Rags to riches: Italian project launched to help refugees, migrants start fashion career

Rags to riches: Italian project launched to help refugees, migrants start fashion career
Talented migrants and refugees will be given the opportunity to craft the future of Italian fashion. (CNMI)
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Updated 22 June 2021

Rags to riches: Italian project launched to help refugees, migrants start fashion career

Rags to riches: Italian project launched to help refugees, migrants start fashion career
  • “Fashion Deserves the World” is an initiative by the National Chamber of Italian Fashion (Camera della Moda)
  • Project will give the young refugees and migrants an opportunity to study fashion and find work in Italian companies

ROME: Fifteen young refugees and migrants living in Italy will be given the chance to launch a career in fashion.

The project, called “Fashion Deserves the World,” is an initiative by the National Chamber of Italian Fashion (Camera della Moda). 

It will give the young refugees and migrants an opportunity to study fashion and find work in Italian companies, giving them new lives from the places they fled. 

Camera della Moda has been given the patronage of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a UN project on ethical fashion.

“Fashion Deserves the World” was introduced at the end of Milan Men’s Fashion Week as a part of the initiatives organized in Italy for World Refugee Day, in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Mygrants, a startup that provides micro-learning programs in three languages to help migrants consolidate their knowledge and find a job.

“Giving an opportunity is an extraordinary opportunity,” said President of Camera della Moda Carlo Capasa in a press conference attended by Arab News.

“‘Fashion Deserves the World’ is not just an opportunity for refugees but also for Italian companies. With retirements scheduled to cover the next three to four years, we estimate that there will be nearly 40,000 vacant jobs in the Italian fashion sector,” Capasa added.

“A minimum of two years is necessary to train new professional figures in this field, and it would be a disaster if we lost the outstanding quality of our fashion craftsmen who will leave their jobs without heirs if we do not train somebody else so that their unique skills will not be lost.”

Talented migrants and refugees could continue the tradition of Italian fashion craftsmen. “In this sense migrants and refugees can be our assets, and fashion could be theirs,” Capasa said.

“We are starting with this small project, which we hope will soon become a big one. For the moment it is a stone in the pond, but we expect something bigger to come at some point,” he said, calling for “specific training paths set by the government with a preference for talented migrants and refugees.”

Laura Iucci, the head of private sector partnerships for UNHCR Italia, said: “In this operation, everybody wins. Companies need a turnover of well-trained and motivated people and, according to the latest macroeconomic studies, the diversity brought by migrants is an added value. The National Chamber of Italian Fashion is now forging a new path.”

Applications are open to migrants, refugees and stateless people with a good knowledge of the Italian language and a strong desire to work in the fashion sector.

The applications must be sent through the Mygrants website, where they will be examined by experts from the National Chamber of Italian Fashion in Milan.

The 15 finalists will attend training sessions and then start working at companies associated with the Camera della Moda across Italy.


Enduring style of the sandal: From traditional staples to Yeezy Slides, put your best foot forward

Enduring style of the sandal: From traditional staples to Yeezy Slides, put your best foot forward
Instagram/@tamashee
Updated 26 July 2021

Enduring style of the sandal: From traditional staples to Yeezy Slides, put your best foot forward

Enduring style of the sandal: From traditional staples to Yeezy Slides, put your best foot forward

DUBAI: There can’t be a more beloved item of footwear in the Middle East than the sandal, and while increasing numbers of Arab men are rocking collectible sneakers with their thobes in 2021, deep down, the open-toed classic will always remain the footwear of choice. The question is, just how should you wear them?

First things first, did you know that the sandal is actually the OG of all footwear? In 1938 a 10,000-year-old pair was discovered in Fort Rock Cave in Oregon, US. That makes it the oldest shoe going. Sandals in the Middle East are always open-toed and have a leather covering across the front of the foot—meaning that there’s no need for a strap at the heel to keep them in place. While in many parts of the region they would evolve from free open toes to a na’l—featuring another piece of leather to separate the big toe—there was also a need to leave room for a sock, so bedouins could wear them as the desert evenings grew colder.

