UD Insider: Artist Ruben Sanchez Brings Street Life Culture to the Lake-side Community

The Creative Community Wall in JLT, Dubai
The Creative Community Wall in JLT, Dubai

 

Dubai-based Creative Group – ING Creatives – teams up with graffiti and multi-talented artist, Ruben Sanchez for an original community initiative

 

ING Creatives, a Dubai-based organisation that supports local artists and creative professionals teamed up with Artist Ruben Sanchez for a JLT community initiative.

The Spanish-born graffiti artist, Ruben Sanchez created a colourful outdoor mural with a local theme.

Using 150 spray paint cans, Ruben transformed the wall – which looked so raw with meaningless words – into a beautiful piece of artwork.

Ruben’s inspiration comes to him while he’s drawing the sketches. “The idea was creating itself as I was sketching.” He said.

Based in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers residential area of Dubai, the community wall has a local theme behind it.

Ruben’s main inspiration were the local elements and culture that surround him. He explains the mural’s main subject as a love story: “You can see the guy playing the Oud, and he’s looking to this woman who’s not facing him. She’s acting tough.”

“That’s basically a love story – courtship.” He continues.

The local elements that inspired this artwork are evident in Ruben’s mural. “I wanted to bring things from the desert. I was playing with the local elements, like the camel.” He said.

Ruben began painting on the blank wall on the 11th of February, and the artwork was completed on the 18th of February.

“It took exactly seven days to complete the project.” He said.

The graffiti artist describes his style as Neo-Cubism.

“Since 10 years ago, I’ve been developing this style.” Ruben explained.

 

As a strong advocate of community art projects, Ruben was very delighted to re-paint the wall. He explains that getting involved in community art initiatives is the essence of graffiti art.

“Nobody was doing graffiti in the beginning to get money.” He explains.

The talented artist is also happy to see the street life and street art culture evolving in the Arab region and the UAE in particular.

Despite being in its novice stages, Ruben notices the street art scene progression in the city.

“Now street art is getting a lot of recognition. And huge festivals are done for it.” He says.

 

DMCC – the government entity which regulates trade for the JLT area has supported the community initiative by providing the paint and the cherry-picker (the lift) used to paint the wall.

Another significant supporter to the project was Ramy Alawssy, Founder of ING Creatives.

Ramy’s organisation aims to bridge the gap behind the industry and the creative professionals.

Providing a platform for illustrators, designers and photographers to showcase their work is the JLT-based company’s main concept.

Ramy’s idea of converting the raw wall into a piece of artwork became a reality after a long waiting period.

“It took DMCC one year and four months to revert with the final permission to start the work on the wall.” He said.

The delayed response from DMCC didn’t hinder Ramy’s aspirations for an enhanced community experience. His hard work was clear once the work was completed as community members were happy to take photos and play around the wall.

Ramy said: “When we removed the barriers, kids were running towards the wall and touching it, and wanting to take photos with it. So it shows you that it really is a community wall.”

As for Ramy’s choice of artist to paint the wall, he explains: “I really liked Ruben’s style, I felt it really fitted with the community.”

When Ruben is not painting or sketching in the studio, he can be found skating at one of the city’s newly developed parks.

Skateboarding is a part of his lifestyle since he was living in Madrid.

“I was skate-boarding since I was a teenager, and I was doing graffiti since I was a teenager too.” He said.

The artist misses the convenience of being able to skate at any street pavement, like in Europe.

Ruben finds the street life scene in Dubai very limiting, due to the city’s design and layout.

“It’s very confined to designated locations. It’s not like in Madrid or Barcelona, where you just go out and go skating or walking or ride your bike anywhere.” He said.

 

The ING creative community wall by Ruben Sanchez can be found in JLT, Dubai, Cluster V – at the lake level.

 

ING Creative Conference

ING Creatives are hosting a conference on the 27th and 28th of March, 2015.

ING Creatives regularly host talks and portfolio review sessions. But this will be their first conference at this scale.

The conference includes talks, workshops and portfolio reviews that are designed to motivate creatives, give them the support they need and help turn their ideas into reality.

“We’re built for the creative community. We’re not built to help communities that are outside. We’re here to help the community in the UAE, in the region, because they lack the support.” Ramy said.

To describe the group, Founder Ramy said: “We’re a creative community, we’re based here in Dubai.”

“We help creatives to make ideas happen. So we do that through talks, workshops and portfolio reviews.”

International speakers who are experts in their respective creative fields will be flying into Dubai from major cities. Ramy explains:

“We’re flying and getting 15 international speakers from New York, San Francisco, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, and Singapore.”

“Some of these line-ups are great illustrators, designers, creative directors, fashion designers, and they speak at international creative conferences.” He continues.

The event caters to creatives from different disciplines. “Whoever has a visual portfolio, or anybody that is in the creative field. Whether there’s photography, illustration, graphic design.” Ramy explains.

“We’ll be doing it every year from now on.” He said.

The tickets are 725 AED for both days including talks and portfolio reviews.

For more information, check ING Creatives’ web site:

http://www.ingcreatives.com/

 

To read more about Ruben Sanchez and see more of his artwork, check out his web site:

http://www.iamrubensanchez.com/

 

The raw wall in JLT’s Cluster V had random writing on it for years, before it underwent a major beautification project by Spanish artist, Ruben Sanchez.
The raw wall in JLT’s Cluster V had random writing on it for years, before it underwent a major beautification project by Spanish artist, Ruben Sanchez.

 

Set in the midst of sky-scrapers, the creative community wall reminds residents of the simple old days from the Arab culture and heritage.
Set in the midst of sky-scrapers, the creative community wall reminds residents of the simple old days from the Arab culture and heritage.

 

‘A professional dreamer’ is what the Spanish-born artist, Ruben Sanchez likes to call himself. He spends his time between sketching at his studio and skating at local parks.
‘A professional dreamer’ is what the Spanish-born artist, Ruben Sanchez likes to call himself. He spends his time between sketching at his studio and skating at local parks.

