From new talent at Qatar’s first fashion school, to a design incubator in the heart of Doha, Qatar 365 explores the next generation of creative collections and understands how Qatar is becoming a regional fashion hub.
Fostering budding designers
One of the key creative centers is the oldest fashion and design university in the country; Virginia Commonwealth School of Art. The fashion program helps budding designers from concept to final project.
Fashion graduate Ayatala Mohammed is part of a talented group of fashion graduates who showcased their designs in a catwalk show titled: “History is (not to be repeated).” She expressed her thoughts, “It is called Ana Ahli U Ahli Ana, which in Arabic means I am my family and my family. We take their behavior slowly and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. That’s when we become ourselves.”
Hira Nisar’s set was called “Swing Motion,” a personal conflict of swinging back and forth between my Pakistani roots and my life growing up in Doha. I combined that with modern embroidery and sewing techniques.
Christopher Fink He leads a team of professors, all of whom have worked for international fashion houses, saying, “We want our students to find their inner voice…and translate that into a collection. A fashion designer’s journey is truly to be the voice of their generation.
The graduates are now preparing to launch their own line right here in Doha.
Fashion Incubation Project
M7 It’s a series of studios, workspaces and incubation programs designed to nurture new and upcoming designers. It is an important step towards Qatar’s goal of becoming a knowledge-based economy. M7 Director Maha Al Sulaiti said, “We have partnered with various entities that offer something unique to the creative ecosystem. One of them is a concept store. Studio Seven. And it is a special place in Qatar. The focus is on Arab designers to share the narrative behind the products and shine a light on making people realize that it is not just one thing. There is this story behind it.”
Maha says a big part of the M7 is exhibition spaces and exhibitions, like the latest Christian Dior’s dream designer. b Movement Design Challenge, seven local designers have created pieces inspired by Dior and culture. At Scale 7 designers are provided with mentors and business advice. But the overall aim of M7 is to provide a space conducive to collaboration, creativity and innovation for both established and emerging designers.
Liwan: Innovation center
As part of the Qatar Museum initiative, Liwan Design Studios And Labs Internships is a former all-girls school, now where fashion designers meet to create exciting new projects. “Anyone with an interest in design and art needs to be surrounded by creativity and creation,” said Head of Programming Khalid Albah.
During the covid period, Isa Ali Aljalahma and his cousin took their hobby to a Business, the production of handmade vegetable dyed products. On site, their leather workshop aims to ethically source materials, “We try to be as good as possible for the environment, the consumer and our workers,” he says.
It’s a common theme in Liwan. Ronnie HelloAccording to the designer and creative director, the conscious and ready-to-wear brand is based in Beirut and Doha, and its modern unisex clothes focus on the brand’s values: sustainability, human rights and animal rights.
Graphic designer at Type ArabicShima Ainehdar told Qatar 365: “We use screen printing and printing to design t-shirts and tote bags. I was inspired by shapes in nature, combining Arabic letters and graphics for an experiment rather than a traditional way.
Innovators say Liwan is proving to be an ideal place for growth and collaboration, helping up-and-coming designers find inspiration from their surroundings and exchange knowledge, regardless of background or culture.