Sandals in the Middle East are always open-toed and have a leather covering across the front of the foot. Instagram/@tamashee

However, when it came to Western fashion, things were a little more complicated and they quickly become the footwear of choice for uncool, suburban dads. Amazingly, what nearly killed it actually saved its life. Thanks largely to the normcore fashion movement, suddenly the sandal was back in the game. Whether it was David Beckham wearing them with sports socks and a Tom Ford suit or Justin Bieber sporting something with a chunky sole, the sandal was reborn. Not that the Arab world needed such a renaissance, of course, here it had always been on-point.

Now, with luxury brands crafting new editions each year—not to mention elevated streetwear options like the impossible-to-cop Yeezy Slides—it becomes clear: The sandal is no longer a dull, lifeless addition to your wardrobe — right now it’s the star of the show.

“For price and design Birkenstock is great and very reliable,” GQ Middle East’s Fashion Editor explains. File/Getty Images

Here, GQ Middle East’s Fashion Editor, Keanoush Zargham, explains how, when and where you should go open-toed.

“A relaxed, cosy fits work best,” Zargham said when explaining what look you should style your sandals with. “This could range from an oversized tailored suit to a pair of wide slacks with a tank top and cardi thrown on to complete the look.”

While sandals are the norm in professional environments if you’re wearing regional attire, what about pairing them with Western clothes at work?

“That depends on where you work,” Zargham noted. “The other day I wore a pair of Toga Virilis sandals to the office and nobody said a word. Do wear them with socks, though. Nobody wants to see your bare feet in a meeting.

Yeezy slides have become a real powerhouse. Instagram/@yeezymafia

“For price and design Birkenstock is great and very reliable. If you’d like to splash a little more cash, splurge on some Bottega Veneta sandals with intrecciato weaving detail,” he added.

When it comes to slides, the fashion expert says it’s all about how you wear them.

“They’re a little more relaxed, but I love them. Yeezy Slides have become a real powerhouse. Add some socks, a pair of oversized shorts, a relaxed tee and hoodie and you have a great look going on.”


Zuhair Murad celebrates Jennifer Lopez’s birthday with fashion tribute

ennifer Lopez performed at the Citizen VAX LIVE concert in May wearing a jumpsuit by Zuhair Murad. (Getty Images)
ennifer Lopez performed at the Citizen VAX LIVE concert in May wearing a jumpsuit by Zuhair Murad. (Getty Images)
Updated 25 July 2021

Zuhair Murad celebrates Jennifer Lopez’s birthday with fashion tribute

ennifer Lopez performed at the Citizen VAX LIVE concert in May wearing a jumpsuit by Zuhair Murad. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: Lebanese designer to the stars Zuhair Murad celebrated US singer Jennifer Lopez on Saturday, taking to Instagram to toast the queen of pop’s special relationship with the fashion house.

The hitmaker is known for her love of Zuhair Murad gowns and regularly hits red carpets, and the stage, in glittering outfits by the designer.

The fashion house celebrated the singer’s birthday on July 24 by releasing a short video of the numerous occasions she has donned a gown by Murad.

“Celebrating the beautiful Jennifer Lopez today, by reminiscing over some of our favorite #ZuhairMurad looks of hers,” the caption read. “Happy birthday @jlo! Cheers to your everlasting youth and to more #ZMxJLOMoments!”

Murad is one of Lopez’s go-to designers for special red carpet events and performances.

The “Let’s Get Loud” singer previously opened up about her affinity for Murad’s designs, describing the couturier as “probably her favorite designer” in a past interview with Venture Lifestyle.

“I discovered him years ago when I was doing a show, and I was so jet-lagged and I was up in the middle of the night watching Fashion TV, which they had in this country I was in,” explained the hitmaker. “He had this beautiful show and I was like, ‘who is this guy?’”

