Arab luxury world 2017, the Middle East’s leading luxury business conference, has announced the winners of its first-ever Global Student Competition, which was launched to showcase the views of the next generation on the future of the luxury, design and fashion businesses. Lama Balaghi from INSEAD Business School and Vivien So from Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) wrote the winning entries, which were judged by a jury of sector experts on May 21 and announced on May 23 during the second day of the conference at The Westin, Dubai.
Lama Balaghi’s entry – ‘The Internet of Fashion’ – focused on how the ‘Internet of Things’ is transforming the future of fashion, including the optimisation of manufacturing processes and customer targeting, while Vivien So’s paper on ‘Millennials & Luxury: Today, Tomorrow & The Future’ explored how the concept of ‘luxury’ will morph over time with the changing economic, environmental and social landscape. Both topics reflected the conference’s overarching focus on ‘Digital Disruption and Emotional Engagement’, and added fresh insights to the expert discussions that Arab luxury world has become renowned for.
The two winners were selected from five shortlisted students, who were all flown to Dubai to present their entries to a panel of judges, including Robert Meeder, Professor of Luxury Fashion Management at SCAD Hong Kong; Dr. Anne-Flore Maman Larraufie, founder and owner of SémioConsult and Academic Director at ESSEC Business School; Hatem Alakeel, Saudi designer; Elda Choucair, CEO of PHD MENA; Craig D'Silva, Head of PR and Corporate Communications at INFINITI Middle East; and Dr T B (Mac) McClelland Jr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Center House Ltd.
The students also took part in the dedicated ‘Next Gen’ panel discussion of the conference, which offered attendees unique insights from the next generation on topics ranging from products and design, to fashion, marketing and how youth will consume premium goods.
Julien Hawari, Co-CEO of Mediaquest, commented: “The luxury industry is experiencing a profound transformation in the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the end of the era of overabundance in the Middle East, and, in this context, the innovative, forward-thinking ideas of the next generation are of huge value to all of the industry’s stakeholders. We are delighted to have received such a high number of entries in the first edition of our competition, and would like to thank all of the shortlisted students for both their excellent papers and their valued contributions to our ‘Next Gen’ session. Our particular congratulations go to Lama and Vivienne – tomorrow’s luxury business leaders.”
“Our industry is in a state of disruption and change, and, at the same time, we are also seeing the first line of millennials take leadership roles. Beyond a doubt, we need to harness, support, challenge and welcome the next generation of leaders within the luxury industry. Initiatives such as this competition pave the way and set a precedent to supporting this cause – not to mention the fact that it also brings forward an amazing pool of talent,” says Prof. Robert Meeder, Professor of Luxury Fashion Management at SCAD Hong Kong. “We saw such strong, well-researched pieces of work that articulated the opinions of the new generation. It was an absolute pleasure to be part of this initiative and stand by tomorrow's leaders.”
In its first edition, Arab luxury world’s Global Student Competition has served to foster cooperative relationships and exchanges with some of the world’s most prestigious universities, attracting a high level of entries from leading institutions including Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Hong Kong and USA; Columbia Business School, USA; the International University of Monaco, France; INSEAD Business School, France; Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris (HEC), France; ESSEC Business School, France; and Bologna Business School, Italy.
Arab luxury world serves as a dynamic platform for regional and global professionals from the premium goods and services market to engage in meaningful discussions about the latest trends and core challenges facing the luxury industry today. The conference featured more than 30 separate activities spread over the two days, with participation from industry leaders, luxury brands, distributors, agents, retailers, mall operators, service providers and media representatives.
The event has grown into a global networking platform that is generously supported by key movers in the industry, including Gold Sponsors Laha magazine, Jamalouki magazine and OMD; Bronze Sponsor AMEX; Official Car Sponsor INFINITI; Nespresso; Trade Association Partner The American Business Council of Dubai and Northern Emirates; Official Print Media partner Arab News; and Media Partners Haya magazine and Sayidaty magazine.