Everything we learned at the Global Women’s Virtual Fashion Forum & Show

H.E. Shaikha Noora bint Khalifa Al Khalifa invited Grazia Middle East to join industry leaders to nurture emerging talent at the Global Women’s Virtual Fashion Forum & Show
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Everything we learned at the Global Women’s Virtual Fashion Forum & Show
Oscar de la Renta SS20

Led by Medpoint’s CEO and Chairwoman, H.E. Shaikha Noora bint Khalifa Al Khalifa, the Global Women’s Virtual Fashion Forum & Show took place from 12 to19 July, shining the spotlight trending topics from fashion and design to beauty, entrepreneurship and education as well as taking us straight to the FROW.

Prioritising women and business, the panels included topics such as Digitalisation and Innovation in Fashion, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in the MENA region, Market Challenges for Women in the Fashion Industry, or Empowering Women to Become Entrepreneurs by Making Male Member Allies. Intrigued?

Following every panel, The Red Carpet Online Fashion Show wowed viewers, with Kate Spade, Oscar de la Renta and Ingie Paris - among many others - showing their SS20 collections.  

Grazia Middle East's Editor-in-Chief, Alison Tay, took part in a panel called Media in Supporting Women, Entrepreneurship in Fashion Industry, hosted by Ms. Sara Abu Al-Fateh, News Reader on Bahrain International & Radio Bahrain 96.5FM. Alison took the opportunity to empower women and emerging talents, discussing the importance of branding and the global shift in fashion that's happening right now. 

Putting education front and centre, Alison stated, "Grazia is the first media magazine brand in the region to launch an educational initiative. Education is really close to my heart. I went to an all-girls school, and I was taught to believe women could do anything. I've always had managers and bosses who shared this vision, and I hope as editor, I'm paying it forward. It doesn't just stop with me. We're empowering the next generation to do the same." 

In an effort to further amplify women, Alison noted, "I'm very excited about the Grazia Girl Gang. We have Grazia Girl Gang ambassadors for music, food, adventure, or sustainable living. I think it's a really interesting way to share our platform with women who are leading the way in the region."

Her advice for fashion designers of the future? "Today, in fashion it's not just about who has the prettiest designs. It's about giving back to the community, who is being environmentally conscious, who has the most interesting story to tell? All of those intersect and that's what really makes a brand, or a designer stand out to me." Wearing an egg-yolk yellow trenchcoat by Dubai-based designer Bougessa, she added, "Even what I wear becomes a message. So even my choice of outfit is very deliberate in order to further the conversation and to further up-and-coming designers."

When it comes to raising your profile, Alison pointed out, "All brands have their media platforms now. Your social media: your Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat is telling people who you are in the same way as Grazia is sharing your stories. So, don't forget you have your own platform. The more vibrant and interesting and creative it is, the more exciting it will be, not only for magazines, but for your audience, your customer, so I'd encourage you to start there.  Make your brand so compelling that I come to you. Tell your story. You have a voice."

Not a fan of oversharing on social media? Not a problem. "If you don't want to put yourself out there, you don't have to. There are ways of sharing your story without you personally having to be the face of your brand. If that's not who you are, if that's not authentic to you, don't push it. Find another way - build your tribe, get your own girl gang, find the women who embody the story you're trying to tell and empower them help you tell you it," Alison added.

Other speakers on the panel were:
- H.H. Sharifah Khatreena Nuraniah bt Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail, Owner of Khatreena fashion brand, Board of Director at Perlis Islamic Religious Council (MAIPs) Asnaf Transformation Academy, Malaysia
- Ms. Al Jawhara Bint Turki Al Oteishan, CEO Sawahel Aljazera
- Ms. Kubra AlQaseer, First Bahraini Fashion Designer
- Ms. Nadia Ahmad Ouaamou, Founder/Managing Director of Zawaya Art & Design Art Consultant, Chairwoman & CEO of Entertain Art Leadership, KSA
- Ms. Wafa Albenayyan, Fashion Designer, KSA

To catch up, you can watch the full panel discussion here:

Catch up on all the panel discussions here:

The Government's Role for Empowering Women in the Fashion Sector

  • H.E. Dott. Prof. Giovanni Bozzetti, President of EFG Consulting and Former Minister of Lombardy Region and Milan Municipality – Italy

The Role of Chamber of Commerce and Women Society in Supporting the Retail and Fashion Sector

  • Dr. Amna Khalifa Al Ali, Board Member of Amjan Chamber and Chairwoman of AJBWC – UAE
  • Ms. Omaymah Azouzz, Chairwoman of The Fashion Design Comittee in the Chamber of Commerce – KSA
  • Ms. Farida Abdullah Kamber Al Awadhi, Chairperson of Emirates Business Woman Council – UAE

