British and Qatari designers showcase their work during the Qatar-UK Fashion Exchange Show in Doha

Sunday 08 December 2013

Starting in the New Year, global fashion icon and award-winning designer L’Wren Scott and prolific milliner Stephen Jones will embark on a rigorous training programme with Qatari designers and university students to impart skills, knowledge and experience to ambitious young women seeking to build home-grown business in Qatar..

“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.

Local designers Fathiya Ahmad Al Jaber, Wadha Al Hajri, Hessa Abdulla Al-Mannai, and Elham Al Ansari joined Scott and 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 this announcement in Doha this week. Both Wickstead’s and Pelham’s work has been donned by Kate Middleton. Pelham’s earrings were worn by the Duchess of Cambridge at the Royal Wedding. On Monday evening, Qatari and UK-based designers will meet to showcase their work at Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha.

There will be internship and mentorship components to the programme announced today. Mentorships will enable women operating their business 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 the skills they build to their businesses back home. The programme will take a complete view of the fashion business, offering students rotational training opportunities in the design, financial and marketing aspects of fashion.

Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Qatar, His Excellency Nicholas Hopton, joined influential figures from Qatar’s fashion and business sectors at today’s press conference. Roudha Centre Chairperson and prominent Arab businesswoman Her Excellency Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani added, “Roudha Center 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. We are proud to provide designers with a valuable platform to exhibit their designs and showcase modern Qatari culture as well as learn from the experience and expertise of acclaimed British designers. Through programmes such as Fashion Exchange, Roudha Center constantly strives to support and develop local women entrepreneurs so as to empower women and strengthen the economy.”

Increasing female participation in the workforce and providing women the tools for success feature prominently in Qatar’s National Development Strategy 2011-2016. Additionally, supporting the creation of an innovative and entrepreneurial private sector is a core principle of Qatar’s National Vision for 2030. Qatar’s nascent fashion industry is thought to be a promising one for the nation’s growing pool of talented women emerging from sophisticated fashion education programmes at the Roudha Centre and Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar). For major fashion brands and start-ups alike, the region is considered a high growth fashion market. International retailers recently ranked Qatar one of the most attractive markets (11th globally) for international brands to grow their businesses, according to the Retail International Programme Expansion (RIPE) Index.

Today’s announcement marks one of many long-term legacy programmes taking shaping following a robust year of cultural dialogue between Qatar and the UK. It follows the successful Fashion Exchange, held in London in September, where Qatari female designers grabbed headlines and international acclaim for their work.

At today’s press conference, VisitBritain CEO Sandie Dawe added, “Britain’s fashion scene is admired across the world and this fusion of fashion highlights the very best of British design and the rising talent in Qatar. To have such collaborations between women entrepreneurs further strengthens the Qatar UK partnership.”

“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 and garment shop-owner Rafah Mouafak Barakt . “Top talent in Qatar – an emerging and ambitious fashion market – will have the opportunity to interact, learn from, and share their passion with some of the most iconic fashion designers in the world. I am encouraged by the continuing creativity emanating from this strong partnership and commend these top designers for the commitment they have made, through mentorships and workshops, to entrepreneurs in Qatar.”

Fashion Exchange is supported by VisitBritain, UKTI, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Doha, DHL Express Qatar, MATHAF Arab Museum of Modern Art, W Hotel and Qatar International Beauty Academy - Tajmeel.

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

pressandpr@visitbritain.com

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Qatar UK Fashion Exchange
Qatar UK Fashion Exchange
Qatar UK Fashion Exchange