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Jacob Abrian & Employability in Fashion.

By Rosine Sioufi

As founder and chief executive officer of Arab Fashion Council, Jacob Abrian gave us a glimpse of what the future of the fashion industry in Arab countries might look like. He aims at bringing to fruition AFC’s main purpose and vision; to promote the region and establish a creative economy in the Arab world.

This plan has been named “Vision 2030”. It came about when the Arab World realized they needed an economic plan that goes further than their oil-based economy. The UAE has announced the Energy Strategy 2050 which will shift the focus into the renewal resources. H.E. Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei, the UAE Minister of Energy has stated on the website of the Ministry of Energy and Industry: “We focused on the need not to devise a costly strategy that will not achieve financial savings, and part of what we thought also was the thought that one day we would not have oil in UAE. We can not rely solely on fossil fuels, and this is what we are pursuing with the Energy Strategy 2050”. UAE has therefore, set many plans in motion to create different economic sectors that can sustain and build its economy beyond that date.

One of the sectors it is working on is a complete, independent fashion economy where the region will produce everything from raw materials to textiles to final garment. The model plans to utilize different countries in the Arab World for different purposes. For example, Egypt for its superior cotton, Tunisia for its renowned textile production, Morocco for its leather and embroidery. These materials will then be shipped to the Levant countries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine where their women are known for their craftsmanship and quality in assembly. Next, these finished items will be sent to the GCC countries, known as great marketing, merchandising and exporting hubs. This plan is estimated to generate over 20 million jobs, specifically for women.

AFC has already created history this year by organizing the first Fashion Week in Saudi Arabia. They have also launched a scholarship program where students are chosen for their talent and sent to study fashion abroad in top institutes and colleges.

It is also the Council’s goal to try and decrease fashion’s contribution to global warming. AFC therefore, founded the AFC GREEN LABEL as a platform to help those fashion brands that adhere to its guidelines for sustainable fashion. Those selected brands are sponsored and their collections are showcased during fashion week.

All in all, Jacob Abrian paints a beautiful, optimistic, and ambitious fashion future for our region. Where all aspects of the industry get the support and knowledge it needs to go to the next level.