(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Raynald C Rivera | The Peninsula
Doha: The fashion industry in Qatar and the entire MENA region is set to receive a big boost with the recently launched Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA), a first-of-its-kind initiative which provides funding, mentorship and international exposure to most deserving new talents in the region.
The first ever grantees of the annual FTA Prize chosen from a rigorous selection process will be announced during FTA's inaugural event in Doha this March, according to Danya Taha, curator at FTA, while speaking to reporters yesterday.
Italian-French supermodel and singer-songwriter Carla Bruni, Valentino's creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, Vogue Italia's deputy editor-in-chief Sara Sozzani Maino, Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova, InStyle US editor Laura Brown, renowned Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad and Balmain's creative director Olivier Rousteing, and French-Algerian model Farida Khelfa are some of the biggest names in global fashion scene who comprise the judging panel who will select four to five winning designers for FTA's inaugural 2019 cycle.
'Fashion Trust Arabia is a non-profit initiative which supports designers in all the Middle East and North Africa. It was developed under the patronage of H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who is the Honorary Chairperson, and co-chaired by H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Fashion Trust founder Tania Fares, said Taha.
Fares founded Fashion Trust in 2011 in London with the British Fashion Council for UK designers and with its resounding success, she decided to do the same for the Arab region, added Taha.
Fashion Trust Arabia also has an executive committee with around 15 members made up of Arab business leaders who are supporters of FTA including Sheikha Raya Al Khalifa, Wissam Al Mana, and Nadine Labaki, among others, she added.
'Every year, we are going to award this prize to around four or five winning designers chosen from all over the Arab region. These winners are going to receive a substantial amount of funding, mentorship from FTA's partner Matchesfashion.com, and the opportunity to be showcased by Matchesfashion.com and Harrods in London —everything that the designer needs to take their business to the next level and to become globally recognised, she explained.
Applications opened in September and runs until January 24. Twenty finalists will be selected next month who will be invited at FTA's inaugural event on March 27 and 28 in Doha.
'I think it's time that finally designers in the Arab region get such an opportunity, something like FTA. This is the first-of-its-kind initiative in the Arab world and designers feel like it's a dream and are so overwhelmed and happy about it; we are also so happy that we can be providing that as well, she said.
Taha was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Shop Qatar Design District with which they have partnered.
'We definitely wanted to collaborate with Shop Qatar because there's a wealth of talent in Qatar that we wanted to tap into and to see the different designers and how they are all diverse and special in their own way. I'm very happy that we collaborated because I got to meet great talent and a number of designers here that could be great applicants for FTA and hopefully they can become winners of this prize, she said.