Nine fashion design projects from students at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar


Dezeen School Shows: a fashion design project that contrasts delicate fabrics with unfinished seams is included in Dezeen’s latest school show by students at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Also included is a project honouring Qatari heritage alongside modern styling and another taking inspiration from ancient statues and Qatar’s deserts.


Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University
School: School of Arts
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink, Chair and Federica Visani

School statement:

“Behind the Seen was an immersive fashion show organised by VCUarts Qatar’s Fashion Design Class of 2024.

“The clever play on words signalled an exploration of what lay beyond the surface.

“In a twist to the traditional ramp-based presentation, attendees were whisked off into a creative studio transformed into an enchanting atelier, giving them a glimpse of the individual inspirations and meticulous processes of the senior students.

“Mood boards, intricate sketches, meticulous pattern-making and graceful drapes made for an immersive journey that told the story of the evolution of every collection.

“Each designer’s unique approach, innovation and originality were revealed in a celebration of talent, dedication and the artistry of fashion.”


A person walking on a white runway floor with a black backdrop, wearing a red skirt and a yellow top with blue sleeves.

Omani Punk by Alfutoon Al Said

“While advocating for change, the collection is deeply rooted in traditional and historical values, explicitly drawing inspiration from the rich cultural heritage of Oman.

“Each piece is a delicate balance between rebellion and reverence, fusing contemporary aesthetics with a mindful acknowledgement of the unique cultural values that shape Omani identity.

“The collection is a testament to the belief that embracing change does not necessitate the abandonment of tradition – instead, it encourages a harmonious coexistence of modernity and the cherished cultural heritage of Oman.”

Student: Alfutoon Al Said
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink and Federica Visani
Email: alsaida[at]vcu.edu


A person walking on a white runway floor with a blue dress on.

Jazz Era Arabified by Emman Alsahouti

My thesis explores the fusion of Arab graphic art and jazz era allure, honouring tradition while infusing it with modernity.

“Drawing inspiration from Qatari garments and Arab motifs, I blend Art Deco, Samurai and flapper influences to breathe new life into age-old symbols.

“Through storytelling and experimentation, I invite viewers to journey into a realm of theatricality, celebrating the transformative power of imagination in fashion.

“My work is a celebration of tradition meeting innovation, where fantasy intertwines with reality to push the boundaries of design and storytelling.”

Student: Emman Alsahouti
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink and Federica Visani
Email: alsahotie[at]vcu.edu


A person walking through a group of people sat on chairs, wearing black clothing.

Ambiguity Unfolded: Fluidity Meets Structure by Fatima Al-Siddiqi

“This senior year collection celebrates creativity and breaks stereotypes by exploring the relationship between fluidity and structure.

“A monochromatic palette serves as a background for this exploration, with textures and weights as the focus.

“Inspired by gender fluidity, the garments showcase motion and are designed to honour natural contours.

“By manipulating fabrics in semi-origami shapes, the collection seamlessly combines fabric flow and structure.

“It is designed to be modern, functional and appealing to those who value individuality and self-expression.”

Student: Fatima Al-Siddiqi
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink and Federica Visani
Email: ffalsiddiqi[at]gmail.com


A person walking on a white floor with people in chairs sat around them, wearing black and white clothing.

Active Undercover by Amna Al-balam

“Archive Undercover is a collection of modest, contemporary wear for modern women like me, women who have potential and talent and whose life’s journey is a reflection of their inner self.

“Each garment holds references to special moments from my life.

For instance, pictures of a book page, a Swarovski staircase, an artwork of a self-portrait, rocks from museums and nature landscapes from all around the world.

“Each piece tells a story of a profound moment that made me who I am today and defined my style.”

Student: Amna Al-balam
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink and Federica Visani
Email: albalama2[at]vcu.edu


A person walking on a white runway floor in a red dress.

Ceylonese by Aanji Speldewinde

“In crafting the Ceylonese collection, I drew inspiration from my multicultural upbringing and the vibrant tapestry of influences that have shaped my identity.

“Social media and street style served as constant sources of inspiration.

“From the intricate Kandyan pleats of traditional sarees to the bold silhouettes of the 90s, each garment in the collection is a testament to this cross-cultural dialogue.

“This collection honours the spirit of Sri Lanka and offers a unique perspective on the intersection of tradition and modernity in today’s fashion landscape.”

Student: Aanji Speldewinde
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink and Federica Visani
Email: speldewindea[at]vcu.edu


A person walking on a white floor with people sat in chairs either side, wearing a beige coloured dress.

Draped Dunes by Maha Al-Rabaan

“The collection blends the timeless elegance of Roman sculptures with the rich hues of Qatar’s desert landscapes.

“Drawing inspiration from the intricate drapery of ancient statues and infused with the warm hues of Qatar’s desert landscapes, the collection captures the natural beauty of the region.

“With a focus on simplicity and sophistication, the collection’s vision and purpose are to transcend the ordinary and embrace a reality that feels almost otherworldly.

“Immerse yourself in this world and experience timeless elegance reimagined for the modern woman.”

Student: Maha Al-Rabaan
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink, Chair and Federica Visani
Email: alrabaanmj[at]vcu.edu


Two people walking in different directions, next to one another. Both are in red dresses and walking on a white floor with a black backdrop, with people in chairs either side of them.

Babylon by Aatikah Al-Thani

“My collection is an ode to women – it encapsulates the allure, grace and fiery essence of femininity.

“Each piece was meticulously designed and crafted to tap into the graceful spirit that every woman possesses.

“With a dark and romantic vibe, the garments feature intricate lacework, embellishments and masterful embroidery that depicts the essential elegance of bold femininity.

“My designs are a fusion of surrealism, jazz and class, in evocative red, to reflect the timeless beauty of femininity that transcends passing trends and fads.”

Student: Aatikah Al-Thani
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink and Federica Visani
Email: althania2[at]vcu.edu


A person walking on a white runway floor with people in chairs around them. They are wearing a silver dress.

Serenity by Wadha Al Attiya

“Serenity offers a delightful contrast of bold silhouettes and delicate fabrics.

“The dresses are designed to highlight the beauty of unfinished seams and exquisite tailoring, emphasising both the perfection and imperfection of beauty and its subjective nature.

“By embracing the beauty of the unfinished, each piece pays homage to the ‘work in progress’ nature of the craft of fashion.

“The raw edges are unexpectedly allowed to take centre stage in the elegant and sophisticated world of formal evening wear, thus adding the unique touch of the designer to each garment.”

Student: Wadha Al Attiya
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink and Federica Visani
Email: alatiayawh[at]vcu.edu


A person walking on a white runway floor with people in chairs sat around them. They are wearing a red dress and a gold garmet over their face.

Desert Rose by Asma Alkubaisi

“I opted to fuse ancient Qatari heritage with modern sophistication, constructing a manifestation of the enduring elegance found in the heart of Arabia.

“I used traditional Middle Eastern attire as the foundation of this project and modernised it to create timeless beauty inspired by Qatari heritage.

“The colour palette was inspired by the warmth of the desert sands, radiant golds and earthy tones.

“Each piece testifies to the stories of our Arab ancestors, engulfing the viewer in the spirit of Qatari heritage.”

Student: Asma Alkubaisi
Course: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
Tutors: Christopher Fink and Federica Visani
Email: alkubaisia[at]vcu.edu

Partnership content

This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and Virginia Commonwealth University. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.



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