Arab Fashion Week postponed until March 28, following UAE's period of mourning

Announcement follows the death of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance

Arab Fashion Week, which was due to start on Wednesday, has been postponed, following the death of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.

As a mark of respect, the five-day event will now start on Sunday and will run until April 1.

In a statement announcing the change of date, the Arab Fashion Council expressed its condolences to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

The digital event, presented virtually by Microsoft and streamed by Facebook Inc, was due to begin this evening with a film starring former-Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach for the Dubai label Amato Couture. The five-minute film, titled Inner Sanctum, was to have opened the women's autumn / winter 2021 season. The film will now be streamed at 8pm on Sunday.

This season's special guest will be British-Italian designer Antonio Grimaldi, who will close the event on Thursday, April 1. Regional names such as Michael Cinco, Nohma Design, Euphoria, Aavva, Maliche as well as Amato are scheduled to present their designs.

Other names taking part span the globe, with presentations by Jean-Charles Zakaria (Lebanon), Sophia Nubes (Italy), Ezra Tuba (Turkey), Jap Petelicka (Poland), Brazilian designers Andrea Conti and Sandro Barros, and Palestinian designer Ihab Jiryis.

Continuing a partnership with the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) of France, five new French labels from Paris Fashion Week will also be participating in AFW. These are Heliot Emil, Germanier, Situationist, Weinsanto and Ester Manas.

As part of the Green Label initiative by the Arab Fashion Council, British brand Bav Tailor, Croatia's Krie Design and Italian designer Francesca Liberatore will present a sustainable collection following the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).

Jordanian designer Zaid Farouki, meanwhile, will show a capsule collection on the theme of Human Expression, in collaboration with stationery giant Bic.

"By presenting these talented labels ... we give them the possibility to take part of a global conversation for a better world," says Serge Carreira, head of the emerging brands initiative at FHCM.

"More than ever, emerging designers push the boundaries by impressing a new view on the world. They are committed on sustainability, on inclusivity and on respect."