Arab World Luxury 2019 focuses on diversity in retail

The fashion industry is alive with buzzwords such as ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ and those pushing them want conversations to lead to meaningful change. (Courtesy Arab World Luxury 2019)
Updated 13 June 2019

Arab World Luxury 2019 focuses on diversity in retail

DUBAI: If there is one industry that loves its buzzwords, it is fashion, and right now “diversity” and “inclusion” are definitely trendy. Those pushing these buzzwords want conversations to lead to meaningful change.

“Diversity in the Luxury Retail Industry” opened the afternoon session of Arab World Luxury (AWL), moderated by Candice D’Cruz, vice president for luxury brands in the Middle East and Africa at Marriott International Inc.

Panelists included Alexander Schmiedt, regional brand director for the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent at Vacheron Constantin; Chantal Khoueiry, chief culture officer at the Bicester Village Shopping Collection; Dima Ayad, PR and marketing consultant at 11 Honoré; and Samar Habayab, CEO of Silsal Design House.

“Diversity means so many things,” said D’Cruz. Audience members at AWL were polled as to what they believe companies should focus on — gender and generation came top. Schmiedt said: “For a luxury brand, what’s most important is its relationship with the client, and the client has never been so diverse.” He added that in the Middle East, “the whole industry is run by expats,” yet the clientele is mainly local; this needs to be corrected.

Ayad, who is also a fashion designer, said her focus is “finding a solution for women across all sizes.” One of the ways she has made her voice heard is through her “You As Is” collection, which encourages women to celebrate themselves as they are. She recently collaborated with another Dubai-based designer, Nadine Kanso, for the Arabic version of the “You As Is” t-shirt.

Collaboration seems to be a major tool for addressing diversity, whether it is home-gown design brand Silsal, which has worked with students from the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation to ensure their products appeal to younger customers, or the Bicester Village Shopping Collection’s “reverse mentorship” program, which helps ensure it remains a millennial-friendly employer.

Ayad said: “It’s naive to think we can only be mainstream. It’s important to stay inclusive and be diverse.”


US-Iraqi beauty mogul Huda Kattan to appear in new Quibi series ‘About Face’

Updated 04 August 2020

US-Iraqi beauty mogul Huda Kattan to appear in new Quibi series ‘About Face’

DUBAI: US-Iraqi beauty mogul Huda Kattan is set to make an appearance  in British model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s new Quibi series “About Face.”

The six-part show, which is set to launch on Aug 10, focuses on business development and entrepreneurship in the beauty industry. 

The 36-year-old Kattan, who founded her eponymous beauty empire Huda Beauty in 2013, is among several of the high-profile guests and beauty entrepreneurs who will join Huntington-Whitely, including cosmetics mogul Kylie Jenner, Glossier chief executive Emily Weiss, South Korean beauty influencer Park Hye-min, celebrity make-up artist Sir John and hairstylist Jen Atkin.

It is expected that the model will “get up close and personal with beauty industry trailblazers,” giving insights into product breakthroughs and game-changing items.

Kattan is undoubtedly a gamechanger in the beauty industry, making her a fitting guest for the show.

In addition to being at the helm of one of the world’s fastest-growing makeup brands, the Dubai-based entrepreneur also  recently-launched a skin care range titled Wishful. She is also the co-founder of a fragrance line titled Kayali, in collaboration with her younger sister Mona Kattan.

From a humble start of beauty blogging after leaving the corporate world, Kattan has become one of the most recognizable names in makeup around the world, and has amassed a social media following of over 46.5 million – to put that into perspective, more people follow the Huda Beauty Instagram account than four times the population of the UAE. 

Meanwhile, Huntington-Whiteley is not the first high-profile collaborator of the streaming service. Since its launch in April of this year, the platform, which specializes in short-form content under 10 minutes per episode, has partnered with talent like Alexander Wang, Chrissy Teigen, Idris Elba and Reese Witherspoon among others.

Huntington-Whiteley’s series on the American short-form streaming platform was announced in December last year. 

The model is an executive producer on the show, alongside Lily Berg. Also working on the project is Alfred Street Industries, the production company behind “Project Runway.”

Huntington-Whitely has experience in the brand side of beauty too, having joined Hourglass as its first brand ambassador this year. Prior to that, the model was the face of BareMinerals.