“Dubai has a fashion personality,” said Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani.
Sozzani was in town to announce the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience at The Dubai Mall, scheduled to take place on October 10, where 180 high street and haute couture brands will take part, with some designing exclusive pieces especially for the event. Think a shopping carnival at a mall, with longer opening hours and special events.
Sozzani will act as mentor to 12 home-grown designers, offering them insights to the newest trends in the fashion industry and evaluating their works.
“I met 12 designers today and three or four of them are very good. I see great potential for them to take their designs abroad. One of the designers that stood out for me was Mohammad Ashi of Ashi Studio — we featured him in our January issue. Toujouri by Lama Al Moattasem was also very good,” she said. “Dubai has the potential but is not regarded as a fashion capital in the world — yet it is heartening to see designers here not copying the work of others but rather displaying their creativity and tradition. They are authentic.”
And that is not all.
“We are looking to bring down some supermodels for the event. I will not say more,” she said with a smile. “I also plan on asking some of the top designers, like Ricardo Tsici and Karl Lagerfeld, to come down to Dubai for this big fashion experience. We want it to be a very grand evening.
Also present at the announcement was Emaar Properties chairman, Mohammad Al Abbar who highlighted that part of the proceeds will go towards the philanthropic organisation Dubai Cares.
“I googled Dubai Cares and read all the material I found. I always say no, but this time I said yes because I saw that the charity and I were on the same page and had the same goals especially education for the underprivileged,” Sozzani said. “Fashion and philanthropy go hand in hand. In fact philanthropy should be a part of your everyday life.
“In the fashion industry, it is important for designers to work within the principles of fair trade. I advised the Emirati designers I am mentoring on that – most of them are couture designers making their work expensive. It is important to bring down prices with a ready to wear line but bringing down prices does not mean you exploit your workers. It is unfair to do so they should be paid the right price. People are not slaves.”
Sozzani was on hand with encouraging words of advice to budding designers, “Follow what you feel is right, do not please people. We compromise enough in our lives but you should not when your dream is so strong.”
And for the Vogue-istas in Dubai, she had a word of advice too, “Do not judge fashion, play with fashion. It’s a dream — be happy in this dream.”
The evening may happen on one night, but it will be the beginning of a new relationship between one of fashion’s powerhouses Vogue, often referred to as the fashion Bible, and Dubai. Sozzani has promised to facilitate distribution channels for the Emirati designers she’s working with for them to act as consultants for some of the biggest brands.
She also confirmed that the Vogue restaurant and café will finally open its doors in May.