We are pleased to present our very first 'Style in Your City' guest blog post, by Nihal Abd El Aziz, who writes about the style in Cairo.
Sex and the City meets Gossip Girl: Cairo…
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Cairo: veiled women and black attire, right? Well, the correct answer ladies and gents would be a definite NO.
Before I explain why, let me first start by giving you a brief history lesson. Cairo is the capital of Egypt, the country with one of the richest histories in the world. It started with the Phaoranic civilization, later occupied by the Romans, Greeks, Turks, French and last but not least the Brits.
This interesting mix of cultures that Egyptians have been exposed to has made the culture very rich and diverse: hence the Modern Egyptian. Now take that Modern Egyptian, and add in globalization, Satellite TV, social networking, internet sites, Egyptian Lifestyle English and Arabic Magazines, as well as international brands, clubs and pubs, parties and a killers beach scene. It is safe to say that the population has been totally “styled up”
Walking around the city, you will find women of all ages, all looking very fashionable, depending on what’s in that season. From skinny jeans and gladiator sandals, boots and scarves, bangles and head bands, heels and leggings, funky sunglasses to designer bags, it’s like watching an episode of Sex and the City meets Gossip Girl. That’s all besides the hair and makeup and the perfectly manicured nails with oh la la colors. It’s not all about the detail…it’s about what you can throw in to an outfit to try to stand out and personalize it. That gave more space to all the current Egyptian and Lebanese designers in the region who fuse the funky western look with a touch of authentic feel.
With the girls all dazzled up and looking like magazine material, the guys are also joining in the fun. With designer labels and accessories, a guy is expected to look like he made an effort putting an outfit together, rather than just throw anything on. Yes, Metrosexuality is totally and utterly in vogue. So with guys and women totally living it up, and having to meet at a lot of social events and obligations, people look like they are ready to pose for a magazine...because usually they are. Social magazines are present at every event and you’ll probably be featured in the next issue, so you better be ready to strike a pose and show us what you’ve got.
To sum it all up, it’s about what’s in, what’s hot…..with a touch of classic Art!
On Thursday 17th June 2010, Lisa was interviewed by The Manchester Fashion Group about power of Twitter as a business tool (the interview was conducted via Twitter). Click here (or on the logo below) to read the full interview.
Summer cocktail parties are beginning to commence, meaning it’s time you update your party attire! Sure, “the little black dress” is a staple item to keep at hand on all occasions, but we have to be realistic. Summer means bright, airy colors that really remind us of the season, and what better shade to show off our tans than bright neon yellow? When accented against nude, light grey, or white, the effect is astounding!
Take a look at reality TV star, Whitney Port, from The City. Wearing a Yigal Azrouel minidress at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, she’s absolutely glowing. Model Dree Hemingway wears a similar color theme in Valentino at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Read Lisa's latest post for the New York Lifestyle and Charity website Red Rover Style. Lisa talks about up and coming fashion designer Jane Phelps, the creative mind behind bespoke couture label, JStreet.
Click here to read the article or click on the logo below.
We were lucky enough to interview the dynamic Mohammed Sultan Al Habtoor, the brains behind fashion label, House of glaMO
How did you get into the fashion world?
I am a firm believer that you are born with a certain style which you develop as you grow as it is all in your DNA and what you make of it. Getting into the world of fashion in my case started at an early age from when I was a child at home. I use to see my true and only role model, my mum getting ready for glamorous evenings, to go out with my father. Her sense of style has always fascinated me. She used to read magazines watch classical movies and get inspired by them. I used to see her design and sketch her own clothes and she would take me to the atelier where she use to stand on a stool and get fitted with tailors, seamstresses, pins, needles materials and fabric, which was fashion heaven to me, and the rest is history. I have always loved fashion, clothes and putting things together on myself, as well as family and friends. The shock factor was what I always had in the back of my head, which is why I always stood out whenever I got dressed, taking that extra risk and daring to stand out like a sore thumb. I have always been well travelled from a very early age and my curiosity always led me to see things that at the time were not in Dubai. Of course over the years the UAE has developed and Dubai has become a fashion capital in its own right and I have witnessed this growth and have been a strong part of it. Thanks to technology and the world of cyberspace, I have kept myself up to speed and got involved with it all. Today I see myself sitting front row at the world’s leading fashion houses like Marc Jacobs, Kenzo, Nina Ricci, and Chanel to name but a few, and it will not stop here.
