One to watch

Fashion Forward is back for another season to showcase emerging and established brands from the region and beyond. Always one step ahead, the event will introduce us to an up-and-coming designer – Yousef Akbar.

Saudi-born designer took part in Not Just A Label (NJAL) competition and won an opportunity showcase at the Dubai event in April. Beating over 170 global entries, Akbar’s work was selected based on design aesthetic, innovative approach, and relevance to the region, as well as his demonstrated business acumen, production capacity, and positive brand narrative as a designer.

Yousef Akbar saudi arabian designer fashion forward

“I am absolutely thrilled and grateful to be selected as the winner of this highly regarded competition and am grateful to both Not Just A Label and Fashion Forward Dubai, for advancing my journey. It will enable me to showcase my work to a wider audience. I can’t wait to unveil my latest collection there,” said Akbar.

Born in Saudi Arabia, Yousef Akbar initially studied logistics at the University of South Australia before pursuing a career in fashion design while also completing his master’s at Sydney University.

Yousef Akbar saudi arabian designer fashion forward

Akbar’s pieces underscore his fascination with the interaction of cloth and the human body. His collections challenge conventions in cutting and garment construction, while maintaining elegance and femininity. His 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.

“Yousef demonstrates the fluidity and interplay between the Middle East and other fashion markets with his Saudi-meets-Sydney brand journey, and his recognition through the NJAL competition emphasises Fashion Forward Dubai’s commitment to discovering new designers,” said Bong Guerrero, co-founder and CEO of Fashion Forward Dubai.

Yousef Akbar saudi arabian designer fashion forward

During FFWD, Yousef Akbar will show the “Blood Witness” collection, which is dedicated to the concept of sustainable and socially responsible couture, supporting women in the developing world, including the Middle East and India.

He wanted to dedicate this collection to all women – including the widows, the orphans, the teenagers fighting to get an education, the abused, and finally to the brave women fighting and standing up for their rights, evolving their cultures, and challenging the norm in their quest for equality and freedom.

Yousef Akbar saudi arabian designer fashion forward

Fashion that has substance and a message always strikes a chord with team EW, and we look forward to seeing his collection.

FFWD’s April 2020 edition takes place from April 2-4 at Dubai Design District (d3).

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Image: Supplied