Registration open for the Irthi’s Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme


Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council (Irthi) and The Design Studio Azza Fahmy, are set to launch a ground-breaking cultural partnership aimed at supporting the next generation of Emirati designers to hone their skills in regional handcrafting traditions and increase their visibility in new markets.

Starting end of February 2023 and running for 9 months as part of the fourth edition of Irthi’s flagship Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme, organised in association with the Design Studio by Azza Fahmy (DSAF), aspiring jewellery designers will develop their creative and entrepreneurial skills under the mentorship of the visionary designer Azza Fahmy. The collaboration fulfils Irthi’s goals of creating the next generation of UAE-based fashion & Jewellery designers through capacity building, mentoring and business development. Participants in the programme will receive training through a series of workshops offered both in the UAE and in Egypt.

DSAF, the first design school of its kind in Egypt and the Middle East, was launched by Azza Fahmy in 2013 in collaboration with Alchimia, Contemporary Design School based in Florence, Italy, and is an educational platform that taps into the inventiveness and creative energy of students. The well-known Egyptian designer has also worked with global lines and created collections for the British and Louvre Museums.

The renowned designer, who has hosted more than 200 exhibitions worldwide and counts royalty, celebrities, and fashion models among her customers, will serve as the cohort leader for the fourth edition. The Irthi X DSAF participants will also benefit from Azza Fahmy’s refreshing artistic and cultural approach as she also equips them with unique tools and skills they need to establish their own independent brands.

Irthi X DSAF
The programme offers one-on-one mentorship sessions to equip each designer with customised exercises and techniques within the provided curriculums to enable participants to manage the whole design and production process, from brand identity to market presentation and sales.

The Irthi x DSAF programme will also teach participants how to create genuine creative partnerships and the dynamics of ethical and sustainable practices in the fashion business. Participants also have opportunities to interact with experts in branding, public relations, sales and marketing. The sessions will help participants grow their businesses through guidance in key areas such as general business planning, ways to interpret new trends, and establishing products’ unique selling points.

Preserving heritage 
Reem Bin Karam, Director of the Nama Foundation for the Advancement of Women added “Our young generations are the custodians and preservers of our common heritage. In line with Irthi’s vision to empower women through the crafts, the Irthi X DSAF collaboration benefits young designers keen on enhancing their artistry and find new markets for their design labels as they go on to build unique, sustainable, and socially responsible businesses that are at the intersection of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary elegance.”

Irthi’s incubator programme has graduated three cohorts till date in partnership with the London School of Fashion. Azyame’s alumni have previously shown their collections at Paris Fashion Week 2018, held a trunk-show in Sao Paulo, and were part of a two-month pop-up store at Fenwick of Bond Street in London. Women designers in the last edition unveiled their fashion and jewellery collections inspired by Emirati crafts on ‘Elevenish’, an international e-commerce site.

To register for the programme or to know more, visit Irthi’s social media handles on @irthiCouncil, or email through The deadline for receiving applications is February 27, 2023.

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