‘Thread’ featured works by VCUQatar fashion design sophomores, juniors and eight graduating seniors – Tamader Alsultan, Kinda Morshed, Malia Bennett Henry, Aisha Al-Suwaidi, Maryam Al Darwish, Dylon Adonis, Marwa Al-Said, Soraya Teschner – who presented eclectic thesis collections featuring day-to-evening looks that reflected their aesthetic and creative visions.
Embroidered floral designs left a strong impression in Tamader Alsultan’s Blooms collection. Kinda Morshed’s Elizabeth.Haunted drew upon the evil queens of fairy tales and fiction; her black gowns featured exaggerated collars and dramatic feather details. For Manic Depression, Malia Bennett Henry aimed to convey a personal message, incorporating expressive Jackson Pollock-esque prints to transmit extremes of emotion. Aisha Al-Suwaidi made use of polka dots in Fashion as Art, emphasizing their charm with playful 60s-inspired silhouettes. Attention to craft and finishing was the highlight of The Details, a collection by Maryam Al Darwish, while Dylon Adonis remained faithful to his longstanding source of inspiration: nature. His collection, Triggered Metamorphosis, juxtaposed fur trims with structural tailoring to echo the tensions he sees existing between human nature and society’s expectations. A visit to New York City inspired Marwa Al-Said’s collection Bonsoir NY, which integrated corsets, leather and tulle in a contemporary way. VCUarts student Soraya Teschner transferred from Richmond to Qatar for her senior year. Coming to the desert from urban Virginia meant not only a big shift in culture, but also in scenery. “Qatar’s desert and beige landscape gave me a creative platform and inspired me to explore different styles in my senior fashion design year. My final collection Modern Warrior is inspired by hidden and rather soft strengths in women, which I found particular in the Middle East,” she said of her participation in ‘Thread.’
In a further effort to strengthen exchange opportunities between home and branch campuses, VCUQatar invited Gabriela Villalon, Rene Velasquez and Haley Choi, three senior fashion design students from the VCUarts Fashion Department in Richmond, VA, USA, to present their fashion collections in Doha. In hosting the guest designers, the theme of ‘Thread’ was given deeper meaning through the reinforcement of international connections and creative collaborations.
This year, students had the great privilege to present their collections alongside the work of renowned French couturier Stèphane Rolland. The designer, who remembers first sketching a women in a dress when he was only four years old, is proud to have realized his dream of creating his own Haute Couture Line. When asked from where he draws his inspiration and how he creates his pieces, Rolland explains: “I am mainly inspired by architecture, as well as the contrasts between t he light and the shadow, the yin and the yang, but when it comes to creating the pieces it is very much like cooking, because you need the right balance of all ingredients.”
Held annually since 1999, the VCUQatar Fashion Show has developed into a highly anticipated annual event in Qatar, with international invitees, guest designers and media. Marion Sanguesa, a VCUQatar 2012 fashion graduate, who now works at Salam stores, remembers presenting her senior collection at the VCUQatar campus in Education City. “Salam’s The Gate Mall opens more opportunities for the students to show their expertise to a wider audience,” Sanguesa says. “It shows the Qatar community that VCUQatar students’ work is more than just a university project.”
The winners of the Fashion Show Awards were announced on the last evening of the show. This year’s W Doha Award goes to Maryam Al Darwish and her The Details collection. The award was presented by Clara de Lama, director of marketing at the W Doha and includes the opportunity to make use of W Doha, and another W Hotel around the globe, as a platform to showcase her collections at various events happening throughout the year. The Salam Fashion Award, introduced in 2013 by Salam International Investments Chairman and CEO Issa Abu Issa, aims to support a graduate’s transition from student designer to professional. This year, it was presented by AbdulSalam Issa Abu Issa, member of the board of directors of Salam International to Malia Bennett Henry. The award includes mentorship during the development and design of two bespoke collections, which will be sold exclusively within a dedicated space in Salam Stores, Doha. The final sponsored award of the evening was the newly established GLAM award, which was presented by Sindhu Nair, the Chief Editor. Once again Malia Bennett Henry was awarded for her outstanding creativity in the Manic Depression collection.
With ‘Thread,’ the Fashion Design program concludes yet another academic year with a celebration of fashion. Thanks to the continued support of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, VCUQatar continues to further the development of the country’s growing fashion industry. We look forward to today’s graduates becoming tomorrow’s leaders in the world of fashion.