The Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA) Awards, an annual international event, to be held in Doha, has announced that Mary Alice Malone, Founder and Creative Director of Malone Souliers, is among the new members of the advisory board for the annual prize.

Mary Alice, an expert within her field, is among other leading fashion figures within the industry including Erdem Moralioglu, Olivier Theyskens, Gaia Repossi, Pierre M’Pelé and Piergiorgio Del Moro, who have joined the advisory board of the fourth edition of Fashion Trust Arabia’s annual prize for fashion designers from the Middle East and North Africa.

The non-profit organisation is once again planning a live awards ceremony, to be held in Doha, on October 26. The advisory board will select the 24 finalists who will present their work to the FTA jury. The winners in the four main categories will receive a financial grant of between $100,000 and $200,000, while the recipient of the Franca Sozzani Award will secure a cash award of $25,000 and a mentorship programme. Winning designers will also benefit from a one-year partnership with British luxury retailer Matchesfashion, which includes a mentorship programme and the opportunity to showcase their collections across all Matchesfashion channels. In addition, they will receive guidance on sustainability from ethical fashion retailer Maison de Monde.

This year, the chosen guest country is Turkey, with a separate award to be handed to a Turkish designer specialising in women’s ready-to-wear. The board will also be responsible for creating the shortlist of Turkish designers for the Guest Country Award, to be conferred in partnership with the Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association.

Mary Alice founded Malone Souliers in 2014 and has led the brand to become a globally renowned household name. Her gracious, participatory approach to heading up a brand has gone unchanged since Malone Souliers’ early days and filters through every part of the company, making Mary Alice a strong addition to the advisory board in supporting emerging design talent.

Mary Alice grew up on her family’s horse-breeding farm in Pennsylvania. She was a distinguished dressage rider and was selected for the US Junior Olympic Equestrian Team. Visits from an eccentric grandmother sparked her curiosity about the transformative power of fashion and a passion for psychology led to an education in political science. She later discovered her vocation as a ‘maker’ and enrolled in art school in Colorado. Mary Alice’s affinity for craftsmanship and structural forms led to shoemaking, at London College of Fashion’s Cordwainers course. Her psychology background remains an endless source of inspiration, ensuring that her designs explore more profound concepts than fashion themes alone. ✤