Launched last year, ‘Azyame’ is one of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council’s flagship projects, which aims to support the next generation of Emirati designers through a first-class mentorship course organised in collaboration with London College of Fashion – one of the world’s most esteemed fashion schools.
The programme’s 2017 edition, set to commence next month, will see ten successful applicants selected for a 1-year course to participate in a comprehensive mix of workshops, as well as one-to-one business mentoring opportunities.
Students will have access to specialists within the fields of branding, PR, sales and marketing, as well as a number of high-profile showcasing and sales opportunities.
This second edition features an illustrious line-up of mentors, including fashion business consultant and international bestselling author of How to Set up & Run a Fashion Label, Toby Meadows; Angela Quaintrell, who has launched emerging talent from across the world as a fashion agent and is renowned for her role as a buyer within luxury retail; and Renée Cuoco, Manager of the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, who has a background working with high-end design and luxury brands.
An organisation established to foster the entrepreneurial attributes of women working in the creative fields, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council is a subsidiary of the Sharjah-based NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah.
“The Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme was developed with the aim of launching the best emerging talents in the UAE, and creating entrepreneurial opportunities for them. The seven graduates of Azyame’s debut edition are confident and self-sufficient fashion entrepreneurs today, applying the training and exposure they received to carve a niche for themselves in the fashion industry,” said Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA.
“In its second edition, the programme will provide UAE fashion entrepreneurs an unrivalled opportunity to achieve global recognition and have their work reach new markets,” she added.
Describing the objectives of Azyame, and the overarching vision of the council, BinKaram remarked: “The programme reflects NAMA’s and Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council’s overall mission to support capacity building and self-employment for women, especially in the various craft sectors. Through Azyame, we are creating a touchpoint for the younger generations to have access to specialised training and workshops that will not only support them in creating long-term, sustainable futures for themselves, but also assist in the development of a dynamic eco-system for the craft at all levels across the UAE.”
New features of the second edition of Azyame will be a renewed focus on ethical and sustainable fashion looking for innovative solutions, such as working with artisans or using the latest techniques and practices, to minimise the impact on the environment and create visionary sustainable businesses. The programme will also take a ‘360-degree approach’ that will encourage participants to give back to the community. Once trained, the Azyame 2017 alumni will lend their entrepreneurial and leadership skills to future outreach projects by Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, both inspiring and supporting the talent and development of future generations.