Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani (centre) addressing the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture press conference to announce Fashion Exchange, at the W Hotel yesterday. Qassim Rahmatullah
DOHA: Emerging female fashion entrepreneurs in Qatar will work with some of the biggest names in the British fashion industry as one of long-term legacy programmes following the Qatar UK Year of Culture.
This was announced by the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture and Qatar’s Roudha Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at a press conference yesterday at W Doha hotel.
Fashion Exchange programme was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in September, where Qatari female designers grabbed headlines and international acclaim for their work.
Qatari designers Wadha Al Hajri, Hessa Abdulla Al Mannai, Fathiya Ahmad Al Jaber and Elham Al Ansari joined global fashion icon L’Wren Scott and prolific milliner Stephen Jones OBE in Doha this week for lectures, workshops and displays to kick off the collaboration.
Additionally, fashion retail entrepreneurs in Qatar will provide British designers with insight into the dynamic Qatari fashion scene.
The work of famed British designers Nicholas Kirkwood, Robinson Pelham and Emilia Wickstead will also be featured this week.
Both Wickstead’s and Pelham’s works have been donned by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who wore Pelham’s earrings at her wedding.
This evening, Qatari and UK-based designers will showcase their work at Mathaf.
Scott and Jones will embark on a fashion exchange programme with Qatari designers and university students to impart knowledge and experience to young women seeking to build their businesses here. Scott has designed clothing for the likes of American First Lady Michelle Obama and actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman.
Internship and mentorship are essential components of the collaboration.
Mentorship will enable women operating their businesses here to exchange ideas and industry best practice with top brands in the UK. Internships will offer university students here a chance to work at top ateliers in the UK, to bring home skills that will assist them in their businesses.
The programme will take a complete view of the fashion business, offering students training opportunities in the design, financial and marketing aspects of fashion.
“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,” said Roudha Centre Chairperson and prominent Arab businesswoman Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani.
“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 Centre constantly strives to support and develop local women entrepreneurs to empower women and strengthen the economy,” she 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,” said VisitBritain CEO Sandie Dawe.
“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.
Also present at the press conference were British Ambassador Nicholas Hopton, Qatari designer Fathiya Al Jaber, Scott and Jones.