TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio alumnus Yousef Akbar has taken out the top prize in the dedicated eveningwear category at the prestigious 2020 Fashion Trust Arabia Awards. The award comes with financial assistance and the opportunity to collaborate with and be recognised by some of the biggest names in international fashion.
Yousef is one of just five young designers who were chosen as winners by a judging committee that included the likes of Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, Alber Elbaz, Elizabeth Salzman and Olivier Rousteing, all of whom met the designers via a series of Zoom conferences last month.
Yousef Akbar launched his contemporary evening wear brand in 2017. His incredible story and rise in the fashion industry has to be heard to be believed, from time spent as a tenpin bowling champion in Saudi Arabia, to formal qualifications and an almost-career in supply chain management and logistics, to studying at the renowned TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio and becoming a consultant for the Saudi royal family, Yousef has experienced an astronomical rise and this unique talent still has much to offer.
Yousef said, "It’s a dream come true. It’s a strange to have a dream come true as these things are so rare, and I am overwhelmed by happiness because this will open doors to the global fashion industry which is priceless.
“My brand is not only about creating clothes but is about creating stories that evoke the emotions of the person wearing my clothes and making them feel like they are part of the story. Today we are bombarded with harsh realities, and I believe it is more important than ever to dream.
“When I was a little boy, I would dress in a Batman or Superman costume and I would feel like a superhero. That’s exactly what I want the women wearing my clothes to feel. To feel sexy, powerful and beautiful. I believe it’s not only about physical beauty it’s about a creating a frame of mind or an emotion which is just as important,” Mr Akbar said.
The TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio is broadly recognised in Australia and abroad as a leader in fashion education, graduating many of Australia’s top designers including Dion Lee, Zimmermann and Akira. Graduates have gone on to help shape the development of the Australian fashion industry and its recognition globally.
Team leader at the TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio Anne Normoyle said the win was an incredible achievement.
“The Fashion Trust Arabia award is judged by some of the most influential fashion names on the planet, so what Yousef has achieved is a testament to his hard work and the skills that he acquired by studying with TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio.
“Yousef is totally dedicated to his craft and works with a genuine dedication to making clothing that the wearer connects with on an emotional level. He challenges existing conventions about evening wear, about sexuality and about body adornment.
“Yousef was recognised as one to watch at his first solo show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, this award is now an endorsement of his talent globally. I have no doubt that through this great accolade Yousef will continue to go on to bigger and greater things and inspire the next generation of fashion designers,” Ms Normoyle said.
As for Yousef, he’s certainly one to watch as the spotlight of the international fashion stage continues to shine brightly on his achievements.
“I am a big believer in vocational education when it comes to fashion and though there are many who succeed without formal training I believe the skills and the knowledge I gained, especially in how to construct my garments, was extremely valuable,” Yousef said.
“The understanding and technical knowledge makes you understand the boundaries so you then know where you can break them and explore. In addition to that, at the Fashion Design Studio I learnt how to understand and channel my creativity.”
To find out more about the Bachelor of Fashion Design at the TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601 for more information.
Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0402 528 210.