The work that this internationally renowned, and unquestionably talented, group of experts has to perform is nothing short of Herculean.

“It’s always such an honor to have the support of some of the most renowned names from the industry. We are grateful for their participation in shortlisting FTA’s Finalists, which really elevates the prize to new heights each year and helps put MENA designers on the global fashion map,” says Tania Fares, Co-Founder of FTA.

Indeed, since 2019, every year FTA’s Advisory Board has had to choose 24 young Arab fashion designers from hundreds and hundreds of applicants, 24 lucky finalists divided into six categories: Ready-to-Wear, Evening Wear, Jewelry, Accessories, Debut Talent and Guest Country. Each year, they must select 24 of the most captivating stories, tales that tell of a bold, witty and sassy fashion, a fashion listening to its time, one that is respectful of women, their desires, their needs and their expectations, but also a conscious, responsible and sustainable fashion. In short, a fashion that makes people dream.

Pushing boundaries

Each year, the Board must choose bridge builders, those who, strong in their Arab DNA and all that it represents, devote their professional career to bringing together Arab and Western cultures, to create dialogue, to ensure they enrich one another. Every year, they search for the new Elie Saab or the next Rabih Kayrouz, the new Azza Fahmi, the heir to Azeddine Alaia, or a young Arab designer who will revolutionize the world of accessories. Each year, they will contribute to reminding all those who would be tempted to forget that the MENA region, with its countless creatives, its artisans, its diversity and its bubbling fashion scene, has so much to offer the world.

In 2022, their task will be even more difficult and their responsibilities even greater, as they will have to choose from between over 900 candidates. One thing is for sure: they are aware of the importance of their mission. “Being part of FTA’s Advisory Board gives me the opportunity to discover and promote the MENA region designers who are pushing boundaries and keeping the Arab world’s artisanal history alive. Supporting artisans empowers entire communities as well as advancing a slow fashion approach that is respectful of both people and planet,” says Carmen Busquets to Pulse. “Being part of the Advisory Board of Fashion Trust Arabia has granted me the incredible opportunity to witness how creativity is blossoming in the Middle East and North Africa. To help discover and nurture new fashion voices through the FTA Prize has been a rewarding adventure, one that uplifts new creatives and expands my horizons,” confirms Nina Garcia.

The new members

This year’s Advisory Board continues a rich legacy of bringing together leading industry talent and tastemakers.

2022’s new members are the fashion director at Dazed, stylist Imruh Asha; the deputy global editorial director at GQ and the head of editorial content at the British GQ, Adam Baidawi; the stylists Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald; the fashion blogger and socialite, Bryan Boy; the casting director, Piergiorgio Del Moro; the head of editorial content at Vogue Japan, Tiffany Godoy; the fashion editor, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson; the founder and creative director of Malone Souliers, Mary Alice Malone; the fashion designer, Erdem Moragliou, who told Pulse that, “It’s such an honor to be part of the FTA Advisory Board, as it continues to support and nourish young creative talent”; the head of editorial content at French GQ, Pierre M’Pele; the creative director of Aquazzura, Edgardo Osorio; and the fashion designer, Olivier Theyskens. Rounding out the newcomers is the creative and artistic director of Maison Repossi, Gaia Repossi, who said to Pulse, “I’m deeply honored to participate and be a member of the jury of the FTA again, but this time to be able to travel and be there will make it even more emotional. I remember being impressed by so many young talents fresh from school, and some still in school, with ideas that were from another level. I remember being alongside figures of our industry like Alber Elbaz, where it was the last time I saw him and talked with him. I will never forget it.”

Returning Advisory Board members from last year’s edition include the fashion curator and retail mastermind, Sarah Andelman; the fashion, tech and beauty entrepreneur, Carmen Busquets; the fashion journalist, author and critic, Alex Fury; the editor-in-chief of Elle USA, Nina Garcia; the founder and creative editor director of Mille World, Sofia Guellaty; the founder of Safe Management, Saif Mahdhi; the creative talent curator, international brand ambassador of Milan Fashion Week and head of special projects at Vogue Italia, Sara Maino; the course director of Central St Martin’s Fashion MA, Fabio Piras; the head of Matches Fashion, Elizabeth Von Der Goltz, and the stylist, fashion consultant and senior contributing fashion editor at Dazed, Patti Wilson.