 

When Ruben works outdoors, he always uses spray paint. A colourful selection of spray paint cans fill the artist’s studio space.
When Ruben works outdoors, he always uses spray paint. A colourful selection of spray paint cans fill the artist’s studio space.

 

Ramy Alawssy, Founder of ING Creatives believes in supporting creative professionals in Dubai, and in featuring their work to the community.
Ramy Alawssy, Founder of ING Creatives believes in supporting creative professionals in Dubai, and in featuring their work to the community.

 

Ruben Sanchez in front of one of the murals that he has created in collaboration with other artists, at the Tashkeel Studio and Gallery spacious backyard.
Ruben Sanchez in front of one of the murals that he has created in collaboration with other artists, at the Tashkeel Studio and Gallery spacious backyard.

 

Another collaboration between Ruben Sanchez and another artist.
Another collaboration between Ruben Sanchez and another artist.

 

 

The creative community wall adds a vibrant element to the lake-side community. ING Creatives’ initiatives give back to the community and support local artists simultaneously.
The creative community wall adds a vibrant element to the lake-side community. ING Creatives’ initiatives give back to the community and support local artists simultaneously.

 

 

UD Insider: Valleydez Gives Creative Designers an Outlet to Shine in Dubai’s Fashion World

Valleydez launches its first ever art competition for aspiring and talented designers.
Valleydez launches its first ever art competition for aspiring and talented designers.

 

High-end designer boutique gives artists a life-time opportunity with its first ‘Dare to Create’ art competition

 

High-end designer boutique – Valleydez is sponsoring an art competition titled ‘Dare to Create’ in an effort to promote aspiring and emerging artists.

The art competition requires participants to submit an illustration, photograph or any piece of artwork by the 15th of March, 2015.

The winning design will be have t-shirt printing on eight different T-shirt styles, which will be sold at the luxury Jumeirah boutique.

Sidra Surmed, Creative Executive at Valleydez boutique explains that the design entries will go through two rounds of elimination. She says: “The art competition is divided into two parts. The first part comprises of submitting an art piece – it can be a photo or a painting – then the candidates will be shortlisted. Once the candidates are shortlisted, we will contact them and then they will be asked to create a story of eight pieces.”

Each shortlisted candidate will have to create a collection based on a theme of their choice. “Within the eight pieces, you have to summarize you story. What is the theme behind your collection?” Sidra continues.

A judging panel of designers based in four different countries will be in charge of the second round of elimination. “We have four different designers in the judging panel. One is Lamya Abedin – also known as Queen of Spades – an Emirati designer, another designer from Turkey, another from Kuwait, and one from the UK – Jean-Pierre Braganza.”

 

Valleydez Creative Executive, Sidra Surmed.
Valleydez Creative Executive, Sidra Surmed.

 

Founder and Head Buyer of the innovative luxury boutique, Ghalia Al Abbas is an Emirati fashion illustrator herself. Sidra explains what inspired the boutique owner to launch the art competition. She says: “She wanted to relate something which is very personal to her.”

With March being the month of art in the city, Valleydez decided to launch its first ever art competition during the art season. “We decided to run the competition in the month of art in Dubai. March hosts Art Dubai and Design Days events. I think that people look forward to attend all these events and they get inspired. So we wanted to give a proper platform at a proper time.” Sidra explains.

The launch of the Jumeirah boutique art competition was also inspired by the brand’s aim to introduce an eclectic mix of styles into its collections.

With the summer season approaching, the concept of a T-shirt design competition seemed very appropriate. “We wanted to do more casual chic at the moment because now we are entering into the summer phase. And we wanted to bring a more cool side to the store and brand.” Sidra explains.

 

Many of the outfits and accessories at the store are art-inspired pieces.
Many of the outfits and accessories at the store are art-inspired pieces.

 

Supporting aspiring artists and designers from within the UAE is the main purpose of organising the competition. Sidra says: “Valleydez want to give the platform to the aspiring talents to showcase their work.”

Breaking into the design and fashion industry in the UAE can be a lengthy process. That’s why, having the support from a well-known brand can be highly rewarding. “Being in the creative industry takes a lot of courage to get into the industry.” Sidra says.

She continues: “Providing a platform for creativity is a great bonus for anyone wishing to enter the industry in the UAE.”

 

A highly artistic piece by Paris-based designer, Manish Arora on display at the Valleydez Sunset Mall showroom.
A highly artistic piece by Paris-based designer, Manish Arora on display at the Valleydez Sunset Mall showroom.

 

The art competition is open to all age groups and participants can submit artwork of any type. “There is no specific form of art that we are looking for. It should showcase the artist inside of the person. This includes photography, pop art, fashion illustration.” Sidra explains.

In addition to having their artwork printed on T-shirts, the winner will get the relevant promotion and PR support from the brand. Sidra says: “There will be total support from our PR side and from the media side. We would definitely love to feature them in the magazines, because that would be a very good idea to promote the artist within the industry.”

As for whether the profits from selling the T-shirts will go into charity, the brand is considering that. Sidra says: “About the charity, we will reveal it soon. We are definitely having some talks, but I can’t reveal that at the moment.”

The winning design will be launched as a new collection in the store. “It will be launched as a new collection – as a brand to the store.” Sidra explains.

 

To submit art work, visit the following link:

http://valleydez.com/Art-Competition/

 

The high-end designer boutique is launching new styles that are very quirky and very elegant at the same time.
The high-end designer boutique is launching new styles that are very quirky and very elegant at the same time.

 

Valleydez Creative Executive, Sidra Surmed, is wearing an art-inspired design by UK-based designer, Jean-Pierre Braganza.
Valleydez Creative Executive, Sidra Surmed, is wearing an art-inspired design by UK-based designer, Jean-Pierre Braganza.

