Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Fashion Trust Arabia’s honorary chair, and Her Highness Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani attended the FTA Awards Ceremony at the National Museum of Qatar, which saw some of the world’s most elite designers, models and celebrities dazzle the red carpet. During the event which will undeniably go down in history, Her Highness Sheikha Al Mayassa gave a heartfelt and moving speech, where she thanked her mother, discussed the transformation of Qatar becoming an international hub for creativity and talent, and even touched base on the scrutiny that the country has faced in the media ahead of the World Cup. Below, read a glimpse of her speech.
“You were part of that celebration. And here we are four years later celebrating new winners as well as recognising the 24 finalists of the FTA. You all thrived and expanded beyond even the highest hopes that we felt after our first ceremony. FTA was born out of the need to empower and support the fashion designers of our region, allowing them to engage in the global narrative, as well as to nurture the creative economy of our region.
Today, some of the winners and associates of the FTA have gone on to dress international celebrities make it to the front covers of the most important fashion publications and have received major commissions from large organisations. And this is why we are here and this is what we will continue to do, to empower the talent and create opportunities to share authentic design from our region with the world. For most of you the Fashion Trust Arabia Gala Award presents a journey of discovery of talent beyond geographical reach. Yours enable you to discover and celebrate outstanding young designers from the Middle East and North Africa, to engage and exchange with them about our ideas, cultures and customs.
Fashion is one of the world’s major industries, a channel it’s a channel of creation, production, promotion, and distribution, spreading around the globe, employing millions of people and impacting the lives of billions. These awards support the new generation of talent and provide opportunities for our young people throughout the region, to join in the fast growing creative economy. Fashion and arts are such as human emotion. We felt it all tonight, it connects us and allows for conversations to happen in the most unusual places.
About 15 years ago, I reached out to a fashion expert in New York, and asked her to assist us in developing our fashion industry. She frankly told me that we didn’t have an industry and she was not interested in our region. Fast forward 15 years, Qatar now is a hub for fashion. Look at the diversity in the room, the range of our winners and the platform we have provided for the Middle East region, from retail to museum exhibitions to awards to bring the very best of the fashion industry to congregate here in Doha.
Your presence here tonight and engagement with our regional talent inspires them to pursue their dreams, there could be no better time and no better place to recognise the hope that FTA represents this year now, as we prepare to welcome the globe, to Qatar, for the FIFA World Cup. This region has faced 12 years of doubts and criticism as to whether a Middle Eastern country could host a such a mega-sport event. And just like the FTA, in less than 30 days you will witness the spectacular delivery. During this tournament Qatar Creates is presenting Qatar Fashion United by CR Runway, curated by Carine Roitfeld, bringing together over 150 brands from the very well-known to the emerging talent, and many young designers from our region as well as FTA women’s. This unprecedented fashion show will take place at the 974 stadium combining sports, music, fashion and art in one place. And later this week, we will celebrate the Fashion for Relief Gala by Naomi Campbell, with designers from African nations and the African diaspora that she has curated. From Africa to Arabia to Asia, we celebrate the culture, including our special guest from Turkey this evening.
There’s so many people to thank for tonight beginning with my mother the Honorary Chair of Fashion Trust Arabia and a style icon. Throughout the years, she has shown how women can be both elegant and culturally relevant mixing heritage with modernity in the most sophisticated way.
I express my gratitude to my co-chair Tania Fares, who lives and breathes FTA. While we are busy building an ecosystem in Doha for creatives to thrive, Tania delivered the operations for this night to take place. And what a wonderful evening it is. I could not think of a better partner and look at how far we have come Tania. I thank and applaud the designers who applied for the awards this year. FTA is all about creativity and entrepreneurship. We had more than 1,000 applicants this year and there are only 24 finalists and five prizes. This means that we focus our efforts on mentoring designers to succeed in an industry where competition is fierce. For those of you who did not make it to the finals this year, I encourage you to be resilient and apply again. Many of the speakers want to say this to you, all of you deserve congratulations for winning and for trying. I thank the FDA Judges Advisory Board, members of the Creative Economy board, our sponsors, Qatar Creates, the Qatar museum community. Without you this could not be done.
It’s important to note that many of our international guests tonight have come here despite the relentless media attacks on Qatar, and that in itself merits recognition. When His Highness spoke about the ways in which people have tried to portray Qatar in a negative light, he was not exaggerating. And while influential people from elsewhere may allocate endless resources to paint Qatar’s image, we chose to allocate our resources differently. Through the Qatar Creates celebration, we bring our meeting closer together, using culture as a vehicle for engagement and discourse. For the very first time, we had different countries for each category. And I hope that during your time here, you learn about not only Qatar but the region as a whole. After all, when we bid for the World Cup, we did it on behalf of the entire Arab world.
And now I want to recall a great creative force in the world, Virgil Abloh. It seems impossible to believe that it was only one year ago that Virgil was here. I remember vividly how he said that he felt a pulse is in Qatar, like the heartbeat of the world. His presence meant so much to us in the FTA spirit of community. I would now like to celebrate Virgil Abloh through this short video. Thank you very much.”