DOHA, QATAR - MARCH 28: (L to R) Pierpaolo Piccioli, Diane von Furstenberg, Naomi Campbell and Victoria Beckham attend the Fashion Trust Arabia Prize awards ceremony on March 28, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Fashion Trust Arabia)

WINNERS’ CIRCLE: Salim Azzam and Roni Helou scooped the ready-to-wear award at the inaugural gala dinner for Fashion Trust Arabia, the nonprofit initiative that supports design talent across the Middle East and North Africa region. The event took place at the Doha Fire Station in Doha, Qatar with attendees including Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, FTA’s honorable chair, and co-chairs Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani and Tania Fares, founder of the Fashion Trust.

The winners will work with the FTA and to develop their brands globally. Other winners included Krikor Jabotian for eveningwear, Mukhi Sisters for jewelry, Zyne for shoes and Sabry Marouf for bags. Their collections will be available to purchase at

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, chair of Qatar Museums, said the FTA prize is the only initiative of its kind in the Arab world, “creating a space to find, nurture and cultivate the most talented designers on an annual basis. The initiative’s mentorship will help a new wave of talent receive global attention. This commitment to education runs through everything we do at Qatar Museums.”

Fares said it was “immensely exciting to think about what the winners might all be capable of with the mentors and guidance the FTA and its partners will now provide. We hope that FTA will be truly transformative and help to build bridges of understanding between our cultures and others from around the world.”

Funding, up to a maximum of $200,000, was awarded to each category winner, with the amounts tailored to each winning finalist, in line with brand objectives and business plans submitted. A nonprofit organization, FTA grants are awarded in full to the designers.

Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matches, said: “It has been really interesting meeting all the designers in person and we look forward to continuing to support the winners this year through our mentorship program.”

Guests included FTA judges Diane von Furstenberg, Olivier Rousteing, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Victoria Beckham, Zuhair Murad, Alexander Wang, Erdem Moralioglu, Farida Khelfa, Haider Ackermann, Natalia Vodianova, Remo Ruffini, Sarah Mower, Stefano Tonchi, Natalie Kingham, Natalie Massenet, Giambattista Valli, Imaan Hammam, Sonam Kapoor, Edgardo Osorio, Caroline Scheufele, Antoine Arnault, Carla Bruni, Sara Sozzani Maino and Maria Milano.

Guests included Naomi Campbell, Robin Wright, Jourdan Dunn, Alessandra Ambrosio, Hailee Steinfeld, Peter Dundas, Olivia Palermo, Zac Posen, Anna Brewster, Luke Evans, Jef Koons, Shanina Shaik, Stephen Jones and Mary Katrantzou.

Applications for Fashion Trust Arabia 2020 will open in spring 2019.