Dubai Culture launches worlds first fashion show for designers with special needs

Dubai, 29th May 2009 (WAM): Under the patronage and presence of HH Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and in the presence of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Culture launched the first International Fashion Show for designers with special needs – the first of its kind in the world.

Under the theme of “Dubai makes Dreams Come True” the fashion show recognises that people with disabilities have much to offer and are capable of contributing to their local communities. It encourages people and communities to focus on a person’s achievement and abilities rather than their disability.

The aim of the fashion is to encourage positive attitudes towards people with disabilities, make the Dubai community a better place for everyone, sensitise communities on disability issues and improve their access to facilities.

The event attracted a huge audience of ministers, ambassadors and Emariti designers. The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority was thrilled at the supportive response given by the audience. It became evident that students with special needs have the urge and need for such exposure and socialization.

His Excellency Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC and Managing Director of the Dubai Culture ‘&’ Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) said: “This show represents a leading endeavour to encourage and support talented designers with special needs, and is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minster of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as with Dubai Culture’s strategic objective of identifying and nurturing artistic talent in all segments of the community and creating cultural opportunities that contribute to the growth of our country.

”Dubai Culture’s support for this event also comes in line with the directives of Sheikh Majid to support initiatives that serve to encourage people with special needs across UAE society to express their talent”.
Saeed Al Nabouda, Chief Projects Officer at the Dubai Culture ‘&’ Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), said: “The Fashion Show is tailored to integrate individuals with special needs into the creative community. It represents an essential element of the authority’s efforts to support distinguished projects and concepts and shape them into actions in the cultural sector”.

Last year, the Dubai Culture ‘&’ Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) in collaboration with Rashid Pediatric Therapy Centre and The Events Agency launched the Development Program for Talented Special Needs Fashion Designers, which saw the participation of many individuals with special needs from the UAE and other Arab countries.

Mr. Ahmad Khoury, Founder of the Rashid Pediatric Therapy Centre, said that the centre strives to sponsor creative concepts that focus on the interests of individuals with special needs. Among these is the Fashion Show dedicated to highlight the innovation of this segment of society and tap into individual talent. He added: “The purpose of this Show is to prepare these talented designers to access the fashion domain, train them especially for this career and make new strides into a new horizon.” “The execution of this project required a collective and condensed work. We worked together under the umbrella of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) with enthusiasm and interest as success makes the project worth all the hard work and efforts we put into it. The Events Agency will continue organizing this show annually offering opportunities to the talented worldwide and opening the door to exchange experiences and knowledge with the neighboring countries, so that all the disabled benefit from this event”, Mrs. Noora Alrostamani, Chairman of The Events Agency said.

Abdulla Ibrahim bin Hussain, Director of Local Affairs for MKM Holdings commented “Wafi is proud to be a platinum sponsors for the first fashion show for talented special needs students, in conjunction with the Events Agency and the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Wafi firmly believes in being an active member of the local community to reach out to those people who may be less fortunate, and it’s great for us to be able to support a project that will motivate students to enhance their position in society and develop their independence”.

He went on to say, “The programme is an ideal platform to empower selected students to develop and utilise their skills in the fashion world with the ultimate aim of increasing their self-confidence and assisting them to become known designers.” “I was inspired to come with the concept of enhancing the skills of talented designers with special needs by the opportunity given to me in 1983 to develop my intellectual capacities away from the boring technical style”, said Marwan Harzallah, the international fashion designer and supervisor of this project. “I have come across many undiscovered talented people with special needs who look for support to make their dream come true”.

Harazalla added,” Thus, I conducted a special workshop for some of them in collaboration with The Events Agency, specialized in unleashing artistic capacities in the fashion world, under the auspice of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, the official entity that supports culture and the development of programmes designed to enable all community segments”.

He concluded, “The project took two years and now the talented designers have become capable of bringing out the best they have. Definitely, history will recognize that Dubai is the first city in the world that has revived people with special needs in the world of fashion and beauty. In one word, the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority has inspired many of them. Well done Dubai and congratulations on this achievement which had been unattainable dream without the authority’s support!” WAM/TF

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