a story within a story when it comes to your brand positioning and not relying on current styling and photography trends to get an authentic message across. The strength of digital was also touched on with photographer Mansoor Mannbutte encouraging all brands at any stage to push digital as well as print media.
The topic of how pertinent fashion weeks are in an increasingly connected world saw panelists Firras Alwahabi of Faux Consultancy, Rania Masri, GM of Level Shoe District and Fashion Forward founder Bong Guerrero discussing how to communicate off-season trends in a demanding consumer landscape. Agreeing with Etienne Cochet, GM of Who’s Next Premiere Classe that the USP of fashion week is no longer the clothes, but the community, all panelists agreed that to maintain an aspirational approach especially in the luxury segment, designers should use e-commerce and ‘See now, buy now’ models with caution – and only if the consumer demand is high.