What We Are Reading Today: A Thirst for Empire by Erika Rappaport

Updated 12 February 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: A Thirst for Empire by Erika Rappaport

  • Rappaport delves into how Europeans adopted, appropriated, and altered Chinese tea culture to build a widespread demand for tea in Britain and other global markets

Tea has been one of the most popular commodities in the world. Over centuries, profits from its growth and sales funded wars and fueled colonization, and its cultivation brought about massive changes — in land use, labor systems, market practices, and social hierarchies — the effects of which are with us even today. A Thirst for Empire takes a vast and in depth historical look at how men and women — through the tea industry in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa — transformed global tastes and habits and in the process created our modern consumer society.

As Erika Rappaport shows, between the 17th and 20th centuries the boundaries of the tea industry and the British Empire overlapped but were never identical, and she highlights the economic, political, and cultural forces that enabled the British Empire to dominate — but never entirely control — the worldwide production, trade, and consumption of tea. Rappaport delves into how Europeans adopted, appropriated, and altered Chinese tea culture to build a widespread demand for tea in Britain and other global markets and a plantation-based economy in South Asia and Africa. 

Tea was among the earliest colonial industries in which merchants, planters, promoters, and retailers used imperial resources to pay for global advertising and political lobbying.


Nora Attal has her day in the sun in Marrakesh

Updated 19 March 2019
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Nora Attal has her day in the sun in Marrakesh

DUBAI: British-Moroccan model Nora Attal posed up a storm in Marrakesh’s golden sunlight for a new campaign by fashion brand Zara.

The in-demand model shared snaps from the campaign, photographed by Christian Macdonald, on her Instagram account.

The collection of photographs show Attal modelling looks from Zara’s laid-back Spring/Summer 2019 collection against a backdrop of rippling sand dunes. Her featured ensembled include kaftans and long-length cardigans with hefty stripes in a clay-and-beige color palette.

Attal is no stranger to fronting campaigns — in January, the model was chosen as one of seven rising stars to feature in British fashion house Alexander McQueen’s latest campaign.

The Spring/Summer 2019 collection photoshoot was shot by British fashion and documentary photographer Jamie Hawkesworth and featured Attal wearing a number of cowboy-inspired looks.

The year has gotten off to a busy start for Attal, who was similarly in demand in 2018, when she took to the catwalk for Elie Saab, Loewe and Dior during Paris Fashion Week in September and starred in Italian fashion label Versace’s summer advert campaign.

In May, luxury e-retailer Farfetch launched in the Middle East with a little help from the young model.

She starred in a photoshoot wearing pieces from collections on sale on the platform. The colorful photographs were accompanied by a snappy, chatty interview with the young model.
Readers got the chance to gain insight into her earliest fashion memories and learn some off-the-cuff facts about the star.

“Recently I’ve been obsessed with noughties trends. Everyone was so cool and effortless back then. Now I go out in a full Juicy Couture tracksuit with no shame,” she told Farfetch at the time.

“If I wasn’t a model, I’d probably be at university, studying to get into something like criminal investigations, profiling or law,” she added.

Attal finished off 2018 by hitting the sand dunes in the UAE — however, this time it wasn’t part of a high-end photoshoot, but rather a day of fun.

The model enjoyed an afternoon of sandboarding in the emirate of Sharjah and even posted a snap on Instagram at the time.

“Apparently sandboarding is a thing,” she captioned the sunset shot.