The UAE could definitely aspire to create a climate for fashion culture, by promoting local talent and promoting creativity within the schools and educational institutions, an amateur award-winning designer has said. Speaking to newsmen at a briefing recently, to introduce the winners ...

By Anupama V. Chand

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Published: Tue 27 Apr 2004, 3:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:32 AM

of the Bride 2004 awards this week, Lana Nahawi, 26-year-old Palestinian student of the Dubai International Institute (DII) who scooped the Young Designer Award at recently-concluded Bride 2004 exhibition, for the discerning bride-to-be and wedding organisers, said she was delighted to have won the coveted award.

Lana competed against 29 pre-selected entrants, from five of Dubai's and Sharjah's top design colleges at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre, with participating colleges including The Design Academy, Beams International Centre, Pearl Academy, Preston University and the DII.

'The more you study fashion, the less you feel you know,' said the talented young designer who noted that the briefing given to the contestants was 'Renaissance', and she tried to recreate a theme from 18th Century England, when women wore hoops to hold up the flaring skirts, and corsets tightly laced to show-off their figures.

'Every section of this outfit is detachable, I used a lot of lace, silk, and this particular style of the corset, was something men normally wore, I revolutionised it a bit and put it on a woman, for the hoops, I fixed red tool nets. As an Arab, I think of the wedding night as 'Red Night', so I used a lot of red and white colours,' said Lana, who wants to launch her own fashion label. The talented young designer, who in her own words, 'quit the corporate world for a creative one', said if she were to start a label of her own, she would have trouble with the name!

'My name means wool in Arabic, and that is not going to sound very interesting or appropriate in a place as hot as Dubai!' she grinned.

She felt the biggest challenges would be in the evening wear market, and she hoped initially to start supplying on a small scale to people she knew, after which the expansion could come in time.

'I believe that winning this award will give me the confidence to develop as a designer, when I graduate at the end of this year, I hope to specialise in Prêt-a-Porter, and my ambition is to become a recognised Middle Eastern designer. First runner-up in the Young Designer category was Shahida Shuttari, and second runner-up Munazzah Naseem, both from Preston University.

'This would also enhance Dubai's credibility as a place that is seriously interested in fashion, and not just one that has international couture exported from around the world, ' she said.

Anshu Mulchandani, who won the Innovation Award at the same competition and is also a DII student, fervently seconded Lana's opinion, pointing out that although there was so much imported fashion, there was little scope for honing creative talent.

'When I wanted to join a painting course last summer, I was shocked at how limited my options were,' she said. She added that the accent here was very much on developing the sciences and technology, while the art scene was still minimal, to say the least.

'Within the categories of the competition, she was given the brief of creating an outfit that best represented the 'rich, beautiful and dominant' society woman. Anshu said of her creation: 'I used a lot of brocade and crystal (from Swarovsky) to bring out the first two traits, working with red and green colours to show envy and anger, topped it off with a crown on her head, and had her twirling a cigarette in her hand to show the dominant bit, also she had silk shoes on her feet, all of which gave this a really sleek finish,' she said, smiling.

According to Grace Ghunaim, Communications & CSC Manager at Swarovski, who was one of the judges, Lana's design was selected because it was superbly executed and an excellent reflection of the year's 'Renaissance' theme.

In addition to the kudos of winning the award, Lana, Anshu, Shahida and Munazzah all bagged a beautiful trophy made of Swarovski crystal components, and they have also won themselves internships with the UAE's leading fashion houses.

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