Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 April 2020

Fashion Forward Dubai: celebrity-approved Saudi Arabian designer Yousef Akbar to make FFWD debut

The designer, who has dressed Chrissy Teigen and Kelly Rowland, will showcase his new collection in April

His designs have already been sported by the likes of Kelly Rowland, Chrissy Teigen and Kelly Osbourne, so Yousef Akbar will be bringing plenty of star power to the runway when he comes to Dubai later this year.

The Saudi Arabian designer has been announced as the winner of Fashion Forward Dubai's Not Just a Label competition, and will unveil his latest collection at the next iteration of the sartorial event, held in Dubai Design District between Thursday to Saturday, April 2 to 4.

Akbar, who was born in Saudi Arabia and studied in Australia, was selected from a pool of 170 applicants to make his FFWD debut.

Yousef Akbar has won Fashion Forward Dubai's Not Just A Label competition. Courtesy Yousef Akbar
Yousef Akbar has won Fashion Forward Dubai's Not Just A Label competition. Courtesy Yousef Akbar

“I am absolutely thrilled and grateful to be selected as the winner of this highly regarded competition and am grateful to both Not Just a Label and Fashion Forward Dubai, for advancing my journey,” said Akbar. “It will enable me to showcase my work to a wider audience. I can’t wait to unveil my latest collection there."

The competition was judged on criteria such as candidates' designs, regional relevance and business acumen, with Akbar's sweeping lines, architectural approach and avant-garde construction winning over the jury.

On the d3 stage, the designer will showcase his Blood Witness collection, a line Akbar says is dedicated to women around the world, from "the widows, the orphans, the teenagers fighting to get an education" to "the abused, and the brave women fighting and standing up for their rights, evolving their cultures, and challenging the norm in their quest for equality and freedom".

As part of his work, Akbar uses recycled materials and works with artisans in communities from the Middle East and beyond, in a bid to create sustainable, socially conscious designs. He first launched his contemporary eveningwear brand in 2017.

“Yousef demonstrates the fluidity and interplay between the Middle East and other fashion markets with his Saudi-meets-Sydney brand journey, and his recognition through the NJAL competition emphasises Fashion Forward Dubai’s commitment to discovering new designers,” said Bong Guerrero, co-founder and chief executive of Fashion Forward Dubai.

Founded in 2013 as a GCC-wide platform for emerging designers, FFWD was originally an ­industry-only event, but has opened to the general public in recent iterations.

After a self-imposed hiatus, the event returned in November with catwalk displays from the likes of Michael Cinco, Roni Helou and Ezra Santos.

Updated: February 17, 2020 04:03 PM

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