Meet Fashion Trust Arabia’s 2021 Finalists

The wait is over

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Since its launch in 2018, Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA) has been on a mission to uncover and nurture talents from all over the region. Two years in, and the non-profit has already exceeded expectations, scouting and showcasing the best designers the region has to offer. 

After receiving a record number of applicants, the non-profit organization’s third edition is well on its way—and we couldn’t be more excited. 

This year’s 24 selected finalists will flock in from 14 countries including Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, and Iraq to present their collections to the FTA jury in a both physical and virtual event.

“We received a record number of over 800 applications and had an immense pool of talent this year. We feel that designers and businesses need assistance now more than ever. I wish all the amazing finalists the best of luck, they are all exceptionally talented.” FTA Co-Founder and Co-Chair Tania Fares said in a statement.

This year’s FTA Advisory Board included prominent names of the fashion industry including Gabriela Hearst, Hamish Bowles, Ib Kamara, Sara Maino, Nina Garcia, and the region’s own Saif Mahdhi, Sofia Guellaty, and Afef Jnifen. This year’s jury members have yet to be announced.

“Even though we are living in uncertain times, we are more committed than ever to supporting talent from the MENA region”. FTA Co-Chair HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani added.

For this edition, FTA has invited Colombia as a guest country to take part in the sixth award added to this edition, The Unique Edition Award. The Advisory Board has shortlisted four Colombian designers to compete in the event, aiming to recognize and support emerging talents from the South-American country.

The winners will receive a financial grant of up to $200,000, and benefit from a one-year partnership with the London-based global luxury retailer matchesfashion.com, which includes a mentorship program and showcase of their collections across all channels. Not to mention, a specialised guidance on sustainability from fashion retailer Maison de Mode.

Here’s the complete list of this year’s finalists:

Ready-to-Wear Award: Cynthia Merhej (Lebanon), Lama Jouni (Lebanon), Maram Aboul Enein (Egypt), and Zaid Affas (Iraq). 

Eveningwear Award: Elie Mizrahi (Lebanon), Harith Hashim (Iraq), Laith Maalouf (Jordan), and Mohamed Benchellal (Morocco).

Jewellery Award: Alia Bin Omair (UAE), Azza Skhiri Bouchamaoui (Tunisia), Julien Riad Sahyoun (Lebanon), Tania & Dima Nawbar (Lebanon).

Accessories Award: Billal Fellah (Algeria), Dania Shinkar (Saudi Arabia), Haya Al AbdulKareem (Kuwait), and Zakaria Bendriouich (Morocco). 

Franca Sozzani Debut Talent Award: Abdel El Tayeb (Sudan), Malik Thomas Jalil Kydd (Iraq), Mina Tahir by Mintallah Tahir (Egypt) and Roudha by Roudha Ahmed Almazroei (Qatar).

Unique Edition Award: Alado by Alejandro González and Andrés Restrepo, A NEW CROSS by AGUSTIN RIVERO, Laura Laurens and Priah by Juanita Garcia. 

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