How did house of glaMO come into being and what was the inspiration behind it?
As an artist myself, I have always loved the world of design, but I wanted to appear different, have more of a value and relevance with what I do and inspire as well as embrace my fans and friends, so that in the future, they can look back and remember me my work fondly. The house was developed overnight and I have to admit that it is because of luck and who I am as public figure that it exploded. Having said that I basically took something as easy and as simple as a t-shirt (which is basically reachable to everyone) and created my signature slogans using current and political media affairs and adding a sense of humour to it. It’s about messaging what people believe in, telling the truth, being a little controversial, funny and not hurting anyone. I started the concept last year in October, with a little story in the media that irritated me.
When you first launched the collection, what was the initial reaction?
I was taken aback at it all because I really did not intend for it to explode the way it did. With my first t-shirt I did not expect the reaction to even leave the UAE or Dubai itself. But it went global, and the media went into a frenzy. I remember the next morning, my email beeped every 3 mins and my phone was off the hook (it still is). I was so shocked. Obviously there were a few who wanted to get under my skin and try and get a reaction but I managed to keep my dialogue very diplomatic and sincere.
Your work has created an avenue for social dialogue and commentary – was this intentional?
It Absolutely is.
If you had to come up with a slogan for one of your t-shirts, for the new coalition government here in the UK, what would it be?
This is a funny one because I was just talking about it to a friend of mine a few days back and I was thinking that I would do something with the union jack and say "Vote Now, Vote Never, fancy some fish and chips?". It seems like these votes are not taken as seriously as they should be which is like having fish and chips…yummy, good yet not serious.
With the context of something as simple as the t-shirt and a statement, you have managed to successfully covey so many things – simplicity, relevance, fun. How have you managed to succeed at this, when so many other designers fail?
The t-shirt as you have said is the universal fashion statement. If you fail, try and try again until you find yourself. I do not believe in failure. I have to admit though that I did struggle because I did not expect the success. Man power was required, which is why I involved my best friend Tamara Al Gabbani who is a great ambassador for the brand and we both became partners in the house, with me making her the Managing Director. Two heads are always better than one and our partnership is so strong. We have a fantastic team/family working with us and it is very much a family. We consider the house to be a home for everyone who is involved with the brand, even our clientele. If you have the right team with you, and a great back bone to encourage you, you will never fail.
Do you have any plans to expand the brand beyond t-shirts?
At this stage the house is considering expansion in the future as any brand should and we have a number of surprises. However, in the meantime the t-shirt is our strength and we would like to maintain it. We are currently working on a number of collaborations. Artist and t-shirt designer guru Christopher Lee Sauve from New York will be designing a number of t-shirts with us which will be launched this Autumn. So please stayed tuned to see what we will be doing in the future.
What do you believe is the essence of true style?
It all depends on the person's lifestyle. I always think a great hair cut/style and shoes complete a person’s look. Achievement and what falls in the middle is the formula or equation based on the mood or occasion.
Who (other than house of glaMO) are your favourite designers?
Yves Saint Laurent is a true intellect and a great source of inspiration but since I love fashion so much, the list is endless. I love Hedi Slimane for being a great artist, Rad Hourani, Rick Owens, Karl Lagerfeld, Alber Albaz, Jeremy Scott, Elie Saab, Riccardo Tisci, the late Alexander Mc Queen and many others.
Finally, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into the fashion industry? I would advise everyone to always follow their dreams, instincts and heart. Never let anything get in your. Always remember that you really do achieve something at the end of each day.
We are pleased to announce that STYLISA has been appointed by luxury cosmetic brand Babor to develop and manage their social media strategy in the UK. BABOR is one of the world’s leading brands in the professional cosmetics industry.It is represented in more than 60 countries around the globe at BABOR institutes, exclusive distributors and SPAs.
Social Media is a new division of the STYLISA brand that has seen a sharp rise in recent months.We are currently in talks with several fashion and beauty brands to develop their social media presence.
We are delighted to be working with Jill Thorburn and her team, to develop the Babor brand.
Well, Street style is all about send out a message about what you want to be linked with, expressing yourself with having to say anything and not being so formal. Being different but not being too outrageous.
What I think inspires street style:
For me a lot of street style is inspired by a trend or hype, music is a massive inspiration on street style. If something is mentioned and seen a lot in music videos or is linked to a hot artist then young people see this and want the same.
