Founder Jacob Abrian: ‘Huawei Arab Fashion Week is the only platform in the world that stages ready-­couture’

Huawei Arab Fashion Week reveals impressive regional and global designer line-up for October 6 to 10.
Emirati designer Lamya Abedin. Pawan Singh / The National
Emirati designer Lamya Abedin. Pawan Singh / The National

Dubai’s Meydan Hotel regularly attracts some of the most stylish people in the UAE. This week, it will step its style status up a notch when it hosts the Huawei Arab Fashion Week.

The biannual showcase, which runs from Thursday, October 6 until ­Monday, October 10 celebrates regional and global designers in a hybrid event fusing prêt-à-porter and made-to-measure collections.

Developed and supported by the Arab Fashion Council, HAFW’s “ready-couture” premise means that designers produce limited-edition pieces and ­custom-made adaptations of their ready-to-wear lines.

“The Huawei Arab Fashion Week is the only platform in the world that stages ‘ready-­couture’,” says Jacob Abrian, the founder and chief executive of HAFW. “While western countries focus on fast fashion and ready-to-wear, the Arab Fashion Council continues to shape the international fashion scene by taking the lead of a different approach to the industry.”

Returning to the event and staging the opening show on Thursday, from 10pm, is Emirati designer Lamya Abedin, of the label Queen of Spades. “I’m working really hard to live up to the honour of headlining and making my showing of Le Voyage du Carnaval one to remember,” she says.

“My collection will give the audience a glimpse of the sartorial glamour of vintage fairs and carnivals. Think romantic styles, flowy dresses, hoop-cage skirts, tulle, ruffles, layers, flares, sequins and eye-catching patterns that will transport you to the circuses and gala fêtes of years gone by.”

Other UAE-based designers ­include Sheikha Alanoud Alattiya, of the label Tiiya, Aiisha ­Ramadan, with her eponymous range, and Ingie Chalhoub, under her brand Ingie Paris.

Among the international invitees are two members of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris – celebrated Jordanian-Canadian designer Rad Hourani and highly respected French-Algerian couturier ­Yacine Aouadi.

Another key participant will be New York designer LaQuan Smith, who counts Beyoncé, ­Kylie Minogue and Kendall Jenner among his high-profile clients.

Also sending pieces down the ramp, alongside her contemporaries from Belgium and Sweden, will be Italian couturier Giada Curti, who took to Twitter to announce the news.

“Arab Fashion Week is a very exclusive event to present my new collection – spring/summer 2017,” she wrote.

Other highlights of the HAFW programme, which is in its third edition and will feature children’s wear and menswear, include daily workshops in partnership with the American University in the Emirates. Best-selling author of Fashion Icons: Fashion Trends Throughout the Centuries, Leen Demeester, will also unveil the title of her next book during the five-day event.

By way of events such as this one, the Arab Fashion Council says its goal is to cement the UAE’s position as a fashion hub alongside New York, London, Milan and Paris. Unlike Fashion Forward, which take place from October 20 to 23, the HAFW is a closed-door industry gathering with a finely tuned guest list.

“We have a great network of buyers,” says AFC board member Mahmood Al Farsi.

“Interest from Russia and China about ready couture is also increasing, so we’ve invited them to attend this season. Those could really be countries of potential growth for our designers and we’re here to ­provide them with the very best support we can.

“There’s also a 50 per cent increase in pan-Arab designers at HAFW this season, which is great and marks a big change from seasons one and two.”

AFC’s endeavours to nurture home-grown fashion entities is not lost on designers who have signed up to show their ­collections.

“This show is indigenous to our region and associated with the world’s top-league fashion weeks, so I cherish Arab Fashion Week for giving local designers such as myself a global platform,” says Abedin. “Fashion weeks are often a designer’s highlight – it’s the platform that brings us closer to our audience, buyers and the fashion-forward fraternity. But, most of all, it’s a ground for us to find distributors in the region and across the world, thereby making fashion accessible to all.”

Huawei Arab Fashion Week starts on Thursday, October 6 and runs until Monday, October 10. For more information, visit

Published: October 4, 2016 04:00 AM


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