Since 2019, here at Pulse we’ve been proud to be part of one of the most anticipated nights on the Arab fashion calendar. We’re, of course, talking about the announcement of the 24 finalists for the Fashion Trust Arabia Prize. Today, July 18th, the hearts of more than 900 Arab fashion designers surely skipped a beat or two; 24 of them are extremely happy, and the others will console themselves with the knowledge that they can apply again next year for what is now seen as one of the most efficient financial support, guidance and mentorship programs in the MENA region.
The FTA Advisory Board have voted. Sarah Andelman, Imruh Asha, Adam Baidawi, Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald, Bryan Boy, Carmen Busquets, Piergiorgio Del Moro, Alex Fury, Nina Garcia, Tiffany Godoy, Sofia Guellaty, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Saif Mahdi, Sara Maino, Mary Alice Malone, Erdem Moragliou, Pierre M’Pele, Edgardo Osorio, Fabio Piras, Gaia Repossi, Olivier Theyskens, Elizabeth Von Der Goltz, and Patti Wilson had the very difficult task of selecting 24 talents from among the hundreds of applications that came in through FTA’s website this year. The least we can say is that they lived up to this heavy responsibility: The 24 designers who make up our Advisory Board look a lot like a dream team.
It’s already a fact, plain and simple, when we read their bios, and browse their lookbooks and their websites: The 24 selected artists have embraced fashion as a cause, they’re here, not only to produce beautiful pieces and sell them, but also to help people, to preserve their heritage, and to be faithful to their roots. They are in tune with their time, concerned about sustainability, ethics and inclusivity; they want to bring cultures together, to defy the norms, be bigger than life, change mentalities and allow everyone in the MENA region to be themselves.
And, most of all, they want to empower women, to help every woman be unique and sublime, this year more than any other. We say this year more than ever, because something has made us very proud and happy: 80% of the FTA Prize finalists in 2022 are women, when last year they made up only 50%. As symbolic as this number is, it means a lot in a region and an industry still dominated by men.
Over the next few days and weeks, you will get to know each one of the 24 members of our 2022 dream team, who hail from ten different countries: Morocco (five finalists), Lebanon (four finalists), Egypt (three finalists, one of them born and raised in Qatar), Sudan (2 finalists), Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Syria and Kuwait (1 finalist each). But for now, let’s start by seeing who they are and how they envision fashion.