Algerian designer Ilyes Ouali inspired by disco glamour of the 1970s

Ilyes Ouali won this year's Fashion Star Arabia. (Supplied)
Updated 08 August 2019

Algerian designer Ilyes Ouali inspired by disco glamour of the 1970s

DUBAI: This week, Algerian designer Ilyes Ouali showed off his designing chops at London Arabia Art & Fashion Week, which returned to the capital for its fourth year and brought together designers and artists from the Arab world.

Ouali shot to fame after winning the intense reality TV competition “Fashion Star Arabia” this year, just months after graduating from Regent’s University London. 

His unique brand is a combination of haute couture and street style. Ouali was born and brought up in Algeria, and his designs blend Arabian culture with the dressed-down look of western cities. 

The 27-year-old designer had no previous fashion experience when he first came to London; it was not a well-established career choice in Algeria. 




Ouali shot to fame after winning the intense reality TV competition “Fashion Star Arabia” this year. (Supplied) 

“I didn’t choose a career in fashion, fashion chose me,” Ouali told Arab News. “I have always been interested in fashion in general, and I didn’t even have the option in my mind to do something else.”

It wasn’t until his college years that he got his start. “During the first years at my university, I decided to drop my collection of six looks because I was impatient to start realizing my ideas.”

His participation in London Arabia Art & Fashion Week is a step into a bigger league. “My… collection will be sort of an introduction for me to the fashion world on a bigger scale, as it is the first time we are doing a big collection.” 

Ouali said his show is meant to serve as a teaser for the new collection, which is strongly influenced by the Seventies. “The core of the brand was and will always be inspired from the 70s glamour, and the upcoming collection will highlight the ‘It’ girls of that era, like Bianca Jagger and Diana Ross.”


Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

Photo supplied
Updated 20 August 2019

Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

  • Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain

A Saudi bakery and restaurant business specializing in pastries is finding its way into Saudi hearts with a delectable selection of fine Italian, French, and Swiss foods.
Ahmad Essam, 28, a self-taught baker and chef, left a productive family business to create what is now one of the most prestigious bakeries in Alkhobar.
Essam set up his bakery and restaurant while working as a production engineer, selling tarts and cakes to his friends.
He was overwhelmed by the encouragement he received, and little by little Essam, his dream of running his own company emerged.
Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain.
Baking French pastries such as croissants, macarons, mille-feuille, eclairs and tarts require a true artisan. Essam described the glory he feels when he bakes, saying: “Dealing with precise tips to get the real essence of French pastries and reaching a level to bake without recipes is a matter of experience and good knowledge. Being a real baker requires a lot of learning as it’s not only about mixing water and flour; its trick lies behind the process of fermentation that sometimes lasts for days.’’
Every once in a while, the young man distributes membership books to loyal customers. “On Valentine’s Day, we distributed 3,000 roses,” he added.
Essam is very passionate, and dreams of opening a cooking academy in Saudi Arabia so he can inspire other amateur bakers; he told Arab News about his future 12,000-square-meters cooking village project that he is aiming to create in Riyadh, “including a library that collects all cookbooks, a seasonal spice shop, a great lake garden, a pizzeria, glossary shop and more, all of which falls under one theme: Cooking.”
For him, business is an obsession and profession. “Chefs have their egos. They are dealing with a tricky job and they know what they are doing exactly. They do not accept comments or advice from other chefs,” he explained.
You can follow him for more information on White Mountain on Instagram: @wm.bakery.