Designers share their thoughts on Dubai fashion event

Utruj is taking the Dubai fashion scene by storm. (Photo supplied)
Updated 28 October 2017
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Designers share their thoughts on Dubai fashion event

Dubai Design District is playing host to the 10th annual Fashion Forward showcase in Dubai, an event that is a “celebration” featuring runway shows, presentations, exhibitions, talks, shopping, music and film.

Previously invite only, this event — that runs from Oct. 26-28 — is now open to all fashion lovers in the region. Arab News speaks with three designers who are contributing to this unforgettable fashion event, known to fashionistas as FFWD.

Hussein Bazaza, a designer based in Beirut, felt a desire for artistic expression from an early age. Having studied in Paris and with Elie Saab in Lebanon, Bazaza created his first collection in 2012. Through his designs, and with “every cut,” Bazaza works to reflect “a different story, a personal emotion that creates a one-of-a-kind experience. (It is) fashion with a soul.”

Can you tell us a bit about the collection you are showcasing?
The story behind the SS18 collection revolves around the battle between all five personas that make up one’s ultimate character and in the end, the winner dominates it. Composed of 40 looks in total; each of our five characters walk the runway in eight looks. The primary color is pink, but there are touches of different hues obvious in every character. You can spot shimmering silvers at first, light pinks appear next, striking reds follow, then strong blacks make an entrance and, finally, vibrant golds end the show.

Why is it important to take part in this Dubai-based event?
As I see that Dubai has become the fashion capital of the Middle East, FFWD is always great exposure. After showcasing many seasons at FFWD, the FFWD family are dear to my heart — it is now like a second home to me. They are very well organized and incredibly professional with the entire process from the very beginning until even after it ends.


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Saudi designer Sadeem Al-Shehail is also at FFWD with SADEEM, a pret-a-couture fashion brand. Designed for a woman “who is confident, elegant and sophisticated; a woman who is looking for timeless, well-made and versatile attire,” Al-Shehail’s collection is based on sustainable design and ethical practices. To that end, she only collaborates with companies that share the same principles.

Can you tell us a bit about the collection you are showcasing?
This collection, “NAUTICAL by Sadeem,” cultivates a luxury wardrobe that caters for a contemporary woman on a summer holiday. Inspired by sailor suits, sea shell shapes and the glamorous yachting lifestyle, the collection offers timeless silhouettes, from daytime chic to sophisticated soiree looks. I am proud that my company produces a sustainable and eco-friendly line and all fabrics used are certified non-toxic materials made in Japan. Also, the garments were ethically constructed in Dubai’s very own Design District.

Why is it important to take part in this Dubai-based event, as compared to other international fashion events you have attended?
I have had the privilege of showcasing some of my previous collections in New York and in Paris and I was very happy about the positive feedback I received. However, I must say that showing my collection in Dubai has had more of an impact. In my experience, emerging designers showing in Europe and the US always struggle to find the perfect agency that can properly represent them as not many are enthused as the competition is very high. FFWD is the best platform in the Middle East and North Africa region, providing emerging and rising fashion designers the proper brand recognition and exposure. The team that manages the event (is comprised of) brilliant international industry professionals and they put forward their extensive knowledge in all aspects. It is a joy to be a part of FFWD.






Utruj, a design house based in Jeddah, is led by creative director Laila Abduljawad. The brand is named after a type of citrus fruit that is both bitter and sweet, a clear symbol of the brand. Utruj espouses a new vision of contemporary modest wear that women today can truly identify with and with Abduljawad at the helm, the brand can look forward to many more years of redefining design.

Can you tell us a bit about the collection you are showcasing?
This collection is called “Authentic Structure” and it depicts stories that merge imagination with reality. Each piece in the collection is a visual representation of a social construct — the structures reflect our societies and reflect ourselves as Middle Eastern. Furthermore, the focus of this Utruj collection is on shapes — the intricate shapes of traditional forms of art and architecture that embellish the rural region of Saudi Arabia. It signifies a confident woman who values her traditions, but who wants to work practically and look modern. The modern millennial will to be proud to wear (pieces) from this collection as it represents faith and creativity.

Why is it important to take part in this Dubai-based event?
We need a new vision of contemporary modest wear that women today can truly identify with. We aim to universalize the abaya and we want to bridge the gap between the Gulf and the rest of the world — we know that Dubai is a perfect place to push that. It is in the Middle East (but has) international and Western exposure. We have see that Middle Eastern designers are afraid of the abaya, that it may not be well received. But we are not afraid, we are proud and now — after showing this collection in Paris and Europe and receiving such strong, positive feedback — we can bring this collection back to Dubai. For us as a brand, we want to see Middle East engagement — now it is for you guys, it is for our own culture to celebrate.



Gigi Hadid hits back at paparazzi ‘stalking’ as photographer threatens legal action

Updated 21 October 2018
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Gigi Hadid hits back at paparazzi ‘stalking’ as photographer threatens legal action

DUBAI: US-Palestinian celebrity model Gigi Hadid is hitting back at a paparazzo who she says threatened her with legal action over a photo she posted on Instagram.

The model took to the social media platform over the weekend to reveal that she is being “legally pursued” for reposting a street style photo taken by a paparazzo, a snap which she has since removed from her social media feed.

“The photo is by a paparazzi and is of me on the street outside an event last week,” the 23-year-old told her 43.8 million followers. “I posed/smiled for the photo because I understand that this is part of my job,” Hadid wrote.
“These people make money off us every day, legally stalking us day in, day out,” she continued.
“It is not spoken about enough the mental/emotional toll that this kind of pressure has on people, days I (and countless others) have stayed inside because I don’t want my photo taken or to have that attention/suffocation while just trying to live as normally as possible,” the model added.

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Hadid went on to reveal the dangerous position some paparazzi put celebrities in on a daily basis.
“They drive dangerously close and extremely recklessly; they put the general public in danger in pursuit of a photo (I and many people I know have gotten in car accidents in cabs/car services because of paparazzi) and it seems that they can never get enough,” she wrote.
In the post, Hadid wrote that she found the uncredited image on Twitter and reposted in on Instagram, adding that she “had no way of knowing which of the 15+ photographers outside that day took these exact photos.
“If the person had just commented on my photo I would have been happy to tag and give you credit,” she added.
“To the paparazzi, I understand that this is how you make your living, and I respect that this is something I must accept with my job. But there is a line. We are human beings, and sometimes it takes a lot of courage to engage with you because of the resentment I feel for the negative parts of these experiences.”
Hadid’s statement garnered support from celebrities and models alike, with reality star Khloe Kardashian sharing her own experience in the comments section.

“I was sued for hundreds of thousands for posting a picture of myself. I don’t understand how it’s right that they literally stalk us and taunt us and they are allowed to sue us for posting our own photo,” she wrote.

Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowksi Candice Swanepoel and Olivia Culpo also left messages of support on the Instagram post, which had more than one million likes as of Sunday afternoon.