People across the Arab world have long had a great attachment to style, always keeping up with the latest trends, so it became only natural for young people from the MENA region to pursue careers in fashion. Here are four amazing ready-to-wear designers competing for this year’s FTA Prize.
Lebanese fashion designer Cynthia Merhej trained at both Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art in London. Through her label Renaissance Renaissance, which she founded in 2016, the Beirut-born designer offers a contemporary reinvention of female couture heritage. Her carefully constructed ready-to-wear collections are stylish, sustainable and created with the careful detailing.
Gleaning inspiration from music, travel and art, Lama Jouni has created an eponymous label that boasts structured silhouettes for women that are both sensual and understated. She studied at ESMOD, Istituto Marangoni and Parsons Paris and trained at such fashion houses as Balmain and Reed Krakoff. Her ready-to-wear collections carry an accessible price point, yet espouse a high fashion ethos.
Prior to launching her eponymous ready-to-wear label in 2014, Maram Aboul Enein completed a BFA at Parsons Paris and trained at such prestigious fashion houses as Oscar de la Renta and Zac Posen. The Maram womenswear brand combines skilled craftsmanship with modern-day luxury, while using sustainably sourced fabrics and espousing ethical manufacturing techniques. Born in Egypt, Maram splits her time between Cairo and Montreal.
Born in Kuwait to Iraqi parents, Zaid Affas first wanted to be an architect like his father, but the love of style that his mother instilled him took him down the fashion design path, graduating from the prestigious Central Saint Martins in menswear fashion design. A citizen of the world, Affas lived in Kuwait City, London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan and Xiamen, China, prior to moving back to Los Angeles, where he launched his eponymous label in 2014. His distinctive, luxury ready-to-wear designs are a blissful mix of organic shapes and urban engineering, reflecting Zaid’s masterful tailoring.