VCUarts Qatar presents a panel discussion on the roles and responsibilities of fashion in enhancing sustainability, diversity and inclusivity in Qatar.
The panel discussion will take place at the W Hotel in West Bay, Doha, on May 23, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.
The panelists are renowned Lebanese designer Roni Helou, Qatar-based sustainable fashion entrepreneur Dana El-Ghazal and VCUarts Qatar faculty member Sonali Raman.
The discussion will be moderated by VCUarts Qatar Art History alumni Aljazi Al Henzab and Aldana Dabousi.
The discussion will focus on navigating the challenge of balancing people’s need for style while ensuring sustainability within the context of the modern fashion industry in Qatar.
The panelists will discuss ways to make fashion more sustainable without sacrificing style for consumers in Qatar.
The panel will also address fast fashion's role in the industry, the importance of consumer behavior in promoting sustainability, and what can be done in Qatar.
Panelist Sonali Raman shared her thoughts ahead of the panel discussion. “Fast fashion is a consequence of the need for people to keep up with style demands and is an important topic of discussion on fashion. This discussion aims to create awareness amongst the audience and the wider fashion consumer base in Qatar about the impact of fast fashion on the planet and why sustainable, slow, ethical fashion is the only way forward.
“We will also discuss ethically made fashion products, amongst other things, the conditions of workers in the fashion industry, the importance of fair labor practices and the role of fashion in promoting inclusivity and diversity, particularly how it relates to fashion brands and designers here in Qatar,” she said.
Further information on the panelists:
Born in Lebanon in 1992, Roni Helou is an award-winning, conscious ready-to-wear designer based between Doha and Beirut. In 2016 upon his graduation from Creative Space Beirut, Roni showcased his collections at Fashion Forward Dubai for two seasons under the patronage of Rabih Kayrouz and the Starch Foundation.
In 2017 Helou was awarded the prestigious Boghossian Foundation Fashion Prize. Roni was also a finalist at the International Fashion Showcase at Somerset House in London and displayed his FW '19 collection as part of London Fashion Week. Later that year, Helou was named RTW winner of the first edition of Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA) and presented his collection in New York.
Helou dedicates his personal time to activism mainly in sustainability, animal and human rights and often collaborates with like-minded people and initiatives to achieve those goals.
In 2021 and with the support of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Helou was invited to expand his brand to Doha, Qatar. Additionally, he is a consultant and lecturer at Qatar Museums and M7, a start-up hub for design, fashion and technology in Doha.
Sonali Raman has a degree in fine arts and a post-graduate degree in Fashion from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, India. After working for 20 years in India, she moved to Doha and has been a faculty member at VCUarts Qatar’s Department of Fashion Design since 2009.
Raman launched her own fashion brand in November 2014. Her love for natural fabrics and the desire to sustain dying crafts and textile traditions of India became the cornerstone of her brand “SR by Sonali Raman”.
Her line of fashion ready-to-wear is a blend of modern silhouettes with natural fabrics and traditional embroidery techniques. The brand contemporizes traditional crafts in jewelry and apparel, creating a new aesthetic for modern times.
Raman works directly with craft persons and artisans, often upskilling and re-training them. She sources her natural textiles directly from weavers, thereby supporting them in getting a fair price for their weaves and helping to keep the looms running.
A third-generation resident of Qatar, Dana El-Ghazal has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, and a Master’s in Fashion Journalism from London. Although she continues to build her career in the field of communications at Qatar Foundation, her love for fashion and style never subsided. She started working on her concept “indelg”, a play on the word ‘indulge’, in early 2020 in the midst of the pandemic.
“indelg” is a platform and a store that promotes circular fashion and is the first of its kind in Qatar. Her aim of starting “indelg” was to help reduce waste, extend the lifecycle of these items and make luxury brands accessible to more women.
Dana took her idea to the Scale7 incubator program at M7 and joined the second cohort in March 2022. One year later and to commemorate International Women’s Day, on March 8, 2023, Dana signed a partnership with Salam Department Store at The Gate Mall and hosted the official opening of “indelg” where she now has a permanent space for women to come and try things on and rent on the spot.
Currently, “indelg”s closet carries over 40 brands and designers including Gucci, Zimmermann, Elie Saab and Giambattista Valli to name a few.
VCUarts Qatar faculty member Sonali Raman
Qatar-based sustainable fashion entrepreneur Dana El-Ghazal
Lebanese designer Roni Helou