vogue fashion prize

Promoting a Collection Inspired by Her Palestinian Heritage, Reemami Releases a Major New Inclusive Campaign

Promoting a Collection Inspired by Her Palestinian Heritage, Reemami Releases a Major New Inclusive Campaign

Reemami campaign featuring Abeer Issam. Photo: Courtesy Reemami
Reema Al Banna, the designer behind the UAE-based ready-to-wear brand Reemami is in the midst of launching her new seasonless campaign with an army of 14 women. Artists, performers, and women who are contributing to their community are featured one by one in the new designs inspired by Al Banna’s own Palestinian heritage. Al Banna reveals that this is the first time she references her Palestinian heritage via her 12-year-old brand. “I had a lot of fun sketching these memories—my mom’s traditional cuisine, for example. I also worked with Palestinian refugee women—using their leftover patchworks—making prints that show the embroidery “x” symbol. There is also the damask rose, used heavily in Palestinian thobes translated onto dresses,” she explains of the collection that showcases colorful trompe l’oeil, body hugging dresses; stirrup leggings; shirts; and structured miniskirts giving the collection an overall sporty, urban vibe.
Reemami campaign featuring Abir. Photo: Courtesy Reemami
The campaign launched this week with singer Abir, followed by dancer Carolina. Now, Al Banna releases the images of Sudanese Abeer Issam (first image) through Vogue Arabia. “I came across her profile on social media,” offers Al Banna. I was looking for a diverse cast, I reached out and we had a few friends in common.” Issam works for Dubai Cares in the UAE and shares that this was the first time she posed for the camera. “The shoot was an exciting, entirely outside my comfort zone experience, that I knew I had to push myself to do because it would help me grow and it did,” expresses Issam. “I grew more comfortable with myself, more confident in my truth, and a little more at ease with being seen or perceived,” she adds. Issam shares that her favorite thing to do is laugh, “Be it at myself, the state of the world, or at a good, comedic act—I’ll take what I can get. Nothing makes me happier than traveling and immersing in a new culture, from music to food, to history, to what’s considered a standard of normal—all of it.” She concludes that music also brings her “immense joy.” Follow Reemami to watch the rest of the campaign photographed by Zeashan Ashraf and with hair and makeup by Moona Sultan and Bisma Humaira unfold.
Reemami campaign featuring Carolina. Courtesy Reemami
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Announcing the Winner of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered by NEOM

Announcing the Winner of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered by NEOM

2020 Vogue Fashion Prize winner, Mohamed Benchellal. Photographed by Michel Takla for Vogue Arabia

After weeks of excitement and anticipation, the finale of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, powered by NEOM has arrived. This year’s prize returned bigger and better than ever before, highlighting sustainability at its core and looking to empower some of the region’s most talented designers. From more than 250 people across 20 countries applying to be part of the illustrious program, only 10 finalists were carefully selected.
Over the past three weeks, finalists Karim Adduchi, Yousef Akbar, Benchellal, Jude Benhalim, Born In Exile, Emergency Room, Harithand, Lama Jouni, Lurline, and Ilyes Ouali have been preparing for the final stages of the Vogue Fashion Prize.
With the immense talents of all the finalists, the jury was faced with an almost impossible decision: who out of these vast talents could win? However, a decision was made with the winner revealed at an intimate gala held at the Armani Hotel in Dubai.
The evening honored this year’s finalists and saw Moroccan couture womenswear designer Benchellal crowned as the winner of this year’s Vogue Fashion Prize. Karim Adduchi was named as first runner-up, with Lurline and Lama Jouni both placing as second runners-up.
“It was an incredible honor to receive so many applications to the Fashion Prize this year from all over the world, and to be joined by a prestigious jury featuring some of the most iconic names in the fashion industry,” said Manuel Arnaut, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Arabia. “This unique combination enabled us to continue to deliver one of Vogue Arabia’s core aims: being at the center of the fashion ecosystem in the Arab world by nurturing its emerging designers. Thank you to our partner NEOM, with whom we created a beautiful narrative around sustainability, and congratulations to all of the finalists and winners.”
Here is all you need to know about this year’s winners.
Winner: Benchellal
Benchellal. Photographed by Michel Takla for Vogue Arabia