 

The high-end store promotes art and design within the UAE’s art and fashion scene.
The high-end store promotes art and design within the UAE’s art and fashion scene.

 

The boutique hosts a large collection of casual chic designer pieces.
The boutique hosts a large collection of casual chic designer pieces.

 

The high-end boutique hosts a mix of styles, from day wear to evening gowns and beach essentials.
The high-end boutique hosts a mix of styles, from day wear to evening gowns and beach essentials.

 

The five year-old luxury designer boutique showcases the work of both local and International designers.
The five year-old luxury designer boutique showcases the work of both local and International designers.

 

Original artistically-designed pieces decorate the shelves of the high-end designer boutique.
Original artistically-designed pieces decorate the shelves of the high-end designer boutique.

 

 

“We will be having an in-store event on the 23rd of March in which we are launching our SS15 collection, titled: Garden of Fashion.” Sidra concludes.

Interview with LCF Senior Business Manager

LCF Art of Dress Exhibition in Dubai
LCF Art of Dress Exhibition in Dubai

I must start by apologizing for not writing in a while. Basically, I was on a break from my University course and I was trying to make the most out of my free time.

Apart from catching up on much-needed sleep and not doing much really, I managed to make a few trips to the beach – like three trips I think! I don’t know about you, but the Dubai winter has made me feel very sluggish and all I felt like doing was stay in bed and sleep! I’ve been feeling tired most of the time too. I think it could be the result of the accumulated stress that I went through in the past term. It’s for the better though, now I can add more skills to my CV – like short video production and editing.

Talking about video editing, you might have viewed my video on the LCF event that was held in Dubai in November. Oh how I miss London and that college! I still plan to go back to finish a course that I started there in 2009 and take another course. Yes, I am a woman on a mission!

If you haven’t seen that video yet, you can find it here.

Today I’m sharing with you my full interview with Senior Business Manager at LCF, Linda Roberts. In the interview, I ask Linda about the Art of Dress Exhibition and her views on the fashion education scene in Dubai and the Middle East. Here’s a video for the full interview that I conducted with Linda Roberts from LCF:

 

LCF will be back with their short courses program in Dubai this February. For a complete list of the courses on offer, visit their short courses in Dubai page:

LCF Short Courses in Dubai

 

Stay tuned for my second interview – with Head of LCF and Pro Vice-Chancellor for the University of Arts London, Professor Frances Corner.

 

Happy New Year X

 

BCBG’s Living the Bon Chic Life Celebrates 25 Years of Style in Dubai

Chief Creative Officer for BCBG Max Azria, Lubov Azria standing against a wall that showcases the company’s 25-year advertising campaigns history. This took place during the “Living the Bon Chic Life” exhibition at Cuadro Gallery, Dubai.
Chief Creative Officer for BCBG Max Azria, Lubov Azria standing against a wall that showcases the company’s 25-year advertising campaigns history. This took place during the “Living the Bon Chic Life” exhibition at Cuadro Gallery, Dubai.

 

This post is another project that I did for my web news production class in University. I had the pleasure to meet Lubov Azria, wife of renowned designer Max Azria, and Chief Creative Officer for the BCBG Max Azria group. Lubov and her team are very professional and talented individuals, and I’m glad that I had the privilege of meeting them and speaking to them about the retrospective exhibition.

In the lines below, you can read my final news story which I did for the social media project for that unit.

 

Lubov Azria, the brand’s Chief Creative Officer opens the stylish event with an A-list crowd

 

On her first-ever visit to Dubai, Lubov Azria – Chief Creative Officer of the distinctive fashion retail brand BCBG Max Azria opens the retrospective “Living the Bon Chic Life” exhibition in DIFC’s Cuadro Fine Art Gallery.

The one-day exclusive exhibition was held on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 and brought together the city’s most stylish, VIP and art-loving crowd.

From 7 pm and onwards, invited guests made their way to the spacious gallery and walked through a timeline of events, advertising campaigns and cutting-edge design creations that showcase the brand’s 25 year history.

 

Lubov Azria and I after our first interview.
Lubov Azria and I after our first interview.

 

With famous quotes by the brand’s Founder and Designer – Max Azria – decorating the gallery’s spacious walls, there is no doubt that BCBG is a brand with a strong identity and vision.

Founded in 1989, BCBG was named for the French phrase ‘bon chic, bon genre’ – a Parisian expression meaning ‘good style, good attitude.’

Max Azria’s vision is simple; he aims to create a beautiful dress to make women look and feel beautiful.

Creative Director for the brand’s lifestyle products, Clifford Pershes explains BCBG’s philosophy by saying: “It’s a brand that doesn’t follow trends, it embodies style.”

 

Clifford Pershes, Creative Director for BCBG’s lifestyle products poses to take this photo with me, after his informative tour of the retrospective exhibition.
Clifford Pershes, Creative Director for BCBG’s lifestyle products poses to take this photo with me, after his informative tour of the retrospective exhibition.

 

The 25th anniversary retrospective exhibit takes visitors on a journey throughout the key events and achievements that shaped the company’s history.

Beginning with an events timeline that covers the brand’s entire 25- year journey, visitors get to learn more about the brand, its creators and their vision.

An adjacent space emulates a design studio which stages the evolution of a BCBG dress from idea and pattern design to detailed and careful construction.

BCBG’s design philosophy is inspired by the arts and culture. As Clifford explains: “We feel that arts and culture are part of the brand’s DNA.”

Featuring top models and talented photographers, BCBG’s ad campaigns cover the walls of the brand’s campaign history section in both print and digital platforms.

“There’s a timeless, effortless chicness that goes throughout the years.” – says Clifford of the brand’s innovative, yet timeless designs.

 

An extensive collection of BCBG’s advertising campaigns covers the walls of the brand’s campaign history section in both print and digital platforms.
An extensive collection of BCBG’s advertising campaigns covers the walls of the brand’s campaign history section in both print and digital platforms.

