Irthi Launches Third Edition of Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme

Irthi Launches Third Edition of Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme

In collaboration with London College of Fashion offers expert mentorship to Emirati women designers

Sharjah, April 29, 2019: Irthi Contemporary Craft Council (Irthi), a NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) affiliate, has announced the third edition of its flagship fashion entrepreneurs progarmme, ‘Azyame’, which is conducted in partnership with the esteemed London College of Fashion.

Emirati women designers, who have produced a least two full original collections, and can commit to the one-year programme are welcome to apply on The deadline for application is May 20, 2019.

This third edition of Azyame will be led by founder and Director of TNM Consultancy Ltd, Toby Meadows, who is a Visiting Lecturer at the London College of Fashion. Meadows also leads award-winning London based cult womenswear designer label “Belle & Bunty”, and has authored How to Set up & Run a Fashion Label, currently translated into nine different languages.

Ten successful applicants will be selected to participate in a series of workshops between June 16-21 2019, which will shed light on the basics of starting a fashion label, how to uniquely interpret new trends for one’s own business and champion innovation, and guide participants to understanding the dynamics of ethical and sustainable practices in the fashion business, and how to forge authentic creative partnerships with local craftspeople.

These workshops will be followed by a mix of face-to-face mentoring sessions in Sharjah, and online video conferencing with Meadows, between July 2019 and March 2020, that are customised to match the development of each participant, and where the participants can cover any topic they need assistance with, such as coming up with design concepts, pricing, and business structure.

Azyame’s alumni over the past two editions have been supported by Irthi to showcase their collections at Paris Fashion Week 2018, a trunk show in Sao Paulo, and a two-month pop up store at Fenwick of Bond Street in London.

What’s new in 2019?
The focus of the 2017 edition on ethical fashion and sustainable practices, will be further promoted in 2019. Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), explains why: “As part of our commitment to promoting ethical and sustainable practices in the crafts sector, the programme will offer its participants guidance on developing their label using an eco-friendly and sustainable approach that can be applied through all stages of work, from research to sampling, to production.”

She added: “Participating designers will also have to incorporate the crafts produced by Irthi’s Bidwa Social Development Programme’s artisans featuring Talli, Safeefah or traditional embroidery into their new collections. This is part of Irthi’s commitment to building a strong and integrated supply chain and realising our vision of empowering women through the crafts.”

BinKaram emphasised that Azyame reflects NAMA’s and Irthi’s mission to support capacity-building and self-employment for women, especially in the crafts sector. The programme will also support fashion entrepreneurs to build unique, sustainable, and socially-minded businesses, and at the same time marry traditional crafts and modern ambitions of fashion into one dynamic ecosystem for the creation of an authentic genre of crafts-inspired and woman-led fashion in the UAE.

Azyame was first launched in 2016 to support the next generation of UAE-based designers and has since gained tremendous appeal in the UAE’s fashion circles, particularly among Emirati talents who have found Azyame to be a strong mentoring ground and launchpad for their businesses.



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