The changing face of Fashion Forward Dubai

Roni Helou

As this year’s Fashion Forward four-day event came to an end, I feel that the fashion industry is no longer what it used to be.

This year FFWD organizers decided to face the challenges of changing global fashion industry by making this event free-to-attend for public and launching a digital platform to enable “shop the look now ” experience during and after the catwalk show. Source: Fashion Forward Dubai

Call it awakening or a significant shift in fashion industry trends; we cannot deny that there is a rapid change happening in consumer habits related to technology. Still, also there are more significant underlying issues such as economic and political challenges that are slowing down consumer spending.

The fashion industry is not only about the trends, but above all, it’s a big business that needs to be fueled by the spenders. Luxury brands are hunting for young shoppers as the middle-class group is dramatically shrinking. 

Fashion platforms are facing criticism over promoting the culture of consumption. The environmental activists are calling for more sustainable initiatives, which will encourage greener business models.

Roni Helou, 27 years old Lebanese fashion designer used FFWD fashion platform to address the issue of sustainability.

A graduate of Creative Space Beirut, Helou wants to ensure that his brand is as sustainable as possible. He said: “I’ve always believed in the importance of ethical practices and social justice, and I try to be careful when it comes to leaving environmental footprints behind.” Source:

This year at FFWD he was showing along with designer Hazem Kais.  For his latest collection, he used deadstock materials and discarded fabrics.

He addressed the issue of sustainability by using high-quality vintage fabrics instead of using new chemically-treated and dyed materials. Source:

Interestingly, with his most recent campaign he addressed the issue of the garbage crisis in Lebanon which after five years remains unresolved.

What made Helou’s show at FFWD 2019 stand out for me was his idea of inviting models to dress themselves in front of the audience. In this way, he highlighted the importance of transparency in the fashion industry.

Models dressing themselves in front of the audience at Roni Helou’s fashion show FFWD 2019

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