Moroccan designer Mohamed Benchellal has been named as the winner for the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize with his couture womenswear label Benchellal.
Holding sustainability at the core of the brand, Benchellal impressed the jury with his contemporary yet timeless designs that exude the ultimate sense of glamour. “If I win the Vogue Fashion Prize, the prize would not be for me. The prize would be for all those women who feel empowered, beautiful, and elegant dressed in Benchellal,” the designer previously said.
Benchellal will receive a financial grant valued at US $150,000, alongside editorial/press, marketing, and mentorship, as well as a placement on Net-a-Porter.
First runner-up: Karim Adduchi
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize first runner-up, Karim Adduchi. Photographed by Michel Takla for Vogue Arabia

Moroccan-born artist and designer Karim Adduchi is the first runner-up of this year’s prize. He presented his impressive and unique creations – drawn from the inspiration of his rich heritage – to acclaim from the jury. Karim Adduchi will receive a financial grant of US $50,000 to further develop his couture womenswear label.
Joint second runner-up: Lurline
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize joint second runners-up Sarah and Siham Albinali of Lurline

Sisters Sarah and Siham Albinali of Saudi Arabian ready-to-wear label Lurline was named as joint second runners-up in the competition. Embracing soft goth fashion mixed with refined femininity, Lurline takes pride in its approach combining traditional and modern techniques to create their pieces, challenging preconceived notions of what Saudi fashion looks like. It’s creative and voluminous flair captured the attention of the jury. Lurline will receive a financial grant of US $25,000 to further develop its ready-to-wear brand.
Lurline. Photographed by Michel Takla for Vogue Arabia

Joint second runner-up: Lama Jouni
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize joint second runner-up Lama Jouni

Lebanese designer Lama Jouni was also named joint second runner-up of the Vogue Fashion Prize. Since Lama Jouni’s launch in 2016, the Lebanese designer has created a series of collections inspired by music, travel, and art, and at accessible price points. Her bold yet sophisticated and contemporary designs representing the fierce yet understated woman, impressed the jury. Lama Jouni will also receive a financial grant of US $25,000 to further develop her eponymous ready-to-wear label.
Lama Jouni. Photographed by Michel Takla for Vogue Arabia

The entire class of this year’s finalists will present their collections at an exclusive Fashion Prize showroom during Paris fashion week in March 2021.
Read Next: Behind the Scenes: Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered By NEOM Finalists Photo Shoot

Behind the Scenes with the Finalists of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered by NEOM

Behind the Scenes with the Finalists of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered by NEOM

The climax of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, powered by NEOM is drawing near – and these 10 Middle Eastern designers are so close they can almost taste it. Having been shortlisted by the Vogue Fashion Prize jury, the designers have been hard at work in their ateliers preparing to present their final entries and await the announcement of the jury’s selection.
The final winner of the Vogue Fashion Prize, powered by NEOM, will receive financial grants, retail opportunities, press coverage, marketing and mentorship – an endowment worth nearly US $500,000. So how have the 10 finalists coped with the prestige and pressure of being shortlisted for this immense award? Speaking from the fashion coalface, they tell all about their creative process and what this prize means to them.
Karim Adduchi
Karim Adduchi

“I’m honored and grateful that the jury has given me this opportunity. Just being able to have the platform to share my story is a win for me. To connect to an audience that I couldn’t reach by myself is a big chance to get to know myself and learn from this experience.
Behind the scenes with Karim Adduchi

I’m working towards something new and different for me, to challenge myself and get out of the box. What inspires me is the problem-solving goal. The prize isn’t just about creating beauty but also protecting the beauty of our planet and society. It’s been challenging and exciting, and now it’s time to compress my ideas into reality. I want to enjoy this time, let go, and be present.”
Yousef Akbar
Yousef Akbar

“Being part of one of the biggest global fashion prizes in the industry is a great honor and it’s a privilege to be among so many talented finalists. At first I was in disbelief! And for my work to be reviewed by this incredible panel of judges is crazy. I am thrilled to have a light on my work, giving my brand credibility and exposure.
Yousef Akbar’s mood board and swatches

We have a strong focus on sustainability and this year’s Vogue Fashion Prize powered by NEOM totally aligns with our vision. This is an exciting time! For us it’s not just about creating more products to sell. Being a small brand, we don’t follow seasonal cycles; rather, we focus on creativity and creating sustainably.”
Mohamed Benchellal: Benchellal
Mohamed Benchellal

