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OPENING UP ON DDFC WITH JAZIA AL DHANHANI

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DDFC DUBAI DESIGN AND FASHION COUNCIL JAZIA AL DHANHANI
Photo Credit: Lorena de la Torre

We met recently the newly appointed CEO of DDFC (Dubai Design & Fashion Council). It was at the launch of a really great idea to assist even better the emerging talent in the region. A membership program that creatives will be able to join in order to get a lot of support from a list of multidisciplinary professionals. Jazia Al Dhanhani shares with Dubai Fashion News all the details of this idea and the many others DDFC is implementing to help the creative arts thrive in Dubai.

THE INTERVIEW: JAZIA AL DHANHANI, CEO OF DDFC

Hi Jazia,

What is the Dubai Design & Fashion Council?

It is a governmental entity established to develop and nurture a sustainable design industry in Dubai. DDFC intends to enable the growth and recognition of designers based in the UAE and the MENA region.

DDFC was established by the Dubai Government to raise the profile of Dubai as a regional and global destination for design. From DDFC, we provide in-depth market intelligence and help elevate local and regional talent, enabling the contribution of the creative industries to the sustainable development of the Emirate.

Therefore, DDFC oversees, supports, promotes and drives initiatives related to 5 key design segments: Fashion Design, Product Design, Architecture, Interior Design, and Graphic Design.

What is your analysis of the design and fashion industry in the Middle East?

The design and fashion industries are gaining grounds at a rapid rate in the MENA region. As revealed by the MENA Design Outlook report we released in collaboration with d3, the MENA fashion market has outpaced global industry growth by over 4.7 times since 2010.

Dubai and UAE are leading in the design sector in the region, with the industry in the UAE forecast to be worth nearly US$36 billion within the next two years. While a large part of the sector’s growth in the UAE has been supported by international imports and designers, local and regional designers and brands are flourishing too. This aligns with our vision as a Council as our mandate is to raise the profile of Dubai as a regional and global destination for design.

We are steadily growing in the field, with numerous initiatives and platforms allowing designers from all design fields to learn, share knowledge, enhance their skills, and showcase their work, both locally and internationally.

CONNECTING THE COMMUNITY AND THE INDUSTRY

How do you connect with the industry?

We are actively working with key stakeholders and industry leaders to create new avenues for nurturing and showcasing talent and accelerating the growth of the design industry in Dubai.

Some key examples of this are:

  • Our recently launched DDFC Membership, a platform to connect the creative community and support UAE-based designers through talent development and business support initiative.
  • Our partnership with Vogue Arabia to introduce the DDFC/Vogue Arabia Fashion Prize. It will be an annual endowment granted to the most promising design talents in the region.
  • DDFC hosts and organizes talks on business and design related topics that are open to the public.
  • DDFC supports and endorses industry events. Examples such as Dubai Design Days, Fashion Forward Dubai, INDEX Design Series and more. Events that allow designers to take part and showcase their talent.
  • We also released two ground-breaking reports in collaboration with the Dubai Design District (d3), the MENA Design Outlook report & MENA Design Education Outlook report – that analyzed the design and design education landscape in the MENA region to identify trends, opportunities and challenges that we currently face.

ABOUT THE FASHION WEEKS

How is Fashion Forward related to DDFC? Have you consider having your own fashion week?

The Dubai Design & Fashion Council endorses Fashion Forward. Fashion Forward has undoubtedly emerged as a launching pad for many of the Middle East’s notable up-and-coming designers. From DDFC, we are proud to have extended our support to them for the third season in a row.

We are actively committed to providing support and initiatives. Not only nurture emerging talent, but also help them showcase their creativity – be it on a local level, or an international stage. We will definitely be working to expand the opportunities to support our growing talent through more events. Very soon we will be unveiling further details.

Is there any connection with the Arab Fashion Council?

No, we are independent from the Arab Fashion Council.

ABOUT THE DDFC MEMBERSHIP

How will the DDFC Membership assist the further development of the Council?

The DDFC Membership´s goal is to develop a strong industry and focuses on bringing the design community together. With the membership, we are offering designers a multitude of career-focused initiatives, business support initiatives, and showcasing opportunities.

Basically, the platform aims to drive the creation of a leading pool of talent that will become the next generation of global designers. As a result,  will lead to the growth of Dubai’s design industry. This vision to develop the industry is closely aligned with the Dubai Plan 2021 outlined by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. There we aim to make Dubai a model for sustainable economic development underpinned by innovation and creativity.

DDFC DUBAI DESIGN AND FASHION COUNCIL JAZIA AL DHANHANI
Photo Credit: Lorena de la Torre

ATTENTION CREATIVE MINDS!

Who will be able to become a member?

The DDFC Membership is aimed at designers at varying stages in their careers; from students entering the industry to emerging and established designers. We welcome any affiliated professionals across Architecture, Interior Design, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, or Product Design.

What will the emerging designers get from the DDFC Membership?

The DDFC Membership offers the following:

  • Internship Opportunities: An initiative developed to connect up-and-coming talent and students with the foremost design companies in the UAE. Consequently, building their resumes and gaining valuable experience in their field.
  • Mentorship is a career acceleration initiative. It offers designers the opportunity to learn from the expertise and experience of industry experts. Thus enabling them to grow and develop their careers across fields of Business Planning, Innovation, Sales & Marketing, Creative, and Production. Over 30 applicants are currently receiving mentorship from industry leaders across all design fields.
  • Workshops: Members will also benefit from a host of dedicated workshops, talks and specialized training offered across different disciplines.
  • DDFC Business Incubator: In addition, members will have the unique opportunity to apply for the DDFC Business Incubator initiative. The region’s newest incubator will enable entrepreneurs to transform their creative ideas into commercial successes.
  • Legal and Financial Advisory: All members will be able to access curated information and advice that will inform their business planning. So, they will as well benefit from professional financial and legal advisory services, including one-on-one legal advisory sessions.
  • Showcasing Opportunities: The DDFC Membership will also include community initiatives and showcasing opportunities for members. The intention is to raise the profile of UAE-based designers both locally and internationally.

DDFC FUTURE AND PRESENT PLANS

What is your strategy for DDFC?

DDFC mandate is to develop and support not only local talent, but also emerging creatives from across the region.  Therefore, we continue our efforts to establish the Emirate as a gateway. A gateway that brings together regional designers and industry leaders from around the globe to Dubai.

DDFC is committed to supporting and promoting talent by continuously developing new programmes for the community. For that reason, we have been working to bring together different entities and organizations that encompass Dubai’s creative industry. Our will is to catalyze the development of our design ecosystem.