The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation has launched a student competition in collaboration with the Italian luxury house of Dolce & Gabbana.
Called the Dolce & Gabbana x ADMAF Design Award 2023, it aims to support and encourage a new generation of creatives, by offering the opportunity to learn hand-crafting skills, as well as a chance to win an internship with Dolce & Gabbana in Milan.
Divided into three categories – fashion, jewellery and fragrance – the award is open to Emirati students aged between 18 and 30, who will be taught how to enhance their creativity in their chosen field of interest under the guidance of expert mentors.
The finalists in each category will see their designs brought to life in collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana, and will show their work at the Abu Dhabi Festival next year. The winners will also head to Italy for an internship at the brand's headquarters.
All participants will undergo training in artisanal techniques suitable for their chosen category.
Fashion students, for example, will learn lace-making and flower construction, while budding jewellers will learn more about micro-mosaics. The programme is conceived as a platform for emerging designers to acquire new skills, gain hands-on experience and interact with industry experts.
For the competition itself, fashion students will be tasked with creating an abaya that skilfully blends modern aesthetics with Abu Dhabi's rich heritage, and will be encouraged to seek inspiration from wide-ranging fields such as music, art and the landscape, captured via hand-painting, embroidery, applique and lacework. Five designs will be shortlisted, to create a one-off capsule with Dolce & Gabbana.
Jewellery students, meanwhile, will be encouraged to examine traditional Emirati culture and traditions, and combine them in a piece using the skills they have acquired, such as micro-mosaics and working with gold and pearls.
With fragrance such a key element of Emirati life, participants should have no trouble folding traditional elements into creating new scents for Dolce & Gabbana Casa.
The fragrance is meant to capture both old and new, and be inspired by the colourful style of Carretto Siciliano and Blu Mediterraneo, that is blue and white Sicilian tiles a la Dolce & Gabbana, as well as the UAE landscape and how that has shaped life across the country.
With an eye to the future, this new design award hopes to inspire and nurture the next generation of Emirati creatives, while building a bridge that connects tradition with modernity.
Dolce & Gabbana has a long history with the UAE. Not only was it one of the earliest big-name brands to arrive in the country, but it also launched its first collection of abayas in 2015, and put on a fashion show in Dubai Mall in 2018, promoting a line created specifically for the region.
More information is available at admaf.org