“After seeing an inspiring interview with Abdulaziz Alsanousi about the 3,500-year-old valley heritage location at NEOM, I decided to pay a visit to the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, to view its archaeological collections. I’m basing my research on artifacts from different civilizations.
Mohamed Benchellal finds inspiration in the museum

I’m always drawn to this world of elegance and beauty and timelessness – throughout life, how the woman is portrayed in an iconic way. I think that women want to be seen in a beautiful and elegant way, and I can give them that.”
Jude Benhalim
Jude Benhalim

“It has been a very tough year on all of us, and on business owners especially. So to have been able to overcome the challenges of 2020 and to be rewarded in this incredibly gratifying way is something that I will never forget.
Jude Benhalim’s mood board

The concept of sustainability being at the core of the competition has made this challenge extremely exciting – the earth colors, vast spaces, mountainous textures, and minimal details. I hope to translate into my designs the idea that NEOM will amalgamate a futuristic aesthetic with conserving nature. My designs are very much representative of that mixture of concepts. I’m also keeping sustainability and post-pandemic jewelry trends, including futuristic and sophisticated volumes, comfort, and timelessness, at the core of my designs.”
Ibrahim Shebani: Born In Exile
Ibrahim Shebani

“For me the Vogue Fashion Prize isn’t just a challenge, it’s a learning curve. I’m learning so much about sustainability and ethical fashion through the research we are doing, as well as about the whole project of NEOM. I come from an architectural background, and to see a project like this is inspiring and has given us so many ideas. We are working around the clock and we are really excited.
Ibrahim Shebani’s swatches and inspirations

Being shortlisted was an ignition – all the hard work has paid off and now we have the opportunity to win this. The timing is very tight but we are working hard to win it and we are very excited, humbled and honored to be among the top 10 designers from the MENA region.”
Eric Mathieu Ritter: Emergency Room
Eric Mathieu Ritter

“The Vogue Fashion Prize is a key moment for Emergency Room – our work is validated by experts. Somehow just being here and still being active after the year we have had, especially in Beirut, is an achievement. Some designers left, some won’t rebuild their shops, some moved completely online. It’s not just the blast, it’s the whole year. Living through something so massive makes you appreciate every part of life and be present because you’re lucky to be doing what you’re doing.
Eric Mathieu Ritter’s work in progress

I was on a video call with my team when I found out we were shortlisted, and I just lost it for a moment! We have developed and built a business that’s really disruptive, but to be recognized as being worthy of being in this competition tells me that we are relevant and we are going in the right direction. It’s comforting to know that.”
Harith Hashim: Harithand
Harith Hashim

“I’d never participated in any competition before, but my good friend, the designer Nicolas Jebran, called me and said, ‘You need to do this competition and you should win this!’ When I found out I was a finalist, the first thing I did was call him.
Harith Hashim sketching his designs

Design-wise I’m just following my instincts. If you already know my brand, I want you to be able to recognize it and say, ‘This is Harithand.’ At the same time, I want to show what sustainability means to me. It’s not always about using recycled fabric – it’s also about designing something that is timeless. My main target is creating clothes that a woman will never get bored of. Impeccable tailoring is also a form of sustainability; investing in pieces you will wear forever. Fall in love with them, celebrate in them, and build unforgettable memories in them.”
Lama Jouni
Lama Jouni

“I feel ready to take my brand to the next level, and being shortlisted for the Vogue Fashion Prize will only get me closer to my goal, so I was super excited and happy when I found out. I want to submit something that is forward, coherent, and bold.
Lama Jouni’s NEOM mood board

Growing up in Saudi Arabia and seeing the direction it’s taking towards the future is very inspiring to me. I always saw its beauty and NEOM is shedding more light on it. I feel like it relates to my brand with the steps it’s taking towards sustainability and innovation. As a designer I believe evolution is the way to success. The theme I am following is earthy tones with pastels and bold silhouettes yet still keeping it comfortable.”
Siham & Sarah Albinali: Lurline
Sarah and Siham Albinali

“We are greatly inspired by the entire NEOM initiative. It is so progressive yet focuses on preservation at the same time, which is something we appreciate. We particularly took to the wonderful landscapes presented to us in the challenge and that is something we are looking forward to exploring in our designs.
Sarah and Siham Albinali’s mood board

It feels surreal to be part of the Vogue Fashion Prize! We are so thankful and grateful to Vogue Arabia and NEOM for this wonderful opportunity to showcase what Lurline is about. We are trying not to overthink the challenges and just enjoy the entire process. It is truly exciting.”
Ilyes Ouali
Ilyes Ouali

