Sharjah-based crafts council launches pop-up store with Fenwick of Bond Street
UAE Ambassador to the UK: Irthi pop-up store represents UAE's rich aesthetic experience and heritage
Dubai, UAE, July 15, 2017: Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council launched yesterday (Tuesday) its pop-up retail space in collaboration with luxury department store Fenwick of Bond Street, in London, reinforcing its status as a leading platform for designers in the United Arab Emirates to reach a key global audience.
On the occasion of the launch, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, and Royal Patron of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, emphasised that some of the most creative and talented artists and designers in the United Arab Emirates are establishing a name for themselves on a global scale and showcasing their concepts and styles through their crafts, arts and designs.
Her Highness said: “Investment in the potential of young talent in Sharjah and the UAE is an absolute priority for the emirate's cultural vision, laid out by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. It is essential that every support is given and every opportunity is taken in order for them to make their mark on a world stage.”
Featuring the work of 10 UAE-based designers in one of London's luxury department stores, the collaboration provides the designers with a substantial space to create a long term, lasting impression with potential customers, and communicate their brands to an ideal target audience.
The launch was attended by His Excellency Suleiman Al Mazroui, UAE Ambassador to the UK; Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment; Leo Fenwick, Fenwick of Bond Street; Sheikha Hind bint Majed Al Qasimi, Acting Chairperson of Sharjah Business Women Council, Sheikh Saud Bin Faisal Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah International Airport Authority, Nada Al Lawati, Member of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment Executive Committee, Dr. Mai Al Jaber, Board Member of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Raghda Taryam, Board Member of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sinead Archetti, Head of Marketing and Communications at Fenwick of Bond Street; and some of the participating designers.
The designers have created impressive labels inspired by the rich cultural heritage and environment of the UAE and the Middle East, showcasing fashion designs, jewellery, and porcelain collections for the two-month duration of the pop-up store.
Participating designers include: ‘Madiyah Al Sharqi', luxury womenswear label designed by Sheikha Madiyah bint Hamad Al Sharqi; ‘Designed by Hind', fine porcelain collections influenced by Emirati traditional crafts created by Sheikha Hind Majid Al Qassimi; Amal Haliq, jewellery designer who adds her own take on fairytales and heritage crafts; Alia Bin Omair, jewellery artist inspired by the heritage and raw materials of the Middle East; and ‘Align', contemporary womenswear brand created by designers Sara Mahmood and Asma Mustafa;
Designers also include: ‘IAMMAI', womenswear label established by Mai Al Budoor, and inspired by palm trees found in the UAE; ‘Twisted Roots', travel wear brand, founded by Latifa Al Gurg, who journeys from country to country for inspiration; ‘Neon Edge', womenswear label created by Mona Fares known for its signature use of colour and playful silhouettes; Faissal El-Malak, womenswear designer that incorporates fabrics skillfully handwoven by artisans from the MENA region; and Zayan the Label, womenswear label by Zayan Ghandour, that combines an eclectic mix of embellishments with a luxe, contemporary ready-to-wear silhouette.
Five of the ten designers taking part in this retail space are from the Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme, one of the council's flagship projects that offers one-to-one support for the next generation of UAE designers through a mix of workshops and business mentoring opportunities for one year, delivered in partnership with the London College of Fashion.
In addition, the Azyame programme's specialist team of fashion experts and industry professionals also offered mentoring support to all ten designers headed to Fenwick of Bond Street.
During the launch of the pop-up store, UAE Ambassador HE Suleiman Al Mazroui, along with the delegation from NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, viewed the retail space and creative designs on display.
Al Mazroui praised Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi's efforts in supporting and empowering women on regional and international levels, and her prominent role in embracing and nurturing young talent by providing them with all the necessary facilities to represent the UAE in various international platforms.
He stressed the importance of Her Highness' initiatives and projects in complementing the UAE's vision for promoting the role of creative artisans and designers and investing in their talents and abilities.
Al Mazroui added: “The Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council's pop-up store clearly reveals the depth of the cultural and economic ties between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. This showcase represents a great window of opportunity for the participating designers to introduce the UAE's rich aesthetic experience and its unique heritage to lovers of fashion, arts and crafts in London.”
Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, said: “Since its inception, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council has worked to provide a creative platform for talented UAE designers in traditional and contemporary crafts, and promote their brands both regionally and internationally. This pop-up store with Fenwick of Bond Street represents the most recent of the council's achievements on the international stage, and speaks for the distinctive global presence of creative talents from the UAE and authentic Emirati products.”
On the sidelines of the launch, representatives from Fenwick of Bond Street met with Ambassador Al Mazroui and the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment delegation, to discuss potential areas of cooperation between both parties in hosting exhibitions and special events both in the UK and the UAE.
Leo Fenwick welcomed the UAE Ambassador to the UK and the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment delegation. He said: “Our partnership today with the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council is a particular honour for Fenwick as it enables us to showcase a diverse collection of designs, all of which bring the highest level of style, quality, and craftsmanship to Fenwick, as well as sending a strong message about the importance of giving a global platform to these uniquely talented designers.”
Fenwick of Bond Street is a famous destination for celebrities, tourists, high profile visitors and prominent personalities living in London from diverse cultural backgrounds, all of whom share a passion for fashion, art and valuable collections.
Proceeds from the sales of the items in the pop-up store will support the participating designers and in keeping with the council's programme of sustainability and nurturing traditional crafts, a percentage will be invested in ensuring the professional and social empowerment of women practicing traditional crafts in the UAE and the wider Middle East and North Africa, South East, and Central Asia regions.