Guests were wowed when four aspiring fashion designers from the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) revealed the fruits of their labour in the first-ever Atelier 2020 programme, an Al Wasl Opera-inspired programme led by Expo 2020 Dubai. The exhibition showcased imaginative and culturally significant opera costumes developed by the students during the course, at the Dubai Opera.

A first of its kind in the region, the Atelier 2020 programme was designed by the Al Wasl Opera team and produced in collaboration with DIDI. It urged students to explore the complexity of design and production of opera costumes, a crucial element of visual storytelling and character development. With an emphasis on sustainability, students created inspiring designs prioritizing upcycling and zero-waste methods. From historical stargazers to a scientist returning home from Mars, each of the students invented original characters and accompanying costumes, using the latest technologies to illustrate their unique identities.

Hani Asfour, Dean of DIDI, said, “We are committed to expanding the UAE’s design and creative landscape by providing our students a platform from which they can nurture their talents and challenge themselves under world-class mentorship. They are the future fuel of our creative economy, which will play a large role in Dubai’s diversification strategy and cement the emirate as an international destination for creativity.
Our goal is to provide our students opportunities for visibility where they can display their work and ingenuity before the public. The exhibition provided a valuable platform for them to grow, while also demonstrating the calibre of talent we enable on an international and regional level. I am impressed by the inspired designs and technical skills that were on show at the exhibition, and look forward to seeing how our students will continue elevating the global fashion design field.”

Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director, Commissioner General Office, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai is a creative hub that is supporting the UAE’s flourishing arts scene and helping strengthen its creative economy. This is a key part of Expo’s legacy, and is supported by initiatives such as the Atelier 2020 Programme. We are delighted to see such a diverse and talented group of students produce such high-quality output – and in a manner that reflects one of our core themes of sustainability.”

The exhibition featured costumes by Pavwan Malik, Yangkai Zhang, Zinah Issa and Mohammad Baazim.
They were supported by Noorin Khamisani (DIDI Lecturer in Fashion Design), Giovanna Avanzi (Atelier 2020 Project Manager), Vanessa Gate (DIDI Fashion Technician) and Daphné Vulliez (Atelier 2020 Technician).
Located in Dubai Design District (d3), DIDI is a private not-for-profit educational institution and has become one of the UAE’s leading design universities. With a curriculum developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Parsons School of Design, DIDI offers bachelor’s Design degree with concentrations in Product Design, Multimedia Design, Fashion Design and Strategic Design Management.