 

Upon stepping into the ‘Runway Collection’ installation space, a selection of exclusive, fashion-forward designs can be seen adorning the mannequins.

As Creative Director – Clifford Pershes states: “There are only around 200 pieces made of each piece; so it’s definitely a little more exclusive.”

 

A beautifully curated selection of archive favourites from the BCBG Max Azria Runway label. The collection is exclusive and is launched at the global fashion week runways – where the timeless and elegant label regularly opens the New York fashion week shows.
A beautifully curated selection of archive favourites from the BCBG Max Azria Runway label. The collection is exclusive and is launched at the global fashion week runways – where the timeless and elegant label regularly opens the New York fashion week shows.

 

From fashion week runways, to celebrities’ closets and the renowned red carpet, Max Azria’s Atelier creations are featured in a beautifully colour-curated collection aptly named ‘Max Azria Atelier’.

Launched in 2004, the brand’s most exclusive collection embodies couture eveningwear and special-event dresses for socialites, celebrities and the elite.

The one-of-a-kind dresses worn by A-list stars and royalties including Alicia Keys, Angelina Jolie and Michelle Obama, are limited edition creations.

 

Max Azria’s Atelier collection was curated by colour, and is displayed on a red carpet with a paparazzi wallpaper in the background. Worn by Hollywood’s elite and royalties, this is the designer’s most exclusive collection.
Max Azria’s Atelier collection was curated by colour, and is displayed on a red carpet with a paparazzi wallpaper in the background. Worn by Hollywood’s elite and royalties, this is the designer’s most exclusive collection.

 

When asked about the main concept of BCBG’s retrospective exhibition, the brand’s Chief Creative Officer and Max Azria’s wife, Lubov Azria explains: “The exhibition is really 25 years of my life; it’s called ‘The Bon Chic Living’ and it really showcases the work and my passion.”

Lubov describes the exhibit’s walkthrough design by saying: “It starts off with the history, with when the company started. Then it goes to how we make the clothes. Then it continues to the ad campaigns, to the actual clothes, and then to the one-of-a-kind dresses that we make for celebrities.”

 

BCBG Max Azria’s 25-year mark in fashion history showcased in its retrospective exhibition is a genuine portrayal of its founders’ passion for success and achievement.

As Lubov Azria states: “It’s really without passion, innovation and vision, there is no success.”

 

The window display of Cuadro Fine Art Gallery in Dubai’s DIFC area looks vibrant with contemporary visuals from BCBG’s stylish collections – at the opening of the brand’s retrospective exhibition in Dubai.
The window display of Cuadro Fine Art Gallery in Dubai’s DIFC area looks vibrant with contemporary visuals from BCBG’s stylish collections – at the opening of the brand’s retrospective exhibition in Dubai.

 

For more photos from BCBG’s retrospective exhibition event, click here.

 

Here are some additional photos from the event:

 

The exhibition visitors are welcomed by the brand’s timeline as they enter the gallery. Spanning a total of 25 years, the timeline showcases the company’s pivotal moments that shaped its vision, since its inception in 1989.
The exhibition visitors are welcomed by the brand’s timeline as they enter the gallery. Spanning a total of 25 years, the timeline showcases the company’s pivotal moments that shaped its vision, since its inception in 1989.

 

Kimberly Concepcion (left) and Bettina Micu (right), Fashion Design students at Heriot Watt University Dubai viewing the exhibition for some inspiration.
Kimberly Concepcion (left) and Bettina Micu (right), Fashion Design students at Heriot Watt University Dubai viewing the exhibition for some inspiration.

 

Diana Chipar, Fashion Stylist from the site dcstyling.net wearing a BCBG dress from the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.
Diana Chipar, Fashion Stylist from the site dcstyling.net wearing a BCBG dress from the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.

 

Saira Mehar, New Business and PR Director for Dubai’s Fashion Forward event networking at BCBG’s VIP-packed exhibition opening in DIFC’s Cuadro gallery.
Saira Mehar, New Business and PR Director for Dubai’s Fashion Forward event networking at BCBG’s VIP-packed exhibition opening in DIFC’s Cuadro gallery.

 

BCBG’s Dubai Marina Mall shop manager, Andreea Pirvuleasa standing in front of the brand’s ‘Runway’ collection in a unique ‘Runway’ label creation. The new collection dress reflects a highly detailed and carefully embroidered, hand-made finish.
BCBG’s Dubai Marina Mall shop manager, Andreea Pirvuleasa standing in front of the brand’s ‘Runway’ collection in a unique ‘Runway’ label creation. The new collection dress reflects a highly detailed and carefully embroidered, hand-made finish.

 

A great networking event for people from the fashion industry, BCBG Max Azria’s 25-year birthday bash was well received by the stylish and VIP crowd. A memorable evening for catching up with old friends, making new ones and celebrating an iconic and visionary company’s success.
A great networking event for people from the fashion industry, BCBG Max Azria’s 25-year birthday bash was well received by the stylish and VIP crowd. A memorable evening for catching up with old friends, making new ones and celebrating an iconic and visionary company’s success.

 

Sheida Fashionista, blogger and make-up artist covering the remarkable event for her next blog post at sheidafashionista.com.
Sheida Fashionista, blogger and make-up artist covering the remarkable event for her next blog post at sheidafashionista.com.

Photo Essay: Sole DXB Event in Dubai

DSC_0239edited_final

 

Today’s post is another University project that I just completed for this term’s photojournalism course. I present to you:

My Photo Essay on Sole DXB event that took place on the 14th and 15th of November. I was there on the 14th of November for a few hours, taking photos and meeting up with some friends.

First up, the short synopsis about the photo essay:

Many think that Dubai’s street culture doesn’t exist. The organisers of Dubai’s urban lifestyle and culture event want to change that misconception.