Lopez went on to explain the hurdles she faced when trying to get in touch with Murad, who doesn’t seem to have been a household name at the time.

“I came back (to the US) and I said, ‘Do you guys know Zuhair Murad?’ and nobody knew who he was, none of the stylists, nobody in the United States knew who he was. I was like, ‘You have to get me this dress for the Met Ball,” she said, referring to the Met Gala, an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York and one of the fashion world’s most eagerly anticipated events. 

“I wore his dress to the Met Ball and after that, I just started using him for everything — he designed my last tour — we just have a great relationship. He’s a beautiful man, a beautiful designer,” Lopez added.


US-Egyptian jewelry label Jacquie Aiche snaps up celebrity fans

US-Egyptian jewelry label Jacquie Aiche snaps up celebrity fans
Updated 24 July 2021

US-Egyptian jewelry label Jacquie Aiche snaps up celebrity fans

US-Egyptian jewelry label Jacquie Aiche snaps up celebrity fans

DUBAI: From British actress Emily Blunt, to US stars Justin Bieber and Khloe Kardashian, Egyptian-American jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche’s celebrity fan base expanded this week.

 The label has quickly managed to emerge as a A-lister-loved brand, with stars like Kylie Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski and Shanina Shaik adorning themselves with the Los Angeles-based jewelry house’s signature diamond-encrusted body chains, anklets and stacked gemstone rings on the red carpet.

This week, Blunt showed off an ornate ring by the label while doing press interviews for Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” her latest film in which she stars alongside Dwayne Johnson and Edgar Ramirez.

Blunt was dressed by Hollywood stylist Jessica Paster, who made sure to get mileage out of the ring by featuring it in several ensembles on the press tour, including outfits by Gabriela Hearst and Zimmermann.

For her part, Kardashian opted to show off a dainty body chain by the brand during a photoshoot for her label Good American’s latest swimwear release. She paired the jewelry, which wrapped around the torso, with a neon yellow swimsuit.

To wrap things up, Bieber showed off a pair of small hoop earrings by Aiche, which he paired with a red visor.

(Instagram)

Aiche, who was born to an Egyptian father and an indigenous American mother, launched her eponymous label from her garage in 2008. She has since amassed an impressive celebrity client list that includes the likes of Rihanna, Selena Gomez and Katy Perry, whose stylists flock to her Beverly Hills showroom in droves to adorn their clients in her signature delicate earrings, finger bracelets and chokers ahead of red carpet events. The jeweler is also the brainchild behind Chrissy Teigen’s bespoke engagement ring from John Legend.

The part-Egyptian jewelry designer’s store in Los Angeles is full of jewelry items made from delicate raw quartz, tourmaline, moonstone and countless other special stones. Her pieces often feature Arab influences like hammered gold, amulets and the evil eye talisman, as well as natural elements such as turquoise, fossils and precious gemstones, which are a nod to her indigenous American ancestors.

 


Syrian designer Daniel Essa’s remarkable rise to success

Syrian designer Daniel Essa’s remarkable rise to success
Daniel Essa is a Syrian refugee who founded a luxury shoe brand in France. Supplied
Updated 22 July 2021

Syrian designer Daniel Essa’s remarkable rise to success

Syrian designer Daniel Essa’s remarkable rise to success
  • In 2013, Essa fled his homeland for Europe to start over. Eight years later, his luxury footwear brand is globally acclaimed

PARIS: Daniel Essa has become a household name. In 2018, Reuters highlighted his extraordinary journey: A Syrian refugee who founded a luxury shoe brand in France bearing his name. On June 3 this year, Essa was nominated for the Shoe Designer of the Year award at the Drapers Footwear Awards — the equivalent of the Oscars for shoes. 