“This competition is a fresh and exciting experience that came after some rough times. It’s challenging, but it’s taking me back to my university days when we used to work until the early hours on projects and I was squeezing my mind for pure experimental creativity.
Ilyes Ouali’s design inspirations

The source of inspiration from NEOM is very interesting and innovative, but I wanted to approach it from a different angle. I’ve been looking at the heritage of the Tabuk area of Saudi Arabia, the native people and the way they used to dress, transporting it to a new dimension in the future. I’m trying to keep the Ilyes Ouali woman in mind while still imagining her in a new lifestyle that is more responsible and technological.”
Read Next: How Vogue Fashion Prize Finalists Plan to Take On the NEOM Design Challenge

How Vogue Fashion Prize Finalists Plan to Take On the NEOM Design Challenge

How Vogue Fashion Prize Finalists Plan to Take On the NEOM Design Challenge

This year’s Vogue Fashion Prize is powered by Saudi Arabia’s forward-thinking giga-project, NEOM. This ambitious global hub is being built on the vision of a sustainable future for a diverse international community. It will incorporate the natural beauty of Saudi Arabia’s north-western Red Sea region with cutting-edge architecture and sustainable resources, to create cities, ports, […]
The post How Vogue Fashion Prize Finalists Plan to Take On the NEOM Design Challenge appeared first on Vogue Arabia.

What’s Inspiring The 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize Finalists?

What’s Inspiring The 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize Finalists?

They are on course to win the Middle East’s biggest fashion competition. So what’s firing these young designers’ creativity? The finalists open up about their muses, background, and where their designs will take us. Ibrahim Shebani: Born In Exile “What’s inspiring me right now is that I really want this. I’m working so hard because […]
The post What’s Inspiring The 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize Finalists? appeared first on Vogue Arabia.

How To Build Your Fashion Career – The Experts Tell All

How To Build Your Fashion Career – The Experts Tell All

Model Amina wears blazer, pants, belt, bag, shoes, necklaces, Alexander McQueen. Photography: Rok Trzan. Styling: Jelusic Davor

You’ve got the talent and you’ve got the ideas, so how do you make the leap from bedroom seamstress to international design sensation? Vogue.me gets career advice from the fashion industry’s kingmakers.
“When we started Okhtein we didn’t have a budget, it was just mine and my sister’s savings,” says Aya Abdelraouf, one half of Egyptian accessories design sister-duo Okhtein. “We wanted to start out right, without compromise – but we just didn’t have the money. So we collaborated. We had a strong story and a strong vision, and we went to friends of friends to ask for help making it reality. An old school friend created our logo, we gifted bags to photographers in exchange for shoots, we even did our own PR on Instagram. And it was enough to get us going.”
“In the current landscape where there is so much noise, communication is essential for designers to maintain awareness and break through the din,” says Dipesh Depala, Managing Partner of luxury communications agency The Qode. “The first step is to research the leading, mid-range and boutique agencies. Do your due diligence as to their expertise, clients, previous clients and references. The most important thing, that is often overlooked, is to make sure to speak to ex-clients to understand their experience with the agency and how effective they were.”
“We look for a distinct point of view, a recognisable signature,” says Libby Page, Senior Market Editor at e-commerce giant Net-A-Porter. “With the industry showcasing more new designers than ever before it’s important that they offer something we cannot get from our existing brands. We look for the sort of unmistakable design DNA that makes a brand instantly recognizable.”
And how can that be achieved outside design alone? “Storytelling!” says Depala. “Create high quality assets that reflect your brand. Small format presentations and events for press and potential customers is an effective and manageable way to present collections, and careful engagement of relevant and credible influencers can be very effective.”
“We started out with social media, and the sky’s the limit,” says Abdelraouf. “We had interest from all over the world and we liked that we weren’t restricted to showing in one place. But as we were in Cairo with a niche fashion scene we felt we should go where there were fashion weeks, starting off with London. It was perfect for networking and a fantastic learning experience.”
Page is clear that the runway can be both a blessing and a curse: “An amazing runway show can stay with you forever. These moments help introduce the brand to the mainstream media, widening awareness which is invaluable to a new label. However, runway shows are incredibly expensive and time-consuming, and we have seen an increase in designers creating films, digital showrooms and experiential collection boxes, which are meaningful ways to introduce your brand and collections. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the traditional runway format.”
Depala cautions against a sashay down the catwalk: “I don’t believe runway shows are an effective way for new brands to communicate. Not only is it an extremely costly exercise which very few new brands can afford, it also lacks a degree of credibility when a new brand starts with runway shows. Digital, targeted strategies will be far more effective in your brand communication.”
Model Amina wears coat, shoes, Miu Miu. Photography: Rok Trzan. Styling: Jelusic Davor

