fathiya-al-jaber2

On Thursday 5 September 2013, Qatari and British cultures will combine to stunning effect as the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London hosts Fashion Exchange, a fashion show that will feature work by internationally renowned UK designer Philip Treacy and emerging female entrepreneurs from Qatar’s Roudha Centre, Elham Al Ansari, Fathiya Al Jaber and Hessa Al Mannai.

The Director of Arts for the British Council and Chair of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture Steering Committee, Graham Sheffield, said:

This spectacular show provides a platform for emerging Qatari designers whilst showcasing the work of one of UK’s most respected designers. This unique collaboration will cultivate recognition, understanding, and appreciation of Qatari culture, and explore possibilities for the future, which is exactly what Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture is all about.’

The September show will pair Abayas and Jalabiyas by the Qatari designers with headdresses by Philip Treacy with the aim of challenging perceptions of the Abaya and the role of women in Gulf societies. The Abaya will be celebrated as a garment of style, modesty and expression much like the Kimono and Sari have been with Japanese and Indian cultures.

Aisha Ghanem Al Attiya, Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture spokesperson, said:

We are delighted to have been part in this exceptional fashion project. For six months, the Year of Culture has provided people in Qatar and the UK with unique opportunities to engage with Qatari and British cultures, largely in the arenas of performing arts, education, cultural exchange, sport and community outreach. As the Year of Culture aims to strengthen bilateral relations between Qatar and the UK, this fashion show is very symbolic for us.’

Fashion Exchange forms part of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture which celebrates the long-standing relationship between the two countries and aims to forge new and support existing partnerships in the arts, education, sport and science, while promoting an awareness and appreciation of each country’s culture, achievements and heritage. The Year of Culture is a programme of cultural exchanges and events in Qatar and the UK coordinated by the British Council and Qatar Museums Authority with the support of their respective Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs and a number of leading British and Qatari cultural and educational organisations. HRH the Prince of Wales and HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, are Patrons of Qatar UK 2013.

Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, said:

The British Fashion Council is delighted to welcome emerging Qatari designers to London and we hope to find more ways to collaborate and support Qatar UK 2013.’

In December, Fashion Exchange continues with six upcoming British designers selected by British Fashion Council, travelling to Qatar for a series of shows in Doha’s elegant Salam Gate Mall.

Fashion Exchange will culminate in a private show with established designers like Alice Temperley and Philip Treacy at IM Pei’s spectacular Museum of Islamic Art, featuring Temperley’s iconic gowns and Spring Summer 2014 collection, and handbags and hats by Treacy.