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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 October 2018

Arab Fashion Week: Chief executive Jacob Abrian: ‘Dubai is one of the first fashion capitals to promote ready-couture collections’

The event's chief executive tells us about the star attractions at this season's Arab Fashion Week in Dubai.
Jacob Abrian, chief executive of Arab Fashion Week. Courtesy Arab Fashion Week
Jacob Abrian, chief executive of Arab Fashion Week. Courtesy Arab Fashion Week

Chief executive of Arab Fashion Week Jacob Abrian looks back at the event’s successful 2015 debut and reveals what’s in store for this year’s second edition, where the focus is on sustainability, creating awareness about the brand and developing “global standards” in fashion across the ­region.

Define “ready-­couture”. What will be sent down the ramp this season?

Ready-couture defines high-end exclusive fashion that is ready and available in the stores – without the trouble of it being made-to-measure. Dubai is one of the first fashion capitals to promote ready-couture collections.

What’s new this season?

The Arab Fashion Council is keen to establish a sustainable fashion system, so we’re hosting an ecological fashion presentation where designers are encouraged to use eco-friendly materials in their luxury collections. We also hope to open a channel of communication between the designers and a database of resources and consulting authorities. We’ll be hosting workshops and fashion talks for designers and participants, too. In addition – and in partnership with Italian design school the Domus Academy – we will launch the second AFC scholarship, enabling an Arab designer to pursue a degree in fashion and design. Another milestone is our inaugural fashion awards and red-carpet charity dinner.

What milestones has the council achieved and what does the future road map look like?

The first milestone is that Arab Fashion Week put Dubai on the international fashion map. Our strategy is to adopt and develop global standards in the region and elevate the talent of Arab designers academically. In turn, this will create an Arab fashion system. We’re committed to nurturing upcoming talented designers and young industry professionals by providing the support and resources necessary for them to flourish. Our aim is to have an education system focused on retail fashion trends and foster a sustainable fashion manufacturing industry – a creative economy.

In practical terms, how does the AFC intend to define and grow the regional fashion industry at home and abroad?

There is only one way: create awareness and understand that the fashion system is a creative economic tool – not a festival. And through our initiatives, we’ve started to attract several international brands to set up their business in the region.

Which organisations will directly benefit from the charity dinner on Friday, March 18?

We shortlist the charities connected with the fashion industry. Last year, we supported a master’s degree scholarship worth Dh101,182. Education is the most important cause we support.

Visit www.arabfashionweek.org for the complete show schedule and for buyer/press registration

rduane@thenational.ae