Business of Fashion handpicks Mideast powerhouses

US-based organization the Business of Fashion has released its sixth annual index of the people shaping the global fashion industry. (AFP)
Updated 11 September 2018
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Business of Fashion handpicks Mideast powerhouses

DUBAI: US-based organization the Business of Fashion has released its sixth annual index of the people shaping the global fashion industry — and Saudi powerhouse Marriam Mossalli made the cut alongside three other women from the Middle East and a bevy of men from the region.

Known as the BoF 500, the index is widely regarded as the go-to list of international fashion’s who’s who.

Featured for the first time, alongside 95 other new names on the list, Saudi national Mossalli started her career as a journalist, before founding luxury consultancy agency Niche Arabia in 2011.

According to the Business of Fashion website, “Mossalli’s entrepreneurial company has been praised as a key player in elevating the global status of the Saudi Arabian fashion industry.”

Born in Sri Lanka, Mossalli lived in Korea and Malaysia before attending boarding school in Switzerland and eventually moving to Washington to study at George Washington University. After taking on positions at Arab News, the fashion heavyweight went on to write, curate and edit a series of books, including “Under The Abaya,” which features streetstyle images submitted by Saudi women.

“It’s moments like these that reaffirm one’s career choices and truly humble oneself. This goes to you, Saudi Arabia — my home, our future!” Mossalli wrote on Instagram.

“I’m humbled by the honor to represent the Khaleej as a new addition to the prestigious BoF 500 list! It’s such an honor and a true benchmark in my decade-long career to have this validation from the global fashion community,” she added in a statement to Arab News.

Mossalli joins three other women from the region who have been singled out by the organization, including Egyptian-Sudanese model Anok Yai, fashion editor Jamila Halfichi and Moroccan entrepreneur Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch.

Their achievements were celebrated at a gala dinner on the sidelines of New York Fashion Week on Monday — a celebrity-filled party that was attended by the likes of Somali-American model Halima Aden, model sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, Canadian model Winnie Harlow and British model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

“For the sixth annual BoF 500, we focused on the change agents building and shaping a better fashion industry,” said Imran Amed, founder and chief executive of Business of Fashion. "There’s no doubt it has been a challenging time for the fashion business, a time for reflection. But, as we discovered in putting this issue together, there are many positive stories to tell and we are very happy to tell them.”


Book review: ‘Where the Bird Disappeared’ is a tale as old as time

Updated 22 September 2018
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Book review: ‘Where the Bird Disappeared’ is a tale as old as time

CHICAGO: Taking a leaf from the real-life stories of Prophet Zakariyya and his son Yahya, Palestinian poet and writer Ghassan Zaqtan’s “Where the Bird Disappeared” is a beautiful yet haunting novel set in the village of Zakariyya, in modern-day Palestine.
Inspired by Qur’anic stories and political history, the novel talks about the relationship between Zakariyya and his best friend Yahya who not only share their names with the two prophets but bear a distant resemblance to their personalities and fates as well.
Zaqtan’s narrative is lyrical, heartbreaking and profound. Rooted in Palestine — a land that stood the test of time and would go on to become the hub of early and modern civilizations — the story is captivating enough to transport us to the hideaway monastery in Nuba Karam or the vineyards of Beit Jalla, the new homes for several villagers forced into exile.
Recalling the devastation and violence faced by those migrating from their homes and country, Zaqtan’s ability to take his readers through the same mountain paths and into the soul of his characters is a cause for applause. As Zaqtan writes of his central character, Zakariyya, “he felt he was walking inside a book, stumbling inside stories that had circulated in these hills since his birth. Journeys and names repeating themselves in succession without end.” And while the novel succeeds in digging deep into the annals of history, it also makes the reader realize how much impact the land of Palestine has had on the two characters and the various stories generating from the region.
Zaqtan’s tale is gentle enough to etch out images of each village, street or ancient structure that make the story and yet devastating enough that these get lost in the bigger picture. His brilliance lies in how conscious he is about the words used, while never losing sight of the historical context of his narrative or the love of the central characters for their beloved land.
Ghassan Zaqtan is an award-winning Palestinian poet, novelist, and playwright. He first published “Where the Bird Disappeared” in Arabic in 2015. It was then translated into English by Samuel Wilder and published by Seagull Books in 2018.