What I think Manchester street style is at present:
Being out and about in Manchester city centre every Saturday afternoon I see a lot of C.O.D (Colours On Dark) tops, dark jeans and flashy kicks. Bright prints on dark tops stand out a mile and people are drawn to them. I was wearing a male version of the “Quin” Council Royalty T-shirt and I noticed that people where trying their hardest to read my top and it sis get a load of attention. In Topman you see quite a few hoodies with neon buttons and they really stand out.
Keman Allen, MD of Council Royalty
What I can’t wait to see the back of:
Men’s skinny jeans, I cannot stand them there is no need and look wrong! Skinny jeans should be for women and women only.
What I like at present:
Next’s O jeans they are great, they have the bowed “Gorilla” legs and fit and look smart but still casual, perfect for wearing high top kicks or pumps. Also, cuffed jeans River Island do a few pairs and they are just ace. Adidas slim series kicks, they are comfortable and not as bulky as previous Adidas hi/mid tops. Council Royalty T-shirts (Of Course) dare to be different and want a garment to be more than just a garment then Council Royalty Clothing is the one. Finally, sunglasses, as the sun is coming out of hiding it’s time to get those superstar shades out, my all time favourite is the Marc Jacob M260/S too hot for words!
My favourite look:
Guy: Council Royalty “Padre” T-shirt, Cuffed or “Gorilla” Jeans and Adidas by Jeremy Scott kicks
Girls: Council Royalty “Shanta” Vest, skinny Jeans and killer heels sunglasses and matching jewellery.
Council Royalty is a Fresh NEW Carbon Neutral Urban Clothing Label. The label expresses individuality, motivation, determination, will power and strength. Council Royalty is committed to providing urban clothing of the highest quality that meets our strict environmental and ethical standards.
As much as I adore all of the trends being tossed around these days inside most of the popular clothing stores, I can’t help but think that they all look a bit familiar. If you sift through the racks at your latest trendy store, you’ll see that clothing styles are returning to the ones that were invented decades earlier, from the cinched waists of the 1950’s to the padded shoulders of the 1980’s.
I’ve reached a conclusion that if styles are being recycled, we might as well be environmental and recycle the clothing, too. Which is why I’ve got every ounce of praise to sing for Lost and Found Clothing, a Seattle-based clothing business started up by an artistic couple, Emily and Yuuki. A graduate from design school, Emily has worked in the apparel industry for five years, designing for major brands, but decided she wanted to head in a more “grassroots” direction once she realized the environmental benefits lying within a vintage clothing business. Yuuki is a musician who has recorded and toured with the bands: Crystal Skulls, Dave Bazan, Sufjan Stevens and Richard Swift. Emily says, “Fashion is cyclical, and trend-driven retailers like Urban Outfitters are borrowing pretty directly from the past.” I couldn’t have said it any better.
Lost and Found Clothing aims to connect the people with the past, without creating the amount of waste seen in the fashion industry when new clothing is fabricated. When asked what kind of vintage finds Emily aims to add to the Lost and Found collection, she replied that every piece is based off of inspirations from various travels, films, and art exhibits. If you visit the website, you’ll notice how the front page has a blog filled with photographs and little quips from everywhere, a full log of inspiration. Emily says she’ll never put body-suits or sequins up for sale, but she’s definitely an advocate for floral dresses, sailor stripes, or lightweight blazers, which are all perfect for the oncoming summer season!
There’s nothing like a good middleman to connect us to the goods we’re looking for. Lost and Found Clothing’s goods just so happen to interest the environment-conscious fashionistas looking for a blast from the past. For perusals, just visit their website!
We were lucky to get the chance to talk to Emma Box, an up and coming designer who is already dressing the stars.
Rachel Stevens wearing one of Emma's creations
Firstly Emma, tell us about the recent show, in which you showcased your collection? I showed my collection at UCA Rochester's internal show along with all the 3rd year collections. The purpose of the show was to select the students who would represent the university at River Islands Graduate Fashion Week. The judges included designers Bora Aksu and Emilio de la Morena it was a great honor to show in front of them as they are such well known and respected designers in the industry. The judges kept scores for each collection and the top 18 designers went through!
Were you nervous before the show?
YES!! Wow I was so nervous. We weren't allowed to go backstage and dress our models so it was all completely out of our hands. When you have worked so hard and care about something so much you only want it to go right. Being such a perfectionist didn't help either! Not only that but there is a huge amount of pressure on us, what with selection for graduate fashion week taking place and all of your friends and family being there to see your work. You can only hope that they like it and it lives up to their expectations!
