Fashion Trust Arabia was founded to spotlight, support and honour rising talent from the region. With Coronavirus, the annual awards ceremony (initially scheduled for March) was cancelled, but the FTA prize is still here to stay.
While the majority of the world was forced to stay at home, FTA’s team decided to roll up its sleeves and set up a fund through the social campaign #StandWithCreatives to promote local designers, whose emerging businesses are now heavily affected by the crisis.
Determined to ensure the prize would continue despite the circumstances, FTA came up with a new digital judging process, where judges met with the finalists through Zoom to select five final winners for the categories Ready-to-Wear, Eveningwear, Accessories (Shoes & Handbags), Jewellery, and the new Franca Sozzani Debut Talent Award, which was introduced this year.
“What is really inspiring and special about this year’s awards is how much they highlight the diversity of talent that the MENA region holds. We had the pleasure of meeting such inspiring individuals from 13 Arab countries who, even in the most testing of times, showed their drive, passion and creativity. It was a truly hard decision for our judges to choose just five winners from the list of talented finalists, especially as each and every one of the designers work tirelessly in their respective countries to preserve their culture through design”, declared founder Tania Fares in a statement.
The coveted prize was judged by the likes of Alber Elbaz, Christian Louboutin, Farida Khelfa and Yoon Ambush to name just a few, and each finalist competed for a mentorship program with FTA, a partnership with MATCHESFASHION.COM (which will be stocking winning brands exclusively from Spring/Summer 2021) as well as a $200,000 grant.
Presented by the 2019 winners via Facebook live, the second edition of FTA Arabia handed out awards to Sudanese designer Omer Asim (Ready-to-Wear), Egyptian brand Ammanii (Jewellery), Lebanese designer Andrea Wazen (Accessories), Saudi designer Yousef Akbar, (Eveningwear) and Jordanian designer Zeid Hijazi for the Franca Sozzani Debut Talent Award.