Liking and scrolling isn’t enough; social media can be a massively powerful tool for a young brand, if you know how to use it. “This has become a crucial part of the communication landscape,” says Depala.  “How effective it is depends on how intelligently and discerningly you engage. Quality and strategy is key, especially for social media.”
But if you can harness social media correctly, the rewards can be huge. One of Okhtein’s earliest breaks came from a little bit of luck and a lot of social media savvy. “Emma Watson retweeted an article about our work with underprivileged women,” says Abdelraouf. “I did some research and found out who her stylist is. We took a screenshot of the retweet, shared it on Instagram and tagged her stylist to get her attention – it worked because when the stylist sent us a DM we offered to send two bags, one for her and one for Emma. And that was how Emma Watson ended up wearing our design! That was a real milestone and when we knew we could go global.”
Knowing how the industry works can make all the difference when transforming passion into a career. Design school can be a gateway to fantastic contacts as well as training, but it’s not the only way.
“My parents didn’t want me to leave Cairo to study, but there were no options for fashion school here,” says Abdelraouf. “My mum told me ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’. I learned from artisans and I made it happen.
“Then there was the Vogue Fashion Prize which was a very big deal for us. We were surrounded by big names, and when we won it opened a lot of doors for us. But even if we hadn’t won the comments and feedback were useful and we would have left Fashion Prize knowing what to work on – things we had no idea about before. So it was definitely a learning experience for us,” adds Abdelraouf.
“In this industry you need a lot of confidence, a lot of perseverance and to be true to who you are,” says Abdelraouf.
Depala echoes this with his top tips for new brands: “Differentiate yourself. Think commercially. Have a strong digital strategy including social media. Evolve your brand but stay true to your aesthetic.”
Page recommends pushing the design limits: “It is crucial to have an understanding of the market – what can you create that does not already exist? How can you stand out in a saturated market? This is what we look for when onboarding new brands.”
Read Next: Meet The Finalists of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered by NEOM

Meet The Finalists of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered by NEOM

Meet The Finalists of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered by NEOM

Meet The Finalists of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered by NEOM

The return of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, powered by NEOM, has, so far, been nothing short of sensational. Offering the chance for emerging designers to showcase their work on a global platform, the empowering event has returned bigger than ever before, with sustainability at the core of this year’s prize.
Since its launch in 2015, the Fashion Prize has catapulted some of the most promising regional designers to stardom. With world-class industry professionals on this year’s jury, we saw more than 250 people across 20 countries apply to be part of the illustrious program. From the hundreds of talented applicants, 10 finalists have been carefully selected, each specializing in either ready-to-wear, couture, accessories, and high jewelry categories. Without further ado, Vogue Arabia presents the finalists of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize.
Mohamed Benchellal: Benchellal
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist Mohamed Benchellal of Benchellal

Category: CoutureCountry: Morocco
Moroccan designer Mohamed Benchellal launched his couture womenswear label Benchelall in Amsterdam in 2015. Benchellal’s atelier holds sustainable and ethical values at its core, taking an intricately handcrafted approach to each garment. Looking to establish a future of fashion where couture and sustainability go hand in hand, Benchellal has garnered international interest through his playful, contemporary, yet timeless designs.
Ibrahim Shebani: Born in Exile
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist Ibrahim Shebani of Born in Exile

Category: Ready-to-wearCountry: Libya
German-born, Libyan designer Ibrahim Shebani was inspired to launch his luxury ready-to-wear label in 2018. Aptly named Born in Exile, the brand reflects Shebani’s experience of his family’s exile from their home country in the 1970s. His powerful designs represent a modern twist on Libya’s rich culture and folklore traditions, turning them into everyday garments.
Eric Mathieu Ritter: Emergency Room
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist Eric Mathieu Ritter of Emergency Room

