Saudi designer Yousef Akbar wins chance to showcase at FFWD


His designs were selected from more than 170 global entries.

Saudi-born designer Yousef Akbar has won the Not Just A Label (NJAL) community competition to get a chance to showcase at Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD) in April.

Akbar’s designs were selected from more than 170 global entries to present his latest collection at FFWD’s April 2020 edition, taking place from April 2 to 4 at Dubai Design District (d3).

Akbar’s work was selected by a committee that included Fashion Forward Dubai CEO Bong Guerrero; Middle East Bureau Chief, WWD, Ritu Upadhyay; Retail and Merchandising Expert Shahi Hamad; Fashion Forward Dubai Designer Relations Director Marcela Danielova, among other leaders from the Fashion Forward Dubai Team. Designers were evaluated on aesthetic, innovative approach and relevance to the region, as well as demonstrated business acumen, production capacity, and positive brand narrative.

“I am absolutely thrilled and grateful to be selected as the winner of this highly regarded competition and am grateful to both Not Just A Label and Fashion Forward Dubai, for advancing my journey,” said Akbar. “It will enable me to showcase my work to a wider audience. I can’t wait to unveil my latest collection there.”

NJAL’s partnered with FFWD to provide designers not based in major fashion capitals with platforms to showcase.

“There is so much design talent in pockets all over the world. Yousef is a prime example of a truly global designer — from the Middle East, based in Australia and now getting the chance to showcase in Dubai,” said Stefan Siegel, founder and CEO of NJAL. “Fashion Forward Dubai is a really progressive platform that has championed some of the best talent from the region. We are really happy to bring an NJAL designer there.”

Born in Saudi Arabia, Akbar initially studied logistics at the University of South Australia before pursuing a career in fashion design while also completing his Master’s at Sydney University.