The Role of Women

  • Ms. Cho, Eun-Hee, Mayor of Seocho City – South Korea

Women's Personal Contribution for the Enhancements in the Fashion Industry

  • H.R.H Princess Khulood Bint Khalid Al Saud – KSA
  • H.H Sayyida Basma Alsaid, The Patron of Heritage Team Founder, Whispers of Serenity Clinic for Mental Health – Oman
  • H.H. Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Sabah, Founder and Chairperson of Intisar Foundation, Founder and Chairperson of Bareec NGO – Kuwait
  • H.E. Sh. Hend Al Qassimi, CEO of Paris London New York Events and Publishing – UAE

Empowering Women to Become Entrepreneurs by Making Male Members Allies

  • Dr. Mona Suri, Academic Vice President of the Royal University of Women Associate Professor in Fashion Design College – Bahrain

Beauty of Art and Design and Fashion in Education

  • Dr. Mona Suri, Academic Vice President of the Royal University of Women Associate Professor in Fashion Design College – Bahrain
  • Prof. Alessandro Brun, Associate Professor at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Ms. Doyon Ahn Morato, Founder and CEO of Zories Only – Guam, US

Market Challenges for Women in the Fashion Industry

  • Ms. Djamila Kerdoun, CEO and DK Ambassador & Founder of International Summit of Fashion – France
  • Ms. Kubra AlQaseer, First Bahraini Fashion Designer
  • Ms. Sozan Baghgadi, Fashion and Abaya Designer since 2010 – KSA
  • Ms. Eman Alfalamarzi, Designer and Business Woman Owner of E&E – UAE
  • Ms. Elham Alfalamarzi, Consultant and Internationally Accredited Self-Development Trainer – UAE

Gender in Humanitarian Settings (a panel with UNICEF experts)

  • Ms. Ettie Higgins, Deputy Representative for UNICEF – Jordan
  • Dr. Shoubo Rasheed Jalal, Regional Advisor, Gender, UNICEF Middle East & North Africa Region
  • H.E. Eltayed Adam UNICEF Representative in Gulf Area – KSA
  • Q&A between moderator, Mariam Farag, Head of Corporate Sustainability and Social Impact at MBC Group and Ingie Chalhoub, President and Creative Director of Ingie Paris, Founder and Managing Director of Etoile Group 

Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in the MENA Region

  • Ms. Rim Siam, Founder of Women Council in Egyptian Chamber of Commerce and Council's President in Alexandria Chamber – Egypt
  • Ms. Douja Gharbi, Founding Member of CONECT - Confédération des Entreprises Citoyennes de Tunisie – Tunisia
  • Ms. Maha Mostafa Akeel, Director of Social & Family Affairs Organization of Islamic Affairs – KSA
  • Ms. Reem Badran, Founder of MENA Businesswomen Network – Jordan

 Digitalisation and Innovation in Fashion

  • Ms. Araksya Grigoryan, UNIDO National Project Coordinator – Armenia
  • Ms. Jalila Arab, Founder/CEO of Bahrain Fashion Incubator – Bahrain
  • Dr. Rajni Aggarwal, President of Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs – India
  • Dr. Faiza Mohamed Osman, Director East Africa Regional Office of the Association of African Universities – Sudan

Fashion-preneurs

  • Ms. Agatha C. Johnson, President & CEO Adonai Ventures – Sierra Leone
  • Ms. Anissa Meddeb, Founder of Anissa Aida – Tunisia
  • Ms. Sandra Abi Chahine, Strategy and Communications Consultant – Lebanon
  • Ms. Zakia Nakat, Founder and CEO "Pour Tout L'Amour Du Monde" – Lebanon

 MOU with The Nine Training Center, Anna Stella Italian Fashion House

  • Ms. Hanan Abo Hawas, Founder of Anna Stella Italian Fashion House – Jordan
  • Ms. Gopika Beri, Managing Director at The Nine Training Center – Bahrain

Signing MOU

  • Prof. Alessandro Brun, Associate Professor at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Other guest speakers and moderators also included:
H.E. Dr. Sh Haifa Bint Ibrahim AlKhalifa, Chairwoman of the Department of Architecture and Interior Designer – College of Engineering – Bahrain
Ms. Amal Al Jowder, UNIDO ITPO Bahrain Business Counselor 
Dr. Hashim Hussein, Head of UNIDO ITPO – Bahrain
Mr. Stefano Pettinato, United Nations Resident Co-ordinator a.i. UN 75 – Bahrain

Photo: Jason Lloyd-Evans