As the winner of a competition for the Not Just A Label (NJAL) community, Yousef Akbar will get to showcase his latest collection at Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD). The Saudi-born designer will present the “Blood Witness” collection during FFWD’s April 2020 edition, which is taking place from April 2-4 at Dubai Design District (d3).
“I am absolutely thrilled and grateful to be selected as the winner of this highly regarded competition and am grateful to both NJAL and FFWD for advancing my journey,” Akbar, who has celebrity clients like Chrissy Teigen, Kelly Rowland and Kelly Osbourne, said. “It will enable me to showcase my work to a wider audience. I can’t wait to unveil my latest collection there.”
The designer has said he dedicates this collection to all women, including the widows, the orphans and the teenagers fighting to get an education. The abused and the brave women fighting and standing up for their rights, evolving their cultures and challenging the norm in their quest for equality and freedom were also mentioned.
Sydney-based Akbar outdid over 170 global entrees to earn a spot at the event that serves as a progressive driver for the region’s fashion and beauty sectors. A committee that included FFWD CEO Bong Guerrero, Women’s Wear Daily’s Middle East Bureau Chief, Ritu Upadhyay, and FFWD’s Designer Relations Director, Marcela Danielova, evaluated the contenders on aesthetic, innovative approach and relevance to the region, as well as demonstrated business acumen, production capacity, and positive brand narrative.
NJAL’s partnership with FFWD highlights their commitment to providing designers not based in major fashion capitals with platforms to showcase. “There is so much design talent in pockets all over the world. Yousef is a prime example of a truly global designer - from the Middle East, based in Australia and now getting the chance to showcase in Dubai,” Stefan Siegel, Founder and CEO of NJAL, said.
Akbar, who initially studied logistics at the University of South Australia, started his eponymous Saudi-meets-Sydney brand journey in 2017. His contemporary eveningwear pieces underscore his fascination with the interaction of cloth and the human body. And the designer’s collections challenge conventions when it comes to cut and garment construction, while highlighting elegance and femininity.
The Yousef Akbar brand is built on creating ethical and responsible couture and ready-to-wear garments that allow his customers to look and feel good. Akbar uses recycled materials and supports local artisans in small communities from the Middle East and around the world in his manufacturing process.