2021 had a slow nebulous start to the year of adapting to the new pandemic style of living – PCR tests for nearly every outdoor occasion, partial lockdowns, masks-turned-fashion staples, and so much more. Through all the negatives, the emergence of Middle Eastern up-and-coming, as well as renowned creatives, showed us that nothing can stop them from conquering the fashion landscape and achieving ground-breaking achievements. To commemorate how far they’ve come in the industry, we’ve curated all the memorable Arab fashion moments of 2021.

Courtesy of Arab talent, this year truly brought out the coveted masterpieces and pioneering milestones to the global frontier. Whether it was the big names bringing their fashion to the Middle East or regional designers collaborations with award-winning opulent labels, 2021 served up its end of the bargain in every aspect.

Bvlgari’s Jannah Collection – November 12

In early November, the collaboration between Bvlgari and HH Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan saw the prestigious collection of its Chapter Two of the Jannah Collection. The series is a tribute to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Her Highness’s grandfather and the founder of the UAE, “The collection touched so many people – my family; my country. I wanted to share my grandfather’s message of love and peace.”

Global Fashion Exchange (GFX) in Saudi Arabia

Global Fashion Exchange’s sustainable fashion hub came to the city of Riyadh for the first time ever in December. We saw the Arab world shifting to a more sustainable future by donating unworn clothes and attending informative sessions to support the eco-friendly initiative.

Maison Valentino unveils Abaya collection

Supplied

The #QatarCreates 2021 saw the induction of the exclusive Haute Couture Abaya collection by Pierpaolo Piccioli. The 15-piece extravagant collection was available at Doha Design District until 5th November.

Cynthia Merhej being the first Arab woman shortlisted for LVMH Prize

Hailing from Lebanon, the founder of the label Renaissance Renaissance, Cynthia Merhej, became the first-ever Arab woman semi-finalist for the LVMH Prize. “It was a really nice surprise getting to the semi-final and a huge deal for a company like Louis Vuitton to recognise us and the work we’re doing,” said Cynthia. “Personally it was really meaningful to me because no-one like myself – a Middle Eastern woman, who has built a business in Lebanon in really difficult conditions – has been nominated before.”

Karen Wazen x Madiyah Al Sharqi capsule

When Emirati designer Madiyah Al Sharqi and social media influencer Karen Wazen collaborate for a ready-to-wear collection, you know it’s going to deserve a space in your wardrobe.

UAE’s first dedicated Men’s Fashion Week

UAE’s first-ever Men’s Fashion Week in January saw Arab designers from Lebanon, Iran, the UAE, and many more. “As the only official fashion week established within the region, the Arab Fashion Council is thrilled to launch Arab Fashion Week – Men’s and to begin a new journey to shape the future of the emerging menswear market across the Arab world both by nurturing the creativity of regional designers and, through our continued support to international designers wishing to explore opportunities within the region,” said Jacob Abrian, the founder and CEO of the Arab Fashion Council.

Adidas Originals Stan Smith Shoes customised by Emirati Artist Maisoon Al Saleh

Courtesy of Adidas

With UAE hitting its 50-year milestone, we saw the launch of unique custom-made Stan Smith shoes designed by none other than Maisoon Al Saleh. Adidas Originals’ signature shoes 50-year anniversary coincided with the country’s golden jubilee celebrations and were amped up by sending this special piece to UAE’s creatives, trailblazers, and entrepreneurs.

FASHION TRUST ARABIA AWARDS

The special occasion attracted the attendance of famous faces such as Naomi Campbell, Salma Abu Deif, Raya Abi Rached, Jon Kortajarena, and Razane Jammal. The Fashion Trust Arabia 2021 saw a series of award categories with 24 finalists. They were judged by a jury comprising Carine Roitfeld, Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Alexa Chung, Olivier Rousteing, Virgil Abloh, and Natalia Vodianova, that chose the final 6 awardees for their stellar work in the field of Arab fashion.

Saudi artist Manal Aldowayan designs craft a Dior Lady bag

Instagram @manaldowayan

This year, we saw Saudi artist Manal Aldowayan become the first Arab to design the popular Dior bag with three special limited edition works – Landscapes of the Mind, The Boys, and the Desert Rose minaudière.

Malone Souliers x FTA Limited-edition capsule

Courtesy of Malone Souliers and Fashion Trust Arabia

The exquisite Malone Souliers and Fashion Trust Arabia collection took inspiration from the region’s signature colours and rich architecture to bring forth the Nappa leather made heels. The product campaign shot also features big Middle Eastern stars such as Yasmin Al Mulla, Layla Kardan, Zeynab El-Helw, Fayezzat and Enjy Kiwan.

Amina Muaddi joins the list of Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) and Footwear News (FN)’s 50 Most Powerful Women

2021 was Jordanian-Romanian fashion designer Amina Muaddi’s year with her taking home the prestigious title as one of WWD and FN’s 50 Most Powerful Women.

Mouawad’s jewellery In Princess Diana’s Biopic ‘Spencer’

To create the perfect depiction of Princess Diana’s life, the film Spencer enlisted the help of Lebanese jewellery label Mouawad. The biopic features rich and intricate jewellery pieces worn by lead actress Kristen Stewart.

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