Has the show led to any opportunities for you?
Well the main opportunity that it has led to is Graduate Fashion Week. I was selected to go through which was amazing. I remember going each year when I studied Fashion at college and I loved it so much, so I set that as my main goal and I worked hard to achieve it. Getting through was quite over whelming. There are over 60 of us in my year and only 18 places. I'm very lucky and grateful to have been given this opportunity. There were a lot of disappointed people, but you learn that that is how the industry is - it is very competitive.
Tell us about your latest collection and what inspired it?
My latest collection has been an wonderful experience...but stressful! However, I have loved it, as it's definitely the most satisfying and rewarding thing that I have done. I was actually inspired by an artist called Tillman Kaiser. I came across his work after he did an exhibition at the Wilkinson gallery, 'Hallucination Engine'. I just loved his work and felt it was so relevant for the times. I could relate to it completely, style wise and emotionally.
Where else do you draw inspiration from for your collections?
Everything really, music, art, culture. It is what's going on around you, and things that you wouldn't even think of, that influence your work subconsciously. It is important to stay on trend but move it that little bit forward so you have something different that still remains commercial and sellable.
Can you give us an idea of your fashion background?
Art and design has always been my main focus. I could work forever on something knowing that the result I would get at the end of it, would be worth it. I studied fashion and clothing design at national diploma level and left with a triple grade distinction. With that completed, I did some work experience at a company in India for a month, which gave me the confidence to go ahead and take it to degree level. I moved to Rochester away from my little village in Leicestershire and being close to london allowed me to do more work experience. During my first week I worked at London Fashion Week which was a whole new world and completely different to what I was ever used to...I LOVED it. I have worked at every fashion week since dressing for shows including, Jean-Pierre Braganza and Ziad Ghanem. I have assisted on various shoots for PUMA, Diesel and the singer, Little Boots. I interned at Tatty Devine as I have an interest in accessories too and for the past 18 months I have assisted Emma Bell who has become my main mentor!
Are you working on anything at the moment?
At the moment I'm working on the collection still, doing shoots and portfolio work towards my degree, but I am taking part in an exhibition curated by designer Emma Bell in Vienna in June! The exhibition also includes work from Charlie Le Mindu, Louise Gray, Scott Ramsay Kyle and Nicholas Kirkwood (showcasing work by British designers). This is a very exciting event to be a part of, especially being a new graduate designer. I will be placed in the new designer showcase section and get to fly over two days after my show at graduate fashion week. So very exciting times ahead, which I'm very grateful for.
Have your designs been worn by any celebrities?
I literally just found out today that my outfit was featured in the Mirror on Sundays Style magazine, and worn by Rachel Stevens (see picture above). I never would have known if an old friend hadn't left me a message on my Facebook wall to say she thinks she saw my stuff in a magazine. Quick google and it all came up! That definitely brought a smile to my face, in fact I'm not sure who was more excited...me or my Dad!
What is your interpretation of style?
I think true style is when someone can express themselves through their clothing and dressing to suit their personality, shape and lifestyle while remaining individual and comfortable. Comfort is key. If you don't feel good in what you are wearing, then you are not going to look good.
Do you think it is easier or harder for new designers to break into the industry?
I think now there are so many organisations and charities put into place to help new, young designers. The British Fashion Council has a lot to offer, what with Graduate Fashion Week of course, New Gen, Elle Talent Launch Pad and Fashion Forward, to name a few. There are many opportunities to apply for. The internet now is also a great platform to use for networking and promoting yourself. However in terms of income I think its very difficult to have a successful business with good profit and sales. It is important to have a good balance between creativity and commerce to sell, but to gain press exposure usually requires something quite extreme to get the attention. However, if it is not wearable, then it is not going to sell. So it's a case of finding the right balance, making clothes that people are going to want to buy but without compromising your creativity and expression as a designer.
Do you have any tips for others trying to get into the fashion industry?
It takes hard work and total dedication and in such a competitive industry, you have to be the best you can be. There is always room for improvement so how much work you put into it will determine how much you get back out of it. Do as much work experience as you can, and be positive and enthusiastic. You may not always enjoy the jobs you are given but once you prove yourself it will pay off and other doors will open. There is always more to learn so never think you know it all. Keep at it and don't be disheartened if you don't achieve the praise you wanted...just push it further untill you do!