Category: Ready-to-wearCountry: Lebanon
Ready-to-wear label Emergency Room was born from the mind of designer Eric Mathieu Ritter. The Beirut-based brand launched in 2018, inspired by the necessity of sourcing a sustainable and ethical alternative to clothing creation. Each garment designed by Ritter utilizes dead-stock fabrics and unique vintage materials, forming Emergency Room’s conscious ready-to-wear collections.
Harith Hashim: Harithand
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist Harith Hashim of Harithand

Category: Ready-to-wearCountry: Lebanon
Baghdad-born, Iraqi-Lebanese designer Harith Hashim established his luxury ready-to-wear label Harithand in 2012. Hashim’s creative flair, use of couture codes, and playful ruffles bring his vision of chemistry between a woman and her clothes to life, through his elegant collections of formal daywear and evening pieces.
Ilyes Ouali
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist Ilyes Ouali

Category: Ready-to-wearCountry: Algeria
Algerian designer Ilyes Ouali’s namesake brand was conceived in 2016, inspired by his mother’s style. Taking inspiration from his mother’s impeccable wardrobe, Ouali redesigned eveningwear styles to represent the modern consumer, while retaining traditional feminine elegance.
Jude Benhalim
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist Jude Benhalim

Category: JewelryCountry: Egypt
Cairo-based jewelry designer Jude Benhalim founded her eponymous label with her mother and partner, Rana Alazm, in 2011. Born and raised in Egypt, the designer’s statement pieces reflect the modern women that serves as Benhalim’s muse. Finding inspiration in geometric shapes and architectural designs, Benhalim curates intricately handcrafted pieces made with the bold female spirit in mind.
Karim Adduchi
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist Karim Adduchi

Category: CoutureCountry: Morocco
Moroccan-born artist and designer Karim Adduchi launched his womenswear label in 2015 and has since seen his collections grace the runway at Paris and Amsterdam fashion weeks. Previously named on Forbes Europe and Forbes Middle East’s 30 under 30 lists as a designer to watch, Adduchi’s unique creations are recognized as examples of self-expression and globalization, often drawn from inspiration of his rich heritage.
Lama Jouni
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist Lama Jouni

Category: Ready-to-wearCountry: Lebanon
Before establishing her eponymous ready-to-wear label, Lama Jouni trained at Balmain. Since Lama Jouni’s launch in 2016, the Lebanese designer has created a series of collections inspired by music, travel, and art, focusing on captivating silhouettes for the fierce yet understated woman.
Sarah and Siham Albinali: Lurline
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalists Sarah and Siham Albinali of Lurline

Category: Ready-to-wearCountry: Saudi Arabia
Sisters Sarah and Siham Albinali launched their ready-to-wear label Lurline in 2018. Born in Saudi Arabia, Sarah and Siham bring their conception of the modern woman to life in their unconventional and daring designs. Embracing soft goth fashion mixed with refined femininity, Lurline takes pride in its approach combining traditional and modern techniques to create their timeless pieces.
Yousef Akbar
2020 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist Yousef Akbar

Category: CoutureCountry: Saudi Arabia
Born and raised in Jeddah, Yousef Akbar has been passionate about fashion from a young age. The Saudi couturier launched his namesake label at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2017. The brand credits its foundations to creating ethical and responsible garments, infused with elegance and femininity, made by using recycled materials.
Read Next: Why Sustainability is at the Heart of the Vogue Fashion Prize Powered by NEOM

Why Sustainability is at the Heart of the Vogue Fashion Prize Powered by NEOM

Why Sustainability is at the Heart of the Vogue Fashion Prize Powered by NEOM

Vogue Arabia sustainability editor-at-large Livia Firth at the Dhaka factory in Bangladesh. Courtesy Livia Firth

Today (November 18) is the last day to apply for the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize Powered by NEOM and at the core of this fashion prize edition is an important issue: sustainability.
Not a one-off, sustainability has been ingrained in the ethos of both Vogue Arabia and NEOM for years. In December 2019, Vogue launched Vogue Values, announcing it as “a testament to the power of the global brand when it speaks with a collective voice.” The statement of principles is one that each Vogue editor-in-chief has signed their name to.
In parallel, the foundations of the Saudi region of NEOM were assuredly being laid. Dubbed a “living laboratory” built on the Red Sea, NEOM is set to transform the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into a leading global innovation and trade center using sustainable practices. As NEOM was exploring digital sciences, automated civil service, and advanced manufacturing, Vogue Arabia was staunchly searching to make a meaningful contribution to its Vogue Values, one that would be heard around the world. The hire of sustainability editor-at-large Livia Firth furthered that goal. In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before NEOM and Vogue Arabia would join forces, to collectively seek out and elevate burgeoning talent imbued with and aspiring to go above and beyond sustainable practices.