The city’s first – one of its kind event, Sole DXB was staged at Dubai Design District to showcase the region’s latest street culture trends. Specifically the footwear, fashion, basketball, hip hop, and street art.

Those who made their way to the venue were treated by regional retail brands; Nike, Puma, and Reebok. DJ’s, live performances and panel discussions pumped life into the event and gave it a fresh and exciting community atmosphere. With a hidden construction site chosen as a venue for this year’s Sole DXB event, indeed it is underground.

 

Ball Above All
Ball Above All

Professional basketball players take turns at shooting hoops at Sole DXB’s grounds in celebration of basketball culture. Dubbed ‘Ball Above All’, the competition saw the victor walk away with 10,000 AED. The game has proved to be a popular way to bring the community together. The only stipulation was that entrants must be 18 or older to apply to play in the tournament.

 

Funky Lines and Abstract Shapes
Funky Lines and Abstract Shapes

British artist, Remi Rough and his counterpart YesBee are busy creating the freestyled ‘Mondrian vs Wildstyle’ art piece. A 3 x 10 meter art work; spray painted using ‘Montana 94’ paint. Remi’s art began on walls and trains in South London in 1984. By his own admission, “I didn’t invent straight lines, I just made them funky!” – said Rough of his work.

 

Feline Nostalgic?
Feline Nostalgic?

Canadian pop artist, Antoine Tavaglione – also known as Tava is a muralist and illustrator based in Montreal. Famed for his signature ‘dripping milk’ paintings, his “Che Cazz” piece proved a popular addition to Sole DXB. The cat figure mural was created in one day, and produced using spray cans.

 

Melting Bart Art
Melting Bart Art

Additional work from Tava – showing more of his favourite cartoon figures – this time, Bart Simpson. Made using acrylic colours on canvas, Tava said: “I like to recreate iconic characters that are very nostalgic to me, and add my signature dripping effect to them as if they are melting ice cream.”

 

Futuristic Femme Fatales
Futuristic Femme Fatales

‘The Irezumi Girls’ are part of a limited edition created by Dubai-based design studio Robot and Spark. The figures are made using cast resin material with a chrome finish. The artist imagined these toys to live in the year 2075 in the city of London. ‘The Irezumi Girls’ are a gang of heavily tattooed, uber cool, superhero vixens hailing from Baker Street Station.

 

The Dangerous Duo: Lipstick and Suicide
The Dangerous Duo: Lipstick and Suicide

Creative Director Robert Gibbs from design studio Robot and Spark has been working on these original figurines since 2009. The germ of the idea came from a fiction-story about a group of futuristic, rebellious and superhero vixens – namely Lipstick and Suicide. The futuristic fantasy eventually came to life at Sole DXB’s gallery, after a five-year obsession.

 

Vintage-inspired Wheel Art
Vintage-inspired Wheel Art

British artist and photographer, Julian Castaldi expresses his love for Italian company ‘Campag’ with this painting of a vintage bicycle. His cobalt blue piece was inspired by his love for cycling, and the iconic company. Julian explains the concept by saying: “I have always loved the logo and story behind the brand.” The ‘Campagnolo’ painting uses acrylic, enamel, pastels, and lacquer on a 4 feet x 3 feet canvas.

 

Retro Biking
Retro Biking

Corcel, a Dubai-based bicycle and apparel store take cycling lovers back to the good old days with their 50’s/60’s inspired collection. The ‘Bikeid’ range was created for a nostalgic bicycle experience. The simple, elegant, and vintage designs can be customized for personal taste. A couple interested in getting a bike are looking at the catalogue and selecting their preferred colour of bike and tires.

 

Soulful Art
Soulful Art

An amateur artist is keeping himself busy by drawing a pair of sneakers using spray paint. Despite his aching fingers from the excessive amount of pressure while completing this piece of art, he is determined to leave his mark at Sole DXB. He asks the audience: “Does it look like a shoe?” and feels ecstatic after their approval.

 

Neon Galore
Neon Galore

The stylish crowd attending the urban lifestyle event did not overlook making a fashion statement with their favourite pair of sneakers. A young lady sporting a very bright and colourful pair of ‘Nike’ trainers caught my attention. She told me that they were a recent buy from the brand’s latest collection.

 

Drained Soles
Drained Soles

Another original pair of ‘Nike’ trainers worn by one of the ladies attending the street art event. When I asked her about the unique running shoes, she told me the story behind them and how they’ve been worn out at a music festival overseas. “I bought them from Barcelona – for a rave.” she said. I thought they still looked new and exotic!

 

Reliving the 90’s
Reliving the 90’s

A priceless moment in time, as I am transformed back to the 90’s at street wear label Amongst Few’s interactive gaming space. The highlight of the event for me was discovering this cool 90’s inspired concept brand. Founded in 2013, Amongst Few is a Dubai-based street wear brand that merges traditional Emirati outfit inspiration with Western style. In my nostalgic 90’s flashback, I can be seen playing the game ‘Duck Hunt’ on a 1983 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console – complete with classic TV sets and 90’s memorabilia.

 

On Cloud Nine
On Cloud Nine

A great variety of second-hand sneakers on display at the sneaker swap stall. Trendy and pristine trainers to match every age and style fill the wooden racks at this sneaker wonderland. Get lost in time as you look for the perfect pair to replace your worn out and tired sneakers. No cash? Don’t worry, you can trade in the currency of sneakers!

 

Bouncing Sick Beats
Bouncing Sick Beats

Dubai-based urban and R&B DJ, Mr. Shef Codes livens up the Reebok space with his top old-school R&B beats. Shefan Lantra, better known as Mr. Shef Codes is currently signed with Bliss Inc Entertainment and plays at local venues around the city. The tunes he was playing were so addictive, they kept the crowd glued to the Reebok stand far longer than they intended to be there.

