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.

Vacation Mode: ON

vintage beach

 

So the plan was to take a creative photo with my new Nikon for this post, but because I’m tight on time and honestly too tired, I decided to just use an online image.

Many of you might be back from vacations or are close to ending your holiday season…but I am just about to start my summer getaway! It’s more of a mini getaway really – nothing major. I just need to take a break from the fast-paced life for a while…a break from social media, checking e-mails, running errands, thinking about what to have for lunch or dinner,  and all the other nuisances of our busy modern society.

All I want to do is to read my books and magazines by the ocean, get pampered at a spa, and explore some new and exotic locations.

I wouldn’t mind meeting some interesting folks along the way too 🙂

Truth is, my blog turns two in September. I can’t deny that the journey resembles a roller-coaster ride. On some days, you’re ecstatic and doing fun stuff and on others, you feel like giving it all up. I get asked all the time about how blogging works and if I’m making any profit out of it. In my case, the main reason I started this blog was to create a portfolio for my writing to present to potential employers. It also gives me an opportunity to practice and improve my writing skills. Whether I generate any income out of it is only a small part of the equation. Mostly because when I decided to change careers from IT to journalism, my goal wasn’t to become a successful blogger! It was – and still is – to make a living out of writing. Basically to become a journalist.

So to all of you looking into starting a blog or who are working towards monetizing one, just make sure that you’re willing to be in it for the long run. Because it’s a long and challenging journey, that requires a lot of determination and a plethora of skills. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting and thrilling ride.

I won’t be blogging, tweeting, checking Facebook or e-mail for the entire time of my vacation. But it won’t be too long until I’m back with more innovative, interesting and insightful posts.

I wish all of you a lovely summer, whether you are spending it at home or have gone/are going away to a new and exciting destination.

Looking forward to telling you all about my holiday once I’m back.

 

Reflective Thought: Do you sometimes get the feeling that you just want to disappear from the face of this planet called earth? and possibly never come back?

Please share your thoughts on this, if only to confirm my sanity level :p

Love,

The Rebellious Saudi Diva

 

University Life: Internsme Workshop

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If someone has the authority to write a blog post about internships, then I think I would be the ideal candidate. After completing a number of internships in Dubai, I believe that I deserve an award for the best intern ever 🙂

I took up several internships in publishing and advertising, working towards a smooth career change. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. That’s why I’m back to University studying journalism to gain more credibility and learn the essential skills.

When I heard about InternsME, I was delighted to know that there’s an organization that helps students find suitable internships in the area that they are interested in. This concept is a great way to facilitate getting an internship and saves the student a huge amount of time and effort. Especially since media and other creative industries are quite challenging to get into – even as an intern!

Noor, our speaker at the InternsME workshop, gave us two choices for the topics that she could talk about. The majority of us chose the topic of “interviews”. Here are the main five points that I learned from Noor’s talk:

  1. Internships are a great way to meet people from the industry and learn new things. So even if you end up doing a lot of administrative tasks during the internship, don’t forget that at the same time you are making new connections from the industry and learning new things every day.
  2. Internships that offer the best experience are most likely unpaid. When I asked Noor whether the internships at InternsME were paid or unpaid. She explained to us that they offer both paid and unpaid ones. But the ones that offer the better experience and exposure (bigger companies) are usually unpaid.
  3. You should never pay any person or organization to get you an internship. I believe this advise goes for getting employment as well. It’s a well-known fact that you shouldn’t have to pay in order to get a position or to intern at an organization.
  4. In an interview, when asked a question that you can’t think of an immediate answer to, it is fine to tell the interviewer: “I need to think about it for a while.” It’s better to be honest than to be hasty and say the wrong thing.
  5. After the interview, send an e-mail to the person who interviewed you to thank them for their time and end it with: I look forward to hearing from you. Don’t be too assertive and say things like: when will I hear back if I’m successful? They probably still have to interview a number of candidates after you, and will get back to you once they are done with the process.

 

To register with InternsME and receive updates about internships that match your area of interest, simply go to their web site and fill in your details. I know I will use their services sometime soon. Possibly next semester – when I have less course work load.

Good Luck and have fun interning 🙂

 

Social Post: My First Opinion Piece!

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As many of you know, I’m currently taking an undergraduate journalism course at University. Well, I still need to update my About Page with that piece of information.  It’s just that these days, with trying to juggle between attending classes, assignments, the blog, attending events, catching up with friends and doing mundane tasks like making a sandwich to take withe me to school and then spending a good amount of time washing up the dishes, the task of updating my “About Page” always gets pushed down to the bottom of my list – or should I say lists? I guess that’s another story for another post.