The fashion industry sorely needs it. A US $2.5 trillion global business, fashion is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions. Also, a shocking 2,700 liters of water is wasted to produce one shirt, and almost 4 000 liters of water is need to produce a single pair of jeans. What’s more, latest research has revealed that 21 billion tons of clothes are sent to landfills each year, and 40% of clothing purchased is never worn. While these stats aren’t new, they must be at the forefront of the minds of all of fashion’s players, specifically those next-generation designers who have the ability to action real change from creator to consumer.
At the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize launch announcement, Wayne Borg, Managing Director of the Media, Entertainment, Culture, and Fashion sectors at NEOM, iterated, “Celebrating and promoting emerging Saudi talent is a fundamental aspect of NEOM’s mandate, along with advancing sustainability and innovation in fashion as we create a global research and development center to drive the future of fashion in terms of what we wear and how we wear it – sustainably and ethically.” He concluded that the platform “will support the incredible talent of our community and provide a path to the future of sustainable fashion.”
The winners of the 2020 Fashion Prize will be determined by its committee, and winners will be announced next month with the Fashion Prize awarding the designers substantial financial grants, retail opportunities, press editorial, marketing, and mentorship, collectively representing nearly US $500,000 in value. The winning designer will receive a placement on Net-a-Porter and all 2020 finalists will be present at an exclusive Fashion Prize showroom during Paris fashion week in March 2021. If you’ve yet to sign up, do so now.
Read Next: Former Vogue Fashion Prize winners reflect on their success

Why You Need to Apply for the Biggest Ever Vogue Fashion Prize Now

Why You Need to Apply for the Biggest Ever Vogue Fashion Prize Now

The Vogue Fashion Prize 2020.

In case you missed it, the Vogue Fashion Prize is back, and it’s bigger than ever before. Since its announcement on October 29, the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, powered by NEOM, has taken the Arab world by storm. From aspiring and established designers including Mohammed Ashi and Nicolas Jebran, to industry professionals such as stylists Yasmine Eissa and Aram Kabbani, the empowering event has got everyone talking. The Middle Eastern entertainment industry has also shown its support toward the Fashion Prize, as celebrities Dorra Zarrouk, Lojain Omran, Raya Abirached, Kinda Alloush, Hend Sabri, Salma Abu Deif and Tara Emad took to social media to share the announcement and celebrate the prize’s aim to nurture regional talent.

Here, we look at what makes the 2020 edition of Vogue Fashion Prize so special:
A prize unlike any other
This year’s Fashion Prize will award the winning designers substantial financial grants, retail opportunities, editorial/press, marketing, and mentorship, collectively representing nearly US $500,000 in value. The winning designer will receive a placement on Net-a-Porter. What’s more, all 2020 finalists will present their collections at an exclusive Fashion Prize showroom during Paris fashion week in March 2021.
Record number of applications
This year has seen applications from more than 200 (and counting) aspiring designers – breaking the record of the previous Fashion Prize editions. While the competition may be intense, if you have what it takes to be the Arab world’s next star designer, make sure to apply via the Fashion Prize site no later than November 18. Nominees will be revealed in late November, and winners will be announced at the grand Fashion Prize event in December.
Focus on sustainability 
More than anything, sustainability is now a necessity in everything we do. After becoming one of the first Vogues to bring on a sustainability editor (Livia Firth), who is also a Fashion Prize jury member, this partnership with NEOM makes our commitment to the cause that much more significant. NEOM is a giga-project located in the northwest of Saudi Arabia with a particular emphasis on fostering innovation and sustainability in the fashion sector. Together, we aim to unearth the next generation of innovative designers and launch businesses that stand the test of time and have sustainability at their core.

