Introducing Project Modest: Grazia's fashion-design competition that could make you a star

Are you the fashion world’s next big thing? Introducing Project Modest, Grazia and Yas Mall Abu Dhabi’s design competition that could launch your career
Introducing Project Modest: Grazia's fashion-design competition that could make you a star

Other than being extraordinarily successful, preternaturally talented fashion designers, what do Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent have in common? We’re so glad you asked. Both icons began their illustrious careers by entering into a design competition. And if it’s good enough to launch the likes of those two, then we’re extremely excited at the prospect of what our very own iteration could do. Allow us, then, to introduce Project Modest.

The region’s very first modestwear design competition, we’ve teamed up with Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi and taken it upon ourselves to not only discover the brightest young fashion talent out there, but also bring the winning entry to life, allow it to take pride of place at Modest Fashion Weekend in Yas Mall this October, and offer both a two-week internship here at Grazia Middle East and a mentorship lunch with fellow designer and entrepreneur, Sara Al Madani. We know. We spoil you.

Sara Al Madani, Designer and Entrepreneur

If you see yourself as the fashion world’s next big thing, head to the Project Modest tab on, submit a sketch of your modestwear design and a 150-word brief outlining the palette, fabrics, inspiration and ideas for how it should be styled. The winner will be selected by our panel of expert judges, including Editor in Chief Alison Tay, Digital Editor Olivia Phillips, General Manager of luxury department stores Tryano and Saks Fifth Avenue, Sharmila Murat, and the aforementioned Sara Al Madani.

Sharmila Murad, GM of Tryano and Saks Fifth Avenue

Sara explains, “I’m thrilled to be part of Project Modest. I’m a modestwear designer myself and understand that it’s not an easy industry to launch and sustain in. Nevertheless, it’s a growing one that has a lot of potential.” Potential that has seen the industry projected to become a $368 billion business by 2021. That’s some serious sway.

Alison Tay, Grazia Editor in Chief

So what exactly will the judges be looking for? “I’d like to see how creative each participant will be in the limited space of creativity available in this segment, because modestwear needs to, ultimately, look modest.” Sara reveals. “I’m going to be choosing a winner based on how they incorporate modesty and modernism, and I’ll be looking for cut, style and much more. There are exciting times ahead!”

Olivia Phillips, Grazia Digital Editor

Sharmila adds, “It’s a privilege to have access to new talent in our industry and source fresh, inspirational designers. I look forward to seeing designs that will make those who wear them feel fantastic. The very best of luck to all candidates!”

We wholeheartedly concur. Remember to enter by 30 August to be in with a chance of taking the top prize. The winner will be announced on 7 September. Good luck! We’re sure there are some bright rising stars out there, waiting to be discovered. 

• Enter Project Modest at by 30 August. For all further enquiries, email

Photos: Supplied