By Salman Siddiqui/Staff Reporter
Emerging women fashion entrepreneurs in Qatar will work alongside some of the biggest names in the British fashion industry to learn how to grow a fashion business, it was announced yesterday.
Top officials from Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture and Qatar’s Roudha Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation gave details of the programme at a press conference.
The announcement follows the successful Fashion Exchange, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in September, where Qatari female designers grabbed headlines and international acclaim for their work.
Local designers Wadha al-Hajri, Hessa Abdulla al-Mannai, Fathiya Ahmad al-Jaber and Elham al-Ansari joined global fashion icon and award-winning designer L’Wren Scott and prolific milliner Stephen Jones in Doha this week for a series of lectures, workshops, meetings and displays to kick off the collaboration.
Additionally, fashion retail entrepreneurs in Qatar will provide British designers with insight and an overview of the dynamic Qatari fashion scene.
The work of famed British designers Nicholas Kirkwood, Robinson Pelham and Emilia Wickstead will also be featured in activities surrounding the announcement in Doha this week. Both Wickstead’s and Pelham’s work has been donned by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who wore Pelham’s earrings at her wedding. On Monday evening, Qatari and UK-based designers will meet to showcase their work at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha.
Starting in the New Year, Scott and Jones will embark on a fashion exchange programme with Qatari designers and university students. Scott has designed clothing for the likes of US First Lady Michelle Obama and actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman.
“As an entrepreneur, creative director and founder of my own brand, I am excited to share my passion and knowledge with the women of Qatar and hope to be able to influence their journey, and was thrilled to be asked to help empower these talented young women,” said Scott.
There will be internship and mentorship components to the collaboration announced. Mentorships will enable women operating their businesses in Qatar to exchange ideas and industry best practice with top brands in the UK. Internships will offer university students in Qatar the chance to work at top ateliers in the UK, enabling them to bring home skills that will assist them in building their businesses.
Roudha Centre chairperson and prominent Arab businesswoman Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser al-Thani said, “Roudha Centre is delighted to participate in Fashion Exchange in support of women fashion entrepreneurs in Qatar, who represent a driving force shaping the burgeoning local fashion scene.”
“Qatar UK 2013 is proud to see such a long-term legacy emerge from the immensely popular Fashion Exchange programme, which comes home to Qatar as we prepare for a strong finish to the Year of Culture,” said Qatar UK 2013 spokeswoman Rafah Mouafak Barakt.
The Fashion Exchange concept was developed by Farheen Allsopp, a British businesswoman based in Doha.
UK Ambassador Nicholas Hopton said over 70 events have been organised under the Qatar-UK Year of Culture, adding that fashion has great potential to drive forward the relationship between the two countries.
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