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Arab catwalk influence grows despite small London Fashion Week presence

Amira Haroon spring/summer 2018 collection catwalk show. (Photo courtesy: social media)
LONDON: When superstar Beyonce starts posting Instagram pictures of herself in dresses from Dubai-based designer Bouguessa, you know that Arab designers are starting to gain the international recognition they have been striving for.
With the Arab region typically known internationally for its insatiable appetite for high-end luxury, it is beginning to be recognized as a creative hub in its own right.
London Fashion Week, which ended on Tuesday, may not have been over-subscribed with Arab talent, but it did showcase the work of a number of emerging names from the region.
Amira Haroon participated in the Fashion Scout London event on Sept. 15 after being selected via a competition run by Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) and Fad Institute of Luxury, Fashion and Style — Dubai (Fad Dubai). Fashion Scout is an independent platform that showcases new designers.
Haroon — who spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia and Dubai — launched her Amira Haroon brand in 2010 and her designs are now stocked across the Gulf region.
Another more established Dubai-based designer taking part in this season’s Fashion Week is Ayah Tabari — the founder of the brand Mochi. Tabari is originally from Palestine, raised in Amman and Riyadh and currently based in Dubai. Her brand is stocked across the world.
Earlier in February, two other UAE-based brands Azzalia and Deborah Henning made their international debut at London Fashion Scout Autumn 2017 event.
Azzalia is a luxury fashion brand from the UAE that offers a range of abayas, gowns, and evening wear, while Deborah Henning is a British Dubai-based designer, who launched a womenswear brand in 2014.
“The Middle East is currently witnessing an exponential growth in the design segment, with a growing number of talents emerging from the region,” said a spokesperson from the DDFC.
“The major fashion weeks are no stranger to Arab designers, with names like Reem Acra, Elie Saab and Rami Al Ali leaving their mark with the international design community,” the spokesperson said.
There are also less high-profile designers such as Hala Kaiksow, from Bahrain, that has gained some degree of international recognition through showcasing her collections at Paris Fashion Week last year.

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