ISIDORA CIRIC & JESSI AMASON (DUBAI)
Amidst the vibrant heart of Dubai's dynamic skyline, Fashion Factor, the largest fashion competition in the Middle East, emerged as the crown jewel of Dubai Fashion Week 2024, showcasing the rich tapestry of creativity and innovation that defines the Middle East's fashion scene with a futuristic flair.
Under the theme “THE FUTURISM”, the event offered a glimpse into cutting edge fashion trends as models showcased the work of seasoned designers and industry newcomers amid the thumping bass of techno music and a winding catwalk.
In an interview with Aletihad, Sherif Thomas, CEO of Fashion Factor’s organiser, Marvels Events Management, explained that the Middle East has become a formidable fashion hub in recent years, bringing together a mélange of talent, vision, and creative homages to heritage.
Previously centred in Europe, the fashion industry is now shifting focus to different parts of the world, driven by a cyclical relationship of increasing investments and an expanding customer base. Within the region, the UAE stands out as the area where this impact is most pronounced, Thomas noted.
“Our prediction is that in the coming years, the UAE will play a leading role in, and mutually nourish the global fashion world, alongside the European region,” Thomas said. “Investments in the region, fashion shows, and independent events like ours emphasise the role of the UAE in the future of the sector.”
The UAE's fashion scene, as described by Thomas, is characterised by a unique confluence of international investments and the presence of renowned industry figures. This blend not only elevates the fashion ecosystem in Dubai, but also amplifies the UAE's position as a robust market.
“Walking down one of Dubai's busiest streets today, you will be greeted by numerous global fashion brands and concept stores on both sides, representing the epitome of this success,” Thomas said, noting that the UAE’s “positive impact” on the regional fashion industry.
Fashion Factor, now in its 7th edition, has been instrumental in not only spotlighting the world of Middle Eastern fashion, but also in cementing the region's status as a key player in the global fashion industry.
“Designers who have received accolades in previous editions now hold significant positions in the industry, highlighting our substantial contribution to the industry's future focus,” Thomas revealed.
Beyond the glamour and avant-garde artistry, sustainability took centre stage at the event, reflecting a broader industry trend towards environmental consciousness.
The competition showcased sustainable fashion, most notably in awarding Indonesian designer Ika Butoni with the “Environmental Consciousness Achievement” for her use of organic fabrics. Thomas aims to extend this trend to future editions, hoping to feature 100% sustainable collections. This move aligns with the Year of Sustainability’s extension into 2024, highlighting Fashion Factor's commitment to promoting eco-friendly fashion practices.
A pivotal aspect of Fashion Factor's success is the active participation of local, Emirati artists, whose inclusion is emblematic of the UAE's commitment to nurturing homegrown creatives.
“Increasing the participation of Emirati artists in the competition is one of our biggest desires and goals. The talents and impact of Emirati artists in the industry are promising for us,” he shared.
“Their involvement not only adds value to Fashion Factor, but also contributes significantly to the global fashion industry, particularly in the UAE,” he added, spotlighting brands like Danya Almulla, AAVVA, and Islam Sabry, among others.