A series of fashion shows presenting a collection of abayas, jalabiyas and evening gowns by leading fashion brands from around the world marked the opening of the 13th Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition on Wednesday at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Dr Sheikha Aisha al-Thani, philanthropist and supporter of education and entrepreneurship in Qatar, officially inaugurated the exhibition, which will run until Sunday.
She was joined by Qatar Tourism Authority’s (QTA) communications and marketing acting director Jawaher al-Khuzaei and representatives from Design Creationz.
The event, held under the patronage of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani, also showcases the largest display of local designers to date with more than 190 brands participating in this edition.
More than 300 brands of abayas and modest fashion designs from 18 countries are represented, including; Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Ecuador, Hungary, the UK, Spain, and Italy.
The five-day exhibition, delivered by Design Creationz with the support of QTA, is set to bring a series of fashion-centric events showcasing the latest in Arabian and modest fashion, as well as inspiring discussions on women’s empowerment in fashion and the arts.
Heya forms part of QTA’s efforts in empowering the private sector to attract and host global events.
“It’s a pleasure to launch the 13th edition of Heya amid the steadily growing interest from local and international participants. They each come with their unique designs and approaches to fashion creating an enriched experience for the exhibition visitors as well as valuable opportunities for participants to exchange experiences and views on the latest trends in their industry,” al-Khuzaei said.
The exhibition comes as part of QTA's strategy to support home-grown entrepreneurs and promote local events, in line with overall efforts to diversify Qatar’s tourism products and visitor source markets,” she added.
Some of the leading fashion brands which are taking part in the event include Dilek Hanif from Turkey; Liz Cardenas and Olga Doumet from Ecuador; Romani Design from Hungary; Debaj, QLabel and Ain Line from Qatar; Maison Chic from Kuwait; Anardana from India; Kristal B from Italy and Rida Couture from Lebanon.
A forum on ‘Exploring Similarities and Differences between Arabian and Ottoman Fashion’ was led by Sandra Wilkins, head of fashion at Virginia Commonwealth University-Qatar; Fahad al-Obaidly, designer and artist and Dilek Hanif, renowned Turkish fashion designer.
Visitors can enjoy an hour-long fashion show today (April 26), showcasing the latest designs by Kuwaiti brands Gold Dust and Neshel by Najeeba; as well as Louver Line, Bride Atelier, ZR Abaya and Frames Fashion from Qatar; BKIB from Italy and Nourish Kareem from Malaysia. The fashion show will begin at 6.15pm.
Guests can also participate in ‘What’s In and Out on Social Media’, an insightful forum by Omani influencer Areej Balushi as well as with renowned Indian Celebrity TV stars and influencers, Krystel D’Souza and Sana Khan at 7.30pm where exhibitors and visitors can meet with the Bollywood celebrities and ask questions around fashion, style and trends on social media in the fashion industry.
In addition, workshops designed to support aspiring entrepreneurs will be taking place that evening by industry key players, including; ‘Quick Makeup Tips’ (5pm) by Maison de Joelle, ‘Footwear Design’ by VCUarts Qatar (5.25pm), and ‘A Success Story’ by Bedaya Centre, advising aspiring young Qatari entrepreneurs on their professional path (5:45pm).
Esraa Abel, spokesperson for Design Creationz, said: “Heya has evolved over the years, as people not only visit to shop and complete their collections, but also to learn about culture and modest fashion trends.”
“The show this year is the most diverse it has ever been; we have designers from countries that have never been represented before, such as Ecuador and Hungary,” she added. “We have also dedicated a larger portion of the exhibition space to local talent, with more than 190 brands participating from Qatar alone, the largest number to date.”
The 13th edition of Heya offers shoppers and visitors an assortment of unique collections, from high-street apparel, couture and luxury, to the latest modest fashion evening gowns, leather accessories as well as perfumery and make-up. The ladies-only event is open to women and girls over 13 years old.
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