An inspiring jury
The jury of the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize comprises some of the industry’s most talented and successful professionals, who know first-hand what it takes to break through in the fashion world. It includes Manuel Arnaut, editor-in-chief, Vogue Arabia; Katie Trotter, fashion director, Vogue Arabia; Angelica Cheung, editor-in-chief, Vogue China; HH Princess Noura bint Faisal Al Saud, Fashion Commission, Saudi Ministry of Culture; Livia Firth, founder, Eco-Age and sustainability editor-at-large, Vogue Arabia; Amina Muaddi, founder and creative director, Amina Muaddi; Mohammed Ashi, founder and creative director, Ashi Studio; Farida Khelfa, international fashion model and filmmaker; fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier; and Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director, Net-a-Porter.
With a jury like this, not only does the Fashion Prize offer a chance for designers to take their talent to their world, but also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their work critiqued by the judges.
How to apply?
Since 2015, hundreds of designers from nearly 20 countries across the Arab world have applied to the Fashion Prize. Applications for the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize are open now at fashionprize.com. Join us on the journey on social media via #VogueFashionPrize and #DiscoverNEOM
Applicant requirements:
• You are over the age of 21 and currently residing in, or originally from, an Arab country* or have your business principally based in the Arab world;• You have been in business for a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 8, and produced a minimum of 2 full collections during this time;• Your collection consists of womenswear (ready-to-wear or couture), accessories, jewelry, or menswear;• You have international or regional stockists and/or sell direct to consumer;• You’re able to demonstrate support from regional and/or international media; and• You’ve never won the award before.• Note: You can apply up to 5 times. Previous finalists may also apply.
*The Arab world includes: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The Arab diaspora is also eligible.
Read Next: Vogue Fashion Prize: Previous Winners Reflect on Their Success

Vogue Fashion Prize: Looking Back at the Success Stories of Previous Winners

Vogue Fashion Prize: Looking Back at the Success Stories of Previous Winners

Previous Vogue Fashion Prize winners

Since its inception in 2015, the Vogue Fashion Prize has catapulted some of the most promising regional designers to stardom. The program has seen hundreds of designers from 20 countries across the Arab world apply for a chance to win the top prizes in ready-to-wear, accessories, and high jewelry categories. Previous winners, including Hussein Bazaza, Reemami, and Ralph Masri, have gone on to achieve international acclaim. The Vogue Fashion Prize is an event that can change a designer’s career and this month, powered by NEOM, the Vogue Fashion Prize makes a return – and it’s going to be bigger than ever before.
As we prepare for the return of the pioneering initiative, let’s take a look at the careers of some of the previous winners.
Ralph Masri
2016 Vogue Fashion Prize high jewelry winner Ralph Masri. Photo: Supplied

Since winning the high jewelry category at the 2016 Vogue Fashion Prize, Ralph Masri has seen nothing but success. The Lebanese master craftsman has seen his collections adored by celebrities, influencers, and royalty across the world and is a favorite of Queen Rania of Jordan, Céline Dion, Gigi Hadid, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Beirut-born Masri started out as one of the region’s most promising designers, and with his meticulous construction and stunning creations, he has established himself as one of the top names in the competitive world of contemporary fine jewelry. Prior to his success with the Vogue Fashion Prize in 2016, Masri had already begun to make a name for himself on the jewelry scene. When he was 18, he won the Swarovski Award, which saw him work for the crystal giant for a year. At 20, he became the youngest student ever to be nominated for the UK Jewellery Award, while a student at the world-renowned Central Saint Martins design college. It was this recognition that pushed him to establish his eponymous label in 2014 and later apply for the Vogue Fashion Prize in 2016.

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“Having a name like Vogue Arabia and the Fashion Prize backing you helps elevate your brand to a new level,” Masri told Vogue Arabia, when reflecting on his award-winning success. Although winning the Vogue Fashion Prize was not Masri’s first taste of victory, it was a defining moment in his career, and one that saw his confidence soar. “It gave me much more confidence, much more credibility; it made me trust my instinct a lot more,” he explains.
Queen Rania pictured wearing Ralph Masri Phoenician script zig-zag earrings in 2017. Photo: Facebook / Queen Rania

His exquisite creations are somewhat of an art form, with his finesse of fine jewelry becoming a must-have for women all over the world. One of his most loyal customers is Queen Rania of Jordan, who is often seen wearing Masri’s stunning pieces. “Ever since Her Majesty wore my jewelry for the occasion of Jordan’s anniversary of independence, I have had people come to my store asking for the Queen Rania pieces,” Masri told Vogue Arabia.
Hundreds of designers from nearly 20 countries across the Arab world have already applied to the Vogue Fashion Prize. Don’t miss out! Applications for the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize are open now at fashionprize.com.
Read Next: Vogue Fashion Prize: Previous Winners Reflect on Their Success

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