One of the subjects that I’m taking this term is: Politics, Journalism & Society. I’m truly enjoying the lecture discussions on various political and social topics. I believe I’m more into social and cultural issues than I am into political ones.

That’s why, for our first assignment for the unit, I chose to write about a topic relevant to my society and one that is always in the spot light of International media. I wrote about my personal opinion on the ban of driving for Saudi women and what I honestly think about it…and most importantly, why I don’t think it deserves all the media attention that it is given.

 

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Let me present to you: My First Opinion Piece 🙂

 

Title: My View on the Ban on Saudi Women Driving and Why I think it’s Insignificant

 

By: Nada Al Ghowainim

 

Whenever I meet anyone for the first time and they find out that I’m from Saudi Arabia, I usually get asked one of two main questions. The most common question is related to the national dress worn by women in Saudi; the Abaya. People wonder and are even surprised at times at the fact that I don’t wear a head scarf or an “abaya”.

 

The other question that typically follows the “no-abaya” after-shock is mostly: “So, do you drive here?”

 

My response to the latter is an automatic reply that I sometimes prefer to keep to myself, primarily in fear of facing the other person’s greatly puzzled facial expression and having to go through a series of complicated explanations and justifications.

 

For someone who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, driving a car has never been on the top of my “things that I need to fight for” list. That’s why, since moving to Dubai in the year 2010, I haven’t pursued getting a driver’s license or even had that task on my to-do list.

 

I must admit that relying on a personal driver or a male member of the family to take me from one location to another has its fair share of frustrations and agonies. However, those types of distresses pale greatly in comparison to other daily sufferings faced by all Saudi women.

 

More complex and deep political, social and cultural issues that women can’t escape from on a daily basis are in my opinion far more significant than the inability to drive a car. An example of those issues is the topic of women’s legal rights in the Kingdom. A Thomson Reuters Foundation report published in September stated that “Saudi Arabia tops the list of countries for laws that limit women’s economic potential, while South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa have made the least progress over the last 50 years in improving women’s economic opportunities.”

 

The laws in Saudi Arabia require women to seek formal permission from their male guardian – be it their father, brother, husband or even son – to study, work, travel or simply go from one place to another. However, there are more serious restrictions that pose a far greater impact on the quality of life than getting behind a wheel does.

 

Author Abdullah Al-Alami explains these daily struggles that Saudi women face: “There is a group of ultraconservatives here who will try to do anything and everything to prevent women from exercising their rights,” Al-Alami continues by saying: “Be it driving, going to school, working, travelling for that matter, receiving medical care. Many men that I know, we feel that it is crucial for us to support women who do this.”

 

More importantly, viewing the ban on driving as an extension to other major restrictions imposed on Saudi women will help divert the negative media attention on the topic; where it often makes it seem as the most significant issue facing the country or its citizens.

 

While a ban on driving does limit the freedom of women in the country, a number of rigid and age-old issues that deal with social, political and economic matters continue to confine both women and men in Saudi society.

 

Economic issues range from the increasing unemployment rates among Saudi youth, to the poor distribution of wealth and the growing rich-poor gap, to the inadequate infrastructure of even the biggest cities in the Kingdom.

 

Political and legal issues related to the “male guardian” system have far much greater impact on the lives of Saudi women than the trivial topic of driving a car does. The Washington Post’s foreign affairs blogger, Max Fisher clearly justifies this point in his article published in “The Washington Post” in October.

 

In comparison to other restrictions facing Saudi women, a ban on driving isn’t necessarily the biggest problem. Fisher elaborates that there are far more important issues restricting Saudi women in their daily lives.

 

According to Fisher: “It’s part of a larger system of customs and laws that make women heavily reliant on men for their basic, day-to-day survival.”

 

There’s limited attention given by local media on social issues faced by Saudi women which are directly linked to tradition and the social norms of the country and its people.

 

Examples of these topics include conventional social norms such as early marriage, arranged marriage, and other pressures that women face in Saudi society. In a society explicitly dominated by men, women can easily find themselves helpless and unable to fight for their simple rights. Women are closely scrutinized over their every move, and immediately judged if it doesn’t conform to the rules set by the society or its controlling male citizens.

 

In this confining society, simple freedoms that people all over the world take for granted, are non-existent. Having said that, how can one argue for a specific form of freedom when the general and broader restrictions haven’t been lifted? Shouldn’t we ask for more control over our personal freedoms and basic human rights before we ask to be merely in control of a vehicle?

 

No one enjoys having to be under someone else’s control, let alone a personal driver or a male member of the family, but I believe that there are far too many other causes that deserve our energy and attention besides the call for women driving.

 

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