DUBAI: Moroccan-Norweigan designer Anwar Bougroug launched his eponymous unisex label a little over four years ago with a focus on traditional Moroccan handcraft. His creations went on to capture the attention of prestigious publications, securing him a spot on Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 class of 2020.
Today, the designer is launching a new initiative called Bougroug Youth Mentorship Program, which will help move the African fashion industry further into the future by nurturing emerging labels from the continent amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was hearing from a lot of young creatives that they were really struggling to keep their motivation up and make ends meet,” shared Bougroug with Arab News of his decision to launch the program.
“Since I launched my own fashion brand, many young people in Morocco reached out to me and told me they wanted to do the same,” explained Bougroug. “So I saw an opportunity to help these people reach their dreams,” he added.
Initially, the program was exclusive to Morocco’s creative community, however, within hours, the designer began receiving applications from designers, photographers, stylists and models from countries scattered across Africa, including Sudan, South-Africa, Ghana and Botswana.
“I decided to open the program for everyone that could really benefit from it, no matter where they are located in the world,” he explained.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and social-distancing measures in place, the mentorship scheme will kick off with gatherings on social chatting application Zoom where Bougroug will offer guidance on opportunities, help them refine their ideas and projects and provide uplifting career advice.
Afterwards, the designer aims to meet with young designers based in Morocco face-to-face and travel to any of the countries where the participants live if and whenever travel restrictions are lifted.
With the new program, Bougroug aims to introduce 25 young African creatives to careers in the fashion industry and give them the tools to succeed in the industry.
“Africa has so much potential to further develop its fashion industry,” notes Bougroug. “People in Africa are extremely skilled and creative. What is missing is the voice that tells people to go after their dreams. By giving young people a chance, they will develop their skill sets and the industry will start to take shape and we will eventually have a healthy industry and ecosystem similar to the ones we see for instance in Europe,” he says.
Those who wish to apply can send an email to [email protected].