 

Love for the Sole
Love for the Sole

Iraqi artist, designer, calligrapher, and typographer Wissam Shawkat creates a ‘calligraffiti’ piece of art in his signature modern Arabic calligraphy style. The art work includes the words (love, affection) written in calligraphy style. The Dubai-based artist has been in love with the classical writing style since he was 10 years old. He is using acrylic colours on canvas to create the aptly titled ‘Love for the Sole (Soul)’ piece.

 

Some additional images that were not part of my photo essay project:

 

PUMA x Sophia Chang sneakers
PUMA x Sophia Chang sneakers

I won these lovely designer PUMA sneakers in a competition that I entered with Stylist Arabia magazine. All I had to do was share a photo of my favourite pair of sneakers! This pair was part of a collection for autumn/winter 2014, in a collaboration between PUMA and East Coast creative Sophia Chang. The designer’s illustrations are inspired by New York, and specifically the Brooklyn area.

 

Here’s the finished wall that Remi Rough and Yesbee were painting:

 

Remi Rough art work
Remi Rough art work

 

here are other paintings from Julian Castaldi that were on display at the event’s gallery:

"7Up"
“7Up”

Materials used: acrylic, enamel, lacquer on canvas : 4feet diameter.

Concept: Just love the old school soda labels I actually collect vintage skateboards, soda bottles amongst other things.
"Skater Girl"
“Skater Girl”

Materials used: 100cm x 70cm in metal frame.

Concept: Shot in London and used in Urban Outfitters.

"Typo"
“Typo”

Materials used: 100cm x 70cm in metal frame.

Concept: Love the signage and billboards around LA lots of hand painted and distressed signage which looks amazing, this was shot around Melrose in LA.

 

"Voyeur"
“Voyeur”

Materials used: 100cm x 70cm in metal frame.

Concept: Used to drive past this private members club on Santa Monica Blvd, it had a mysterious look and I stopped one morning to shoot the pic.

 

"7Up Polaroids"
“7Up Polaroids”

Framed original Polaroids shot in LA 2005 on painted board.

 

"Pegasus"
“Pegasus”
Framed original Polaroids shot in 2012 on painted board
Julian explains:
“I have been shooting Polaroids for over 20 years and my Private Rooms project includes Polaroids I have taken of John Malkovich, David Bailey, Oasis, Pearl Jam and many more.”
For more information about Sole DXB or any of the artists mentioned in this post, check the links included in this post.
My personal pair of sneakers which I wore to Sole DXB!
My personal pair of sneakers which I wore to Sole DXB!

 

Event Review: London College of Fashion “Art of Dress” Exhibition in Dubai

LCF Art of Dress Exhibition showcases the work of LCF students
LCF Art of Dress Exhibition showcases the work of LCF students

 

When I received the invite for the private view event for London College of Fashion‘s “Art of Dress” exhibition, I was so excited and knew that this would be the perfect topic for my next video journalism University project.

I had attended LCF back in 2009, as a first step towards changing careers into journalism. The course that I took was a foundation course in fashion media and communication. It was an intensive one year course, equivalent to the UK A-Levels. At that point in time, I wasn’t ready for an intensive study program. Mainly because I had been working in IT support for the past 4 years before starting that course. So it wasn’t easy for me to go back to education and to take an intensive course.

However, I did manage to successfully complete one term of that course. And I still plan to go back to LCF one day to finish that course and maybe take a post graduate course too! I always believe that it’s never too late to achieve your goals and follow your dreams.

The last time I met with the lovely LCF people was two years ago at Okku restaurant and lounge in Dubai. It was an alumni event organized for the college’s alumni in Dubai and short courses’ students and graduates.

You can read about that event here.

As expected, attending the private view event was a great decision made by me, and deciding to cover the event for my project was just as interesting as I thought it would be. I had a wonderful time meeting everyone from the College and conducting the interviews with my lovely and professional talents.

I will leave you now with the video, that was filmed, reported and produced by me. I researched the story, arranged for – and conducted – the interviews, filmed the footage at the event and at the interviews, and edited and produced the short video.

Here’s the link for the short video about LCF’s Art of Dress exhibition private view event, held in Dubai’s AlSerkal Avenue.

 

 

I will be sharing the full interviews with Professor Frances Corner and Linda Roberts on the blog soon. So stay tuned for that.

 

LCF magazine, showcasing the work of students and alumni
LCF magazine, showcasing the work of students and alumni

UD Profile Post: Savannah and her One-off Art Creations

Savannah - A Talented Young Artist
Savannah – A Talented Young Artist

 

Today’s post is all about showcasing a highly talented and incredibly sweet young French lady. Savannah is an abstract Artist and professional Actress. I was delighted to see some of her art work being displayed at The Life & Style Show exhibition that was held in ADNEC, Abu Dhabi earlier this month. I’ll be writing a post on the show soon…but in today’s post, I introduce to you this lovely young Artist through a short interview that I had done with her over a nice lunch at Sushi Art in DIFC.

Savannah paints on different types of material, but her most recent creations are her one of a kind artistic greeting cards. At the Life and Style Show, Savannah got to introduce her cards to the people of Abu Dhabi. She is based in Dubai though and can be contacted by e-mail and mobile (details below).

Interview with Savannah – the French Artist:

Full Name:       Savannah Frammery Passagne du Quercy
 
Savannah, as the youngest female CEO in the UAE, how old are you?     18
 
Apart from acting and painting, what are your hobbies?   I like to read poetry, plays, classics, and fiction. I also like photography, running, and eating sushi 🙂
 
 
Me and Savannah conversing over sushi :)
Me and Savannah conversing over sushi 🙂

 

How long have you been making your cards?   About a year and a half.

What type of art is it?  Abstract, modern art.
 
What materials do you use in your card creations?   My choice for the materials is usually spontaneous. Sometimes I would use a paint brush with loads of water dripping. Other works might involve the use of different materials such as a toothbrush, my hands, sponge, and other various materials.
 
The cards are vertically painted on a canvas at first, then the details are added horizontally.
 
