Sandra Wilkins, chair of the Fashion Design department at VCUQatar came up with the idea for ‘Fashion Rush’ when the department was brainstorming on different ways to inform the community about the Fashion Design Department at VCUQatar and “dispel any myths people may have about it not being a viable degree – even though our department has the highest post-graduate employment success rate,” said Ms Wilkins.
While the fashion industry is the largest industry in the world, its presence is still in the early stages in Qatar. What has been a growing universal trend - a shift from mass market to what is special, sustainable and locally made – is also being seen here. Not surprisingly, Qatar has seen a serious increase in the number of small designers opening boutiques, besides the creation of Qatar Luxury Group, enhancing the overall entrepreneurial spirit here in Doha. “We are encouraging our designers to forge ahead and make new paths. The world is looking at Qatar, it’s the perfect time to let the bright minds of our youth create a brilliant vision of what that world will see, something that is of Qatar, by those who live in Qatar,” added Ms Wilkins. The challenge then is convincing the parents of these visionaries to allow them to follow their passions. “This event is really for them.”
Fashion touches everything. The industry includes designers, illustrators, event coordinators, photographers, stylists, boutique owners, graphic and print designers, textile designers, retail managers, marketers, buyers, to name a few careers. “Clothing is one of our basic needs, it is a way of expressing yourself, a way of life. People in this industry should never be out of a job,” said Melanie McClintock from VCUQatar’s Fashion Department, who is helping coordinate the event.
‘Fashion Rush’ will be an informal gathering, beginning with an introduction of some of the participants from the fashion industry who will speak about their experiences in the industry. This will be followed by an open discussion, a Q&A session with those present answering questions about the industry and offering career advice.
“The event is especially looking to target the curious - potential students, parents and the broader community, and the informed – those seeking connections in the industry,” said Ms. McClintock.
Sara Zuddas, Marketing & Communication officer, Qatar Luxury Group, Edgar Vaudeville, W Happening and PR manager, W Hotel and Residences, Heba Al Okar, owner, Cugini/Dados Beauty, Carla Mallari and Ahmed Al Sayed, co-founders of Nomad*, Roqaya Al-Thani, designer, Roqaya Al-Thani Clothing, Latifa Al Mudahki, owner, Moda Key, Beverly Crowther, Principal, Tajmeel, Maryah Al Dafa, Director, Marya Trading/Vera Wang, Zai and Blue Salon are among those participating in the event.
Fashion Rush will take place on 23 February, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the Saffron Hall at VCUQatar. The event is open to the public. For more information, please call +974 44020555 or visit www.qatar.vcu.edu
Sandra Wilkins, chair of the Fashion Design department at VCUQatar