Fashion Forward Dubai: What to expect

Join the fash pack at Dubai’s fifth Fashion Forward event

If you live, breathe and exude fashion, clear your diary for the fifth edition of Fashion Forward. Dubai’s stylish biannual event will take place at Souk Madinat Jumeirah from Friday April 10 to Sunday 12 and it’s your chance to check out the rich melting pot of regional fashion talent, while shopping to your heart’s content.

The Event
Fashion Forward launched in April 2013 as the definitive platform in the Middle East from which to showcase the best couture and ready-to-wear regional designers of Middle Eastern origin or those whose businesses are based in the region. The upcoming edition is the fifth and will take place at Souk Madinat Jumeirah on Friday April 10 to Sunday 12, with an invitation-only event taking place at Dubai Design District (d3) on Monday April 13. Between 15,000 and 18,000 people are expected to visit over the course of the event, which attracts designers, media, buyers and fashion industry professionals as well as the public.

What to expect
It promises to be a 360-degree fashion experience with 25 of the region’s finest couture and ready-to-wear designers showing their latest collections in runway shows and in live model presentations. In addition, 40 of the region’s accessory and jewellery designers will be displayed in the retail space, and there will be a series of panel discussions, presentations and plenty of networking opportunities.

What’s new
For its fifth season, the retail space will house apparel designers in addition to accessory brands. Guests can browse and purchase current collections, before heading to catwalk shows to see next season’s pieces. The extra day added to the schedule at d3 is also new for this season. The day will be for industry guests only and will comprise of panel discussions and showroom displays.
Dhs150. Register online for a three-day pass. Open to the public April 10-12. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, (04 432 7844).

Fashion Forward founder Bong Guerrero on the benefits that the event has brought to Dubai

Why do you think Fashion Forward has been so successful in Dubai?

The melting-pot of cultures in the city means that we attract international brands from around the world to open stores here. It also provides us with a unique and rich talent pool of people who are designing and creating from within the emirate. The Middle Eastern consumer is incredibly brand-savvy and as a general rule, labels are king. However, what we are seeing, and definitely promoting through Fashion Forward, is home-grown talents who are designing and selling here, boosting not only the visibility of Dubai as a fashion hub, but also the local economy.

How does Fashion Forward help to nurture new talent in the region?
In the past, the options for a fashion designer in the region wanting to gain international exposure were limited. A section of rack space in a multi-brand boutique or spots in other markets’ fashion weeks were up for grabs for the most talented and determined. What Fashion Forward offers is a single, unifying platform for Middle Eastern designers to hone their craft and show consistent collections at home. Bringing designers together as a collective offers so much more impact and visibility than one designer going it alone.

What are you personally looking forward to seeing at this year’s event?
Apparel designers showing through presentations. This is a format that is increasingly used in international fashion weeks where the collections are displayed on static live models. It adds a different dynamic to the event and also gives our designers flexibility when deciding how to show their collections.

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