 
Savannah's Artistic Creations
Savannah’s Artistic Creations

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?    People, stories, personal experiences, thoughts, my life. My paintings are not just random. All cards have meaning, soul, depth, and they represent a part of my life.
 
In a few words, how would you describe your artistic style?   It’s just me. Sometimes it can be described as feminine or colorful. And at other times it can be labelled as dark. My sense of style can be described as impulsive…it’s a blend of different styles. Since it all comes from the heart, my pieces are not planned.
 
How long does it take you to create one card?   From 10 minutes to one hour.
 
 
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Do you customize the cards for individuals?    The cards can be personalized for various occasions such as weddings, and anniversaries.
 
What is your aim behind creating and selling them?   I love giving people the pleasure of receiving a unique and original card that is affordable.  People need to see the card as a piece of art, rather than just a greeting card.
 
Who is your target market?   People who appreciate art and see the value in it. Art lovers basically…people who understand that with a card you can buy a gift.  As opposed to just attaching a card to your gift, the card becomes a gift in itself.
 
 
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How much do the cards cost?   For 20 pounds – 100 AED, they can own a unique card that no one else will have. Since each card is an original creation of art.  The prices for the cards range from 50 AED and above.
 
How can people contact you to purchase or order cards?
People can reach me by e-mail. A web site will be available shortly.
 
E-mail:   [email protected]
 
 

Savannah is a truly inspirational and creative soul with great talent and such a warm heart.  At her young age, I’m sure that she has a bright and successful future ahead of her. I wish her all the best in her creative career and education and I look forward to seeing more of her amazingly talented creations.

Leaving you with some images from the show and of Savannah, with more to come in future posts. But for now, don’t hesitate to drop this talented young lady an e-mail to inquire more about her art work and card creations.

 

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Savannah's Stand at The Life & Style Show
Savannah’s Stand at The Life & Style Show

 

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Savannah - A Beautiful and Talented Soul
Savannah – A Beautiful and Talented Soul

 

Savannah - Youngest CEO in UAE
Savannah – Youngest CEO in UAE

 

 

Savannah - a true inspiration
Savannah – a true inspiration
 

Dubai Chocolate Boutique Fairy Tale: Debauve & Gallais

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In a city that attracted thousands of International brands from across the globe to open branches in its glamorous and shiny malls, it’s no doubt that the chocolatier of the kings of France – Debauve & Gallais has opened its first regional flagship store in Dubai.

Brand History

Debauve & Gallais, a brand that carries a strong history behind it, is certainly not just another gourmet chocolate brand. Dating back to the year 1800, when “Debauve” – pharmacist of the King Louis – opened a chocolate factory with his nephew, Mr. Gallais. The quick success of this factory made it the appointed supplier of the Kings of France at the time.

The specialty French Royal Chocolatier’s flagship Paris store of almost 200 years still stands at Rue des Saints-Peres and is inscribed in the French Historic Monument List.

 

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Since the brand is the renowned chocolatier of the Kings of France, everything about this delicacy follows the spirit of the French Royal life style. Strongly inspired by Marie Antoinette and the lavishness of her era, expect nothing less than authentic French designs, porcelain vintage ornaments, hand-painted ceiling and wall coverings and original antiques.

An eye for quality and attention to detail are what differentiate this chocolate brand from all others in the industry, and are highly reflected in its products, packaging and boutique. Debauve & Gallais stands in a category on its own and is considered the most exclusive chocolate brand in the world.

 

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I was delighted to accept an invite to visit the brand’s Dubai flagship boutique located in DIFC, and open since February 2nd, 2012. Over superior quality and rich hot chocolate and chocolate pistols, I had a very enjoyable and interesting conversation with the brand’s Business Development Executive; Nahid Ghahary. Nahid introduced herself to me and explained her passion for everything French; from the language to the culture to of course the chocolate 🙂  She described the brand as a “chocolate through chocolate experience” meant for exclusive clients.  These clients include upscale people interested in luxury and different experiences. Such as upscale families who don’t mind spending in return for great quality. They also cater to big corporate clients and make elegantly packaged corporate gifts for those clients.

 

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Information about the Chocolate

With over 2,000 recipes, you’re sure to find a flavor that will keep you coming back for more. As Nahid told me “it’s addictive!”. But don’t worry about the calories, as the cocoa pods used in making this gourmet chocolate are among the top 5% luxury cocoa pods. And the cocoa type and sugar used are of the healthy and beneficial type. Unlike most chocolate brands that are creamy and heavy in taste, Debauve & Gallais chocolate has a very high quality and fine texture and taste to it.

And if the above information isn’t enough to make us want to become loyal fans, knowing that the cocoa plantations for this chocolate brand are located in Cuba and Venezuela surely will.

 

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My Debauve & Gallais Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Experience

I don’t recall ever tasting a hot chocolate as rich and of high gourmet quality as the one that I had during  my all-things French and chocolate related conversation with Nahid.  The exclusive brand’s hot chocolate is made by adding low fat milk to 72% dark chocolate chips and a touch of cream. The boutique also serves a variety of tea and coffee types.

 

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All the chocolates are hand-made as opposed to using a machine to make them. And the print on the chocolate pieces is a silk print that can also be personalized according to the client’s request. With a price range of AED 11 per piece and AED 850 per kg, evidently this chocolate brand is not made for mass consumption. But for the sophisticated and refined chocolate lovers and connoisseurs.

 

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Best-sellers

  1. Marie Antoinette Pistols (Les Pistoles De Marie Antoinette)
  2. Truffles
  3. Forestiere (pistachio covered chocolate balls)

 

Forestiere
Forestiere

 

Marie Antoinette Pistols
Marie Antoinette Pistols

 

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Boutique Interior Design

The luxuriously decorated interior of the boutique is the creation of Elenora showroom and interior design studio. Located beside Mercato Mall on Jumeirah Beach Road, this design boutique offers a unique selection of furniture, wallpapers, fabrics and trimmings and wonderful antiques sourced from Europe and America.

