Men’s Arab Fashion Week Returns to Dubai with its First In-Person Runway Shows

Zaid Farouki's runway models showcasing ZAID's collection of the fall-winter 2022/2023 line. January 29, 2022. D3, Dubai. SANDRA EMAM.

Dubai, 29th Jan 2022 –Men’s Arab Fashion Week, organized by the Arab Fashion Council and presented by Dubai Design District, has kicked off in Dubai with a dazzling show of local, regional, and international designers showcasing their designs for the fall-winter 2022/2023 season.

Live shows and presentations ran from 7 pm-10 pm over the 3-day weekend, with a virtual broadcast via Meta. The event premiered on Facebook and Instagram Live, allowing users worldwide to view and pre-order the designers’ work through Instagram Shopping.

Among the notable regional designers were Ahmed Amer and Zaid Farouki, while international fashion artists included Asher Levine and Valette Studio. The event also highlighted locally created fashion, as well as their global export markets.

Men’s Arab Fashion Week runway shows aired live on digital screens across Dubai Design District. January 29, 2022. D3, Dubai. SANDRA EMAM.

“Men’s Arab Fashion Week offers a wider range of menswear than just formal and street clothes, allowing men in the Middle East to enjoy a more diverse wardrobe,” said Mohammed Aqra, Chief Strategy Officer of the Arab Fashion Council. “D3 is home to a number of significant labels that are changing the boundaries of men’s fashion, and we’re thrilled to be able to show them off on a larger scale.”

Ahmed Amer, a 28-year-old Lebanese fashion designer, sees fashion as a concept that is continuously growing and changing. His designs are unique, as he utilizes minimal and organic illustrations in his pieces. “My illustrations are spontaneous and done on the spot; it happens whenever I feel inspired by any event around me, that’s why they are minimal,” he said. “My illustrations are frequently made by meandering creativity, which is strongly embedded in emotional processing.”

Ahmed Amer’s runway models presenting his latest collections of the fall-winter 2022/2023 line. January 29, 2022. D3, Dubai. SANDRA EMAM.

As an Arab designer who uses his creativity in his career, he finds that the internet has made his profession easier by giving exposure to the latest fashion trends globally to people who initially were not interested in fashion. “However, men in the MENA region are still developing the confidence to wear my pieces since they are mostly gender-neutral,” Amer said.

Amer finds that the fashion status is currently evolving in the Arab region. “However, there should be more focus on the quality and identity of the pieces,” he said. “Designers should be more experimental and be aware of the effect of their actions on the world around us through ethical practices and sustainable production.”

“Being a fashion designer isn’t a traditional job a male would have in the Middle East or in our culture,” said Zaid Farouki, a 30-year-old Jordanian-American designer based in Dubai, UAE. He is the founder and creative director of the ZAID by Zaid Farouki brand, which consists of themes that make one imagine the pieces behind each story.

As an Arab who has studied and lived in the U.S and Europe, Farouki tends to break the boundaries between different cultures and incorporates the ‘east meets west’ vibes to create a global language for expression. “I represent myself, my history, and my experiences,” he said. “I wanted to celebrate and live life authentically.”

Zaid Farouki live painting traditional clothes and headpieces in modern colours, writing brand’s taglines such as “I AM شرقي (oriental)”, “I AM عربي (Arab)”, and “ عروبتي عزوتي (Being Arab Is My Pride). January 29, 2022. D3, Dubai. SANDRA EMAM.

In addition, Farouki is the first regional designer to collaborate with BIC, the world leader in stationary. The line included 23 pieces in the collection of Cristal pens and crayons. Farouki’s touch featured an array of bright, retro-inspired accessories, including neon chains, spike orange and blue earrings. “It’s a big deal, it was right at the beginning of 2021, so after the lockdown,” he said. “I learnt that no matter what happens in the world, there is a fire within that cannot be silenced.”

Farouki finds that male fashion in the Middle East is still in its young phases and certainly needs more time to mature, but a solid base has been built for this. One advice he would give to Arabs who want to pursue a career in fashion is “if you’re passionate about it, it’s no longer a career – it’s your life’s work.”

Sandra Emam

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