One of the most interesting and long-awaited events in any FTA Prize’s winner journey – after the event itself, of course, took place in London: the mentorship sessions. This year, our talents will be guided by MatchesFashion and Bidayat.

“We’re thrilled to be in London with our 2021 Prize winners and our retail partners MatchesFashion. Not only are we grateful for the invaluable support they continue to provide our MENA region designers through tailored mentorships, but also for the international exposure winners receive on their platform,” says Tania Fares, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of FTA.

Yesterday, Monday June 20th, Zaid Affas (Ready-To-Wear), Alia Bin Omair (Jewelry), Port Tanger (Accessories) and AbdelGader El Tayeb (Debut Talent) gathered together in the British capital at the offices of MatchesFashion. One of the most dynamic e-commerce platforms, MatchesFashion, which has an ongoing partnership with FTA, is always ready to help boost and promote our young, emerging Arab fashion designers’ individual brands.

How will this year-long mentorship work, you may ask? MatchesFashion bought the winner’s first collections as a means to endorse their work and will guide them through the ethics and business of the fashion industry through various experiences.

10:00AM – 11:30AM | E-COMMERCE

The designers met with both the Communications Manager and the Head of Merchandising at MatchesFashion. Georgia Willian and Lesley-Anne Morris introduced how the business operates, covering several areas. MatchesFashion is a modern luxury fashion brand that offers designer clothing for both men and women with a wide selection of accessories, bags and shoes.

The main focus is to support innovation through emergent talents. While many elements play a role in the selling of fashion, e-commerce is seen as essential to a brand. A website is supposed to tell a story and it should be accessible to all customers.

It was also pointed out that the best time for a brand to launch their new collection is during April and October, as buyers will be looking out for new wardrobes with seasonal changes.

“This mentorship means a lot to me as it is going to help guide me onto the right path. I especially look forward to hearing about the e-commerce side of the business as I think it would be essential for my brand strategy,” says Zaid Affas.


The designers showcased their collections in separate rooms giving them the space and opportunity to demonstrate their latest works to the team. Videographers and photographers had a first peak at the FTA winners’ hard work and were later given the chance to speak to each designer individually as the rooms were filled with embellished garments, colorful pieces and stunning designs.

While the designers are still learning how to develop their brands through this mentorship, all were eager, excited and overjoyed to be mentored by the experts around them.

“This is huge for me. I think the mentorship in general is going to help as I will be doing new things and still have a lot to figure out,” says Alia Bin Omair.


Fashion Market Director Megan Reynolds gave a lecture on the importance of organic marketing and creative production and announced that MatchesFashion is dedicating a feature to Fashion Trust Arabia. Reynolds emphasized on the significance of different styling characteristics and the relevance of a concrete campaign for the brands.

The Head of Social, Lindsay Rhee, gave a compelling talk on the significance of social media as a means to measure of success of the brands. Through various components such as followers, growth of the individual brands, key metrics and more, the designers were made aware of the term “organic engagement”, under which all of these elements fall.

“This mentorship is a really good learning experience as it will help me to understand how business works, how to sell my brand, as there are a lot of strategies that I need to acquire for a better outcome,” says Abdel El Tayeb.

Concluding the mentorship sessions, the Director of Strategic Partnerships, Simone Parchment, invited the designers to reflect on how different brand partnerships could lead to a successful business.

“Today, I have learned again about the importance of mentorship and the ecosystem that is required to sustain our brand across time. There are a lot of moving parts that are reflected back today, from social engagement and social media to the way the commerce works, just to be reminded of all the moving parts that are necessary to sustain a brand [is really useful],” says Port Tanger.

The day concluded with an afternoon with the press.

“We are so delighted to welcome the winners of the FTA 2021 Award to 5 Carlos Place. It has been a pleasure to work closely with Tania and the FTA team to introduce these designers to the UK media,” says Elizabeth Von Der Goltz – Chief Commercial Officer at MatchesFashion.