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An Arabic version of the American reality show, Fashion Star, will premiere on Dubai One on February 3. Reem Acra, the internationally acclaimed Lebanese designer, will be the chief mentor on the show, which will see 12 aspiring designers from across the Arab world battle it out for a fashion contract worth Dh500,000.

“There are a lot of singing competition reality shows in the Arab world and none for fashion, so we wanted to introduce this and see how it goes,” said Sarah Al Jarman, the general manager of Dubai One.

The American version of the show, with Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos as judges, aired on NBC for two seasons until 2013.

In the Arabic version, Acra will be joined by international fashion model Hanaa Ben Abdesslem and Ramzi Tabiat, the creative director for retail brand Al Ostoura. The three mentors will put the contestants through their paces as one is eliminated each week. The eventual winner will then be given an opportunity to create a capsule collection for online retailer namshi.com.

The choice of Acra as chief mentor was a no-brainer, adds Al Jarman.

“We wanted a mentor who had a global appeal yet was rooted in the Middle East … someone who understood Eastern and Westerns sensibilities,” she says.

“Our contestants are from almost every country in the Arab world, from the UAE to Saudi and Egypt. “We hand-picked the designers for the premiere season as they needed to have some kind of design knowledge. But they are all young and modern, each with their own unique sense of style.”

Fashion Star will have English subtitles and run for 11 episodes airing every Wednesday at 10pm UAE.