Fashion designers from different countries gathered again at the biggest fashion event in Qatar ‘Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition’ that took place on October 23. This was the 16th edition of this successful fashion event, which became popular in the region. It was held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC). Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition is set to bring a series of events showcasing the latest in Arabian and modest designs from more than 250 brands around the globe, as well as inspiring discussions on the business of fashion, latest trends, beauty, textiles, and sustainable fashion. The launching ceremony was attended by model Halima Aden as special guest of the event.


Qatar Airways, the partner of Heya flew Halima Aden and other international guests and media personnel to the event. Flying with Qatar Airways was a great experience as they provided best services onboard and on ground. Also the aircraft was equipped with latest technology to ensure maximum comfort for passengers. Day one saw an inspiring line-up of designers who exhibited their latest creations with spectacular fashion shows including; Debaj and Al Baccarat Fashion, as well as Malo Italy, Faggioli Atelier, Atelier C Firenze and Positivity Couture.


The opening show was followed by a celebrity talk with Halima Aden, the first hijab-wearing model. In collaboration with Narges Raiss, contributing editor for Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia Arabia and Esquire Qatar, Aden participated in the ‘Celebrity talk: Breaking boundaries, a history of firsts’, where she shared her journey to success and the rise of modest fashion on the international fashion scene. Day one also included a presentation by Cosmoprof, followed by hosting a talk in collaboration with Jeannie Lee, Head of Buyers at Galleries Lafayette, and Christopher Fink, VCUArts Chair of Fashion, on: ‘The International Fashion Scene in Parallelism to the Arabian Vogue’. The day concluded with a fashion show including designers; Tahani Al Otaibi, Apple Wang, Al Marya, Bebe Collection, Sweet Dolce, Lialy Line and Kyra.


Around 70 percent of the exhibitors were from Qatar. Kuwait had the largest number of international participants with many Kuwait female designers. Basayel Style from Kuwait participated in Heya from the first time. “I participate with different styles of Dara’as and occasion dresses. I only make one or two pieces of each design to keep it unique. Heya is one of the biggest fashion events in the region, so I’m keen on participating every year,” Huda told Kuwait Times. Hanadi Al-Hinedi the designer and owner of Miss Dress Boutique from Kuwait also participated in Heya. “Heya is the most popular fashion exhibition in Doha, so I always participate in both editions; winter and summer every year. And due to the high interest of participants, the organizers only chose the best. During each edition I design suitable designs for that season,” she pointed out.


Khawla Al-Khater from Khawla Al-Khater Haute Couture from Qatar was been participating in Heya exhibition since its first edition. Samiha Jamali the designer and owner of S-Cycle also from Qatar participated for the second time. “I’m displaying over 57 pieces including only 12 pieces from the old collection. Now I’ve made a capsule collection suitable for the winter and travel season. Leather is in now, so I included it in my designs. My pieces include Abayas, dresses, shorts, and tops that can be worn under Abaya. My designs are suitable for all occasions and all nationalities. Furthermore I designed special accessories like gloves and other accessories to match the Abayas,” she stated.


Modest fashion, workshops and more
Manal from Moda Mania participated for the fourth time, whereas Atelier.c Firenze, an Italian brand participated for the first time in Heya exhibition. On the second day, visitors enjoyed an array of fashion-forward events including a beauty workshop presented by Bioskinspa with tips on skincare, a workshop by VCUArts Qatar, and a workshop by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. In addition to the workshops, day two also showcased a talk by Elsbeth Blekkenhorst from Elisabietta fashion brand on ‘How to create your own online fashion brand’.


Other workshops included skin care tips and facial whitening techniques, top three techniques on how to effectively use an eyeliner, student testimonies, creative makeup, your skin at 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond, and women empowerment. Besides, fashion shows were held, in addition to awarding ceremonies and Tajmeel’s Annual Graduation. Held annually, Heya sheds limelight on the largest display of Arabian designers. With more than 250 brands of abayas and modest fashion designs, the event offers visitors an assortment of unique collections, from high-street apparel, couture and luxury, to the latest modest evening gowns, leather accessories as well as perfumery and make-up.


This edition will also showcase haute couture modest fashion from 11 different countries, representing four continents including neighboring countries Kuwait and Oman as well as India, Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco, China, Indonesia, Italy and Georgia. Heya is delivered by Design Creationz with the support of QNTC as part of its efforts to empower the private sector to attract and host global events. The event is delivered by Design Creationz, with the support of the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC), as part of its effort to empower the private sector to attract and host global events.


The 16th edition of the exhibition has collaborated with several key partners and high-profile stakeholders in Qatar, the region and globally including a partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University – Qatar (VCUQ), one of the best fashion schools in the world, Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), Bedaya Center, Maison de Joelle, W Doha, Tajmeel Academy, Intercontinental Doha the City, VCUArts Qatar, Bioskin Spa, Qatar Red Crescent, Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), IDAM, H.E.N.K.S and Kaafe.

By Nawara Fattahova