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Dubai — Vogue Arabia along with the Dubai Design and Fashion Council held a gala event Tuesday night at Dubai’s One and Only Royal Mirage hotel to honor the region’s new design talent. UAE-based ready-to-wear designer Reemami and Egyptian accessories brand Okhtein were awarded the 2016 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize, an annual endowment for the Arab world’s most promising fashion talents.

The winners were selected by an international panel of jurists that including designers Roland Mouret and Zuhair Murad, DDFC ceo Nez Gebreel, Vogue Arabia features director Caterina Minthe and publisher Shashi Menon, Brown’s ceo Holli Rogers and Stephanie Horton, chief marketing officer for Farfetch, the title sponsor of the event.

Christian Louboutin, straight off a plane from New York, attended the gala in support of the young designers. Fashion influencers Nausheen Shah and Erica Pelosini were also in attendance.

The digital edition of Vogue Arabia which launched last week aims to deliver content relevant to the region. “We feel it is our mission to support and elevate emerging talent. We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the winners tonight, and we look forward to seeing where their paths may lead,” she said.

During the jury presentations, Mouret said he was really candid with designers, “there were some tears, but I really see this as an opportunity to push those with a creative spark to take their work to the next level. I saw some really interesting concepts here, but I was looking for the one that would have a lot of visual impact.”

The winner, Reema Al Banna appreciated the feedback, “I will take it all, the good and the bad, and learn from it.” Her contemporary label is recognized for its signature architectural and experimental cuts and hand-illustrated graphics. The designer’s interest in prints was first cultivated through her time as a graphic designer.

The winner in the accessories category, Okhtein, which translates to “sisters” in Arabic, is designed by Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf. The duo impressed judges with their contemporary handbags that incorporate Egyptian artisanal crafts.

The DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize includes a financial grant and the opportunity to produce the winning collections for sale on Farfetch.com, retail distribution at Browns Fashion, Curve Boutique and Al Ostoura as well as an advertising campaign. The total value is estimated at $250,000.

“We were impressed by the creativity of applicants from all over the Middle East and are proud to be able to offer our designers the opportunity to be discovered globally,” said Gebreel. “It’s our obligation as an industry to support and mentor them. Their success is our legacy.”

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