Fashion Trust Arabia, a non-profit project supporting design talent in the Middle East, has named 25 finalists for its inaugural Fashion Trust Arabia Prize. Co-chaired by Sheikha al-Mayassa Bint Hamad Al-Thani and Tania Fares, founder of the Fashion Trust in the U.K, the trust aims to offer mentorship and funding to promising talent from the region.

“I was so pleased to see a lot of our applicants are producing quality garments, keeping up with orders, and are always on the lookout for new opportunities to grow,” said Fares. “They have a somewhat romantic approach when designing their collections. The Middle East has always been famous for producing champion eveningwear designers that have dominated the red carpet. After spending more time in the region talking and meeting with the designers, I saw that their level of jewelry and accessory design was also a major strength.”

The finalists were selected with by a panel of executive committee members with the support of partner Matchesfashion.com.

“We are always on the lookout for new and emerging designers and love to visit new markets and discover local talent,” said Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matchesfashion.com. “Working with Fashion Trust Arabia has given us a great opportunity to meet and work with an incredibly diverse range of designers across the Middle East.”

Executive committee member Nez Gebreel, who was previously the founding ceo of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council and has spent many years mentoring design talent both in the Middle East and internationally, discovered many new talents, noting “the list of designers really comes from a broad cross section of talent.”

The winners will be chosen in Doha, Qatar, on March 28 by a star-studded panel of industry figures including Diane von Furstenberg, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Olivier Rousteing, Alexander Wang, Farida Khelfa, Natalie Massenet, Laura Brown, Sara Maino, Zuhair Murad, Haider Ackermann, and Erdem Moralıoğlu.

The finalists for ready-to-wear are Amna Al Salem, Kuwait; Hamza Guelmouss, Morocco; Karim Adduchi, Morocco; Reemami, UAE; Salim Azzam, Lebanon; Boyfriend, Lebanon; Nafsika Skourti, Jordan; Riadh Trabelsi, Tunisia; and Roni Helou, Lebanon.

Vying for the eveningwear prize are Azzi and Osta, Lebanon; Hussein Bazaza, Lebanon; Krikor Jabotian, Lebanon; Sandra Mansour, Lebanon; and Yasmin Mansour, Qatar.

Contenders for accessories are Liudmila, Kuwait; Zyne, Morocco; Poise, Lebanon; Sadafa, Egypt; Marzook, Kuwait; Okhtein, Egypt; and Sabry Marouf, Egypt, while jewelry finalists are Karma Salman, Lebanon; Mukhi Sisters, Lebanon; Joanna Laura Constantine, Lebanon; and Donna Hourani, UAE.

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