 

I was also pleased to meet with Boutique Manager; Niya El Maataoui who was kind enough to talk to me about the different antiques and ornaments spread around the extensively well-decorated space. I will let my pictures do all the explaining 🙂

 

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More Chocolate…

 

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Sadly, my chocolate fairy tale had to come to an end…but my obsession with this exclusive specialty French Royal Chocolatier has just begun!

With a sample gift box of dark chocolate pistols – with the word “Dubai” inscribed on them – from my generous and lovely hosts, I can rest assured that I have my Debauve & Gallais chocolate cravings taken care of. At least until my next visit to this dream land hidden gem.

Honestly, I had such a wonderful afternoon at the boutique with my genuine and lovely hosts Nahid and Niya. And I can’t wait to go back for another magical moment of afternoon tea and one of a kind chocolate and of course lovely and highly cultured conversation.

 

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Contact Information

Web Site:  http://www.debauveandgallais.ae/

Facebook Page:  Debauve and Gallais – Dubai

Instagram: debauveandgallias

Location:

DIFC, Gate Precinct Building 2

Dubai, UAE

 

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LCF Nostalgia and Inpiring Designs…

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Fashion Forward at its first season was the “it” event to attend and be seen at in the highly fashionable and glamorous city of Dubai. The event consisted of fashion focused talks by prominent individuals from the industry, cat walk shows from regional designers, and a number of social events and parties.

The event program ran over a period of three days. But since I am the type of person who lacks the amount of energy required to pull off a three day in a row social event, I decided to skip the first day. Nevertheless, I was at the venue for all of the second day events! I won’t get into detail of everything that I did, but I must say that I had a nice nostalgic flashback when I attended a talk by Toby Meadows from London College of Fashion. I didn’t get a chance to take a course with Toby when I did my course at LCF in 2009, but attending a talk by someone from LCF is always a great thing. He gave us insight and tips on how things work in the fashion industry in his talk titled: How to get a job in this industry.

 

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I would love to post all of the good pictures that I managed to take on the two days that I attended the event. But unfortunately my laptop is acting up and it’s taking me ages to open the image files because of the technical issue. So until that is resolved, I will only be posting a few pictures from the event. I was able to attend the following shows:

  • Dima Ayad
  • Ezra
  • Toujouri
  • Michael Cinco
  • Amato
  • Ayesha Depala

I personally could see the great amount of hard work and effort in all of the designers’ work. Each designer had a unique signature style that was clearly reflected in his/her collection. And I’m proud to see that level of work showcased by designers from this region. I also greatly support local talent and home-grown concepts and events. Since I’m from the region and I grew up and lived most of my life here.

Fashion Forward’s after party was as glamorous and fashionable as the event itself. We all chilled at Fort Island listening to funky and lounge tracks. Beauty was the key word that night; beautiful faces, designs, and most importantly a beautiful spirit.

Kudos to the organizers of this highly successful and well-structured event. Thank you for all the effort you extended and we can’t wait for season two!

 

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Not An Ordinary Day in Town!

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It was one of those days when almost nothing seems to be going right. I was tired, but I had to attend “Design Days Dubai”; an exhibition on interior decor and art pieces held annually.  It was the last day of the event, so I decided to go and create a blog post about it. Not realizing that what happened during my day of casual and random incidents was far more interesting than the exhibition itself! And that’s what made me get excited about writing this post on a Friday night. When most of my friends are chilling at home and asking about my plans for the evening.

First, we had trouble getting to Emaar Boulevard in Downtown Dubai, where the event was being held. Until this moment I can’t comprehend how the sign that says “Emaar Boulevard” has disappeared from the face of the earth! I always used to see that sign when I wanted to go to The Pavillion, Downtown Dubai, and so didn’t think it would be a big deal to find the location for our design event.  Sadly I was wrong, that sign was no where to bee found last night. And we spent an entire hour or more trying to get to the Boulevard!  And even when we finally found our way there, there was no clear sign as to where the exhibition was! Apart from some street light banners and ads, there was no sign of a crowd or an event in the area!  After my emotion-packed day, I went up to a security guard in a neon vest and asked: “where is Design Days? we’ve been looking for it since a long time!”  As if it was his fault that the event was hidden and tricky to get to 🙂

When we finally made our way into the exhibition tent, we took a quick round at the stands and snapped some pictures of some cool design pieces. before heading out for our next “unpredicted” adventure.  Our next stop was a birthday party celebration at a new chic patisserie in Souq Al Bahaar, next to Dubai Mall. Since we were already in Downtown Dubai, you would think that finding Souq Al Bahaar should be a piece of cake, right? Well, you were wrong. I still can’t understand that either! Dubai Mall is like the second home to most people who live in Dubai, or at least their second home when they have visitors in town. So whenever my dad is visiting, we would spend a lot of time at malls and Dubai Mall and Souq Al Bahaar are no exception. But last night, for some reason, I was disoriented and could not make out how to walk to Souq Al Bahaar from the Burj steps (OK, it was my first time at the steps honestly, but still). So as me and my buddy were trying to find our way to the birthday place, we see a guy riding a buggy-bike! yes, it was a facility for the area, and we asked the guy to give us a ride to Souq Al Bahaar!  For your information, it wasn’t for free (it cost us 25 Dirhams). But it was so much fun! the weather was fabulous for a bike ride, we got so much attention from tourists and residents, and most importantly, we made it to the birthday party! (two hours late, but we made it!).

The cafe where we met our friends and birthday girl had a relaxed and elegant vibe to it. The outdoor area has a great view of the Burj Khalifah, and the weather was perfect for sitting outside.

I guess it’s always fun to do something spontaneous every once in a while. Even if it’s just a simple buggy ride in Downtown Dubai 🙂

 

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