Time to put your best (well-heeled) foot forward, as the region’s main fashion event Fashion Forward returns for an eighth season.

Grab your glad rags and join Dubai’s pretty young things as they flock to D3 for the return of Fashion Forward from October 20 to 23.

Essentially the UAE’s version of London Fashion Week, this bi-annual event is the place to discover and support the Middle East’s designer talent.

Fashion Forward 01

The three-day festival has, in the past, catapulted some of the region’s most promising talents into fully-fledged designers. But it’s not all catwalks and couture.

Visitors and buyers alike can enjoy and get involved in workshops, talks and panel discussions by international industry experts and fashionistas.

Hai D3, D3, Ras Al Khor Road, Dubai, Thur 9pm to 1am, Fri noon until 11pm, Sat and Sun 2pm to 10pm, Dhs100. Tel: (04) 4327844. Taxi: Dubai Design District. fashionforward.ae

The labels making their Fashion Forward debuts…


Amal Al Raisa

Who: Amal Al Raisi
The Omani designer started out creating traditional national dresses and has since added a couture vibe to her collection of modern and classy abayas and kaftans.


Hissa Zainal

Who: Hissa Zainal
The young Qatari talent turned heads when she launched her collection Prologue last year, with its dramatic and quirky business-style designs.


Mrs Keepa

Who: Mariam Yehia
There’s a real Middle East-western crossover in the Egyptian-French designer’s more casual pieces, with strong colours meeting European and vintage vibes.



Who: Aliya Tair
The young Dubai designer will be showing her new lines, which have a big Far Eastern influence playfully mixing masculine and feminine styles.


Varoin Marwah

Who: Varoin Marwah
Another home-grown talent, the designer has used his Indian roots to create a contemporary and fun men’s range, with a real attention to detail.

Meet some of the designers…

Said Mahrouf

Said Mahrouf

On their favourite piece from their collection. “It’s a black and orange striped dress. It was the starting point of the collection and is inspired by a striped woven fabric.”

On the clothes they create. “My style is extremely feminine and elegant. I enjoy the process of draping a dress in such a way that it complements the female body perfectly. Simplicity is key in my style, but with always a detailed twist in design.”

On their style inspiration. “Working in Casablanca gave me a great insight in the life and style of my clients. I get so much satisfaction and inspiration from these woman.”

On the best fashion tip. “Dress for yourself and not for others.”


Lama Jouni

 Lama Jouni

On this season’s collection. “Every season I try to challenge myself so this season I used materials and shapes that I’ve never worked with before and a colour palette that’s unusual for me.”

On the way they dress. “My overall style is very minimal and relaxed, but my collections and design aesthetic reflects the inner me when I want to look fabulous.”

On their style icon. “I don’t have a favourite style icon, but I love Bianca Jagger.”

On the best fashion tip. “Be confident and comfortable in what you’re wearing, because that’s when you shine the most.”


Arwa Al Banawi

Arwa Al Banawi

On this season’s collection. It’s very colorful, vibrant and fresh. It’s all about easiness, light fabrics and loungewear.

On the way they dress. My style is very laid back with classic touch. I’m mostly in a white shirt, blazer and jeans with sneakers or heels or else, a slip dress with an oversized blazer.

On their style icon. That’s my mother. She doesn’t shy away from mixing prints and colours, and I keep learning from her.

On usual hobbies. I’ve loved snakes since I was little. I used to go to snake museums to learn about all the types – they’re interesting creatures.

On the best fashion tip. Don’t work hard to be the centre of attention. There’s beauty in simplicity always.


Amal Al Raisi, with By Amal Al Raisi

Amal Al Raisi

On their collection. It’s extremely feminine with lots of romantic frills – lace is important too.

On style inspiration. The collection is inspired by the ancient silk route, which took expensive Chinese silk through India and Oman.

On style icons. That’s Queen Rania of Jordan, her style is very feminine and classic.

On their work space. I’m an organisational freak. Even if it’s takes me two hours to tidy everything before I start work, I do it.

On the best fashion tips. Make friends with a good tailor. They can raise the quality of moderately priced clothing by altering them to suit your shape.




On their collection. This year it’s all about fairies and nature. The collection is dreamy yet practical – it’s different.

On their style in five words. Classic, royal, elegant and (above all) feminine.

On ignoring style icons. I don’t have a specific style icon. Successful designers create their own identity.

On not following the pack. I’m stubborn, don’t follow the rules so some people call me crazy. And that’s okay.

On their best fashion tip. Be yourself, do not imitate others, explore and choose what’s comfortable for you – and look for quality.


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Images: Supplied