Chic with Attitude

23 January 2008

Emirati fashion designer, Rabia Z, takes ‘universal modest chic’ to London Fashion Week, as regional winner of the first British Council International Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award
A YOUNG Emirati fashion designer who specialises in fashion for the modern Muslim woman under the banner of ‘universal modest chic’, has become the first winner of the GCC/MED (Mediterranean) regional competition run by the British Council to find the International Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year.

This first British Council International Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award aims to discover talented and successful individuals who have both the creative flair and business edge to become future leaders and champions of their local fashion industry.

Rabia Zargarpur, better known as Rabia Z. (the name of her clothing label) will now head to the International London Fashion Week in February 2008 to represent the GCC/MED region and to compete for the international title, as one of 10 regional winners from around the world.
Rabia Z. draws inspiration from her own experience — she herself started to wear the Hijab six years ago, when living in the US.

The designer, who is married with a young son, recently returned to Dubai to fulfil her dream of creating her own fashion label, after completing her fashion and business studies in the US.
Rabia Z, which caters to the needs of the modern Muslim woman, held its full debut collection runway show as a winner of the Emerging Talent segment at the recent Dubai International Fashion Week, which jointly ran the International Young Fashion Entrepreneur competition with the British Council in the UAE.

The ready-to-wear (prêt-a-porter) collection is trendy as well as modest — what she calls universal modest chic. The designs cover a range of styles from modern hippy chic, boho chic, luxury high street wear, and casual chic as well as evening wear.
Rabia is the first designer to combine chic sports wear with modesty. Her styles creatively convey her message that modesty is beautiful, comfortable, and easy to attain whilst making a woman feel good and confident about herself.

Speaking about her success, Rabia comments: "I am absolutely thrilled to have won the GCC/MED title of Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year 2008. I am grateful for the opportunity to compete for the International title of this Award in London.

"As a fashion designer and entrepreneur, it’s a tremendous achievement to see the fashion industry and the world of commerce appreciate and encourage the idea of an up and coming international brand name- Rabia Z., which seeks to fulfil the fashion needs of contemporary women from the Islamic faith. The emerging demand for fashion forward, ready-to-wear, conservative chic apparel and sports wear, which we have pioneered on the catwalk, is an enormous potential business opportunity worldwide, and has been the key to the success of the Rabia Z. label. This is what I wish to promote during the trip and the competition in the UK."
What the judges had to say

Emily Campbell, one of the judges of the regional competition, is highly impressed by Rabia: "I found her to be an excellent candidate because her vision for clothing that combines modesty and style is entirely credible, timely and brilliantly articulated."

Fellow judge, Isadora Papadrakakis from the Abu Dhabi Authority of Culture and Heritage, adds: "It is hard to find a fashion designer who is business- minded, creative and innovative, communicates a clear vision and understands the cultural, functional and aesthetic needs of the female client. Rabia Z is all of these and more: she is young, extra talented and unique in that she is from the UAE but also a citizen of the world. Her understanding of fashion is rooted in the Arabic identity but is also of international standards. Her outlook is local, regional, global - but also never loses the personal touch."

"Rabia’s success perhaps reflects the fact that the UAE is fast gaining recognition as the regional fashion hub," says Yara Moualla, Arts Project Manager at the British Council UAE. "Local designers are creating a niche in this competitive market and are experimenting and discovering their entrepreneurial skills. Through Rabia’s success, we hope to inspire and encourage other talented young people in the UAE and wider region."The 10 regional winners will enjoy a 12-day fashion tour in the UK and join a ‘Master-class’ with top UK designer and successful businessman Sir Paul Smith, as well as the opportunity to compete for the title of International Young Fashion Entrepreneur 2008. The overall International Award winner will also receive 7,500 (GBP) to spend on a collaborative project with the British Council on promoting links between the fashion industry in their country and the UK.