It’s been a meteoric rise for Essa. In 2013, he made the decision to leave Syria behind — and with it both his family and a successful career in the fashion world. He was a valedictorian at Esmod Damascus, a professor at the Arab International University, the host of his own television show for three years.

“Rebuilding everything was complicated. I didn’t start from scratch, but rather from minus 10,” he tells Arab News. Essa arrived first in Spain — a country where he was not familiar with the language. But he already had his heart set on a new project: to found his own brand of luxury shoes.

Essa was nominated for the Shoe Designer of the Year award at the Drapers Footwear Awards. Supplied

That project came together in France, where his first collection was launched in September 2017. “I took the time to do my research. Having an idea is not enough to launch a brand. I had to analyze the market, seek advice from influential and powerful people in the industry, like the former artistic director of Neiman Marcus, Ken Downing” he said. “It was the result of two years of work and preparation. I went to Italy to learn more about suitable raw materials and to have access to the best manufacturing workshops.”

Essa was set on launching his own brand rather than joining a major luxury house. His talent matched his ambition and he found immediate success, with orders coming from all over the world. In January 2018, he presented a collection at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.

The brand’s success is based Essa’s ability to combine French elegance with Italian expertise in a striking harmony. Supplied

The brand’s success is based Essa’s ability to combine French elegance with Italian expertise in a striking harmony. “The brand’s clean and minimalist signature has been noticed and appreciated,” he says. “We were even the first to launch this sleek trend by highlighting haute-couture production. These are new, durable and customizable models.” All the elements of his collections are meticulously and subtly thought out, including the tongue and laces.

His brand — less than four years from its launch — is now on display in major boutiques around the world, including Printemps and Level Shoes in Dubai. “Level Shoes is a unique concept. It’s the only place where you can find the 250 best shoe brands,” Essa says. The designer stresses that his success is — above all — the result of hard work, which he considers fundamental to any project. 

His brand — less than four years from its launch — is now on display in major boutiques around the world. Supplied

“True success is reaching a certain level and being able to maintain it. I am even more motivated than before,” he says. “Self-motivation is an inherent trait of my personality.”

Essa is certainly reaping the rewards of his dedication, as evidenced by his Drapers Footwear Awards nomination. The awards ceremony is scheduled to be held in London on September 23. 

“Being a finalist is very important. It will be a great opportunity to meet the artistic directors of the biggest luxury brands or sports shoes,” he says. “Above all, I believe that this nomination proves that talent is stronger than money and all other obstacles.”


British-Moroccan model Nora Attal celebrates Eid with throwback family photo

British-Moroccan model Nora Attal celebrates Eid with throwback family photo
Nora Attal was born in the UK to Moroccan parents. File/Getty Images
Updated 21 July 2021

British-Moroccan model Nora Attal celebrates Eid with throwback family photo

British-Moroccan model Nora Attal celebrates Eid with throwback family photo

DUBAI: Moroccan-British model Nora Attal took a step down memory lane on Instagram to reflect on her Eid memories with her family.

The 22-year-old catwalker extended warm wishes to her 49,400 followers on the social networking platform with the message, “Eid Mubarak.”

And she posted a childhood family photo of herself wearing traditional Moroccan garb and posing with a sheep accompanied by a caption that said: “Me crying knowing the sheep would be slaughtered as tradition ... And now I’m vegetarian.”

The 22-year-old catwalker shared a throwback family photo to mark Eid Al-Adha. Instagram

Many other stars also used the photo-sharing service to send heartfelt wishes to fans on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, which began on Monday.

"Eid Mubarak to all my friends and family that celebrate," wrote British hitmaker Dua Lipa on Instagram Stories.

Part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid shared on her Instagram Stories a post — also shared by Dutch-Egyptian-Moroccan model Imaan Hammam — that said: “Eid Mubarak you beautiful people.”

Her father, real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid, also took the time to wish Eid Mubarak to his followers, while reflecting on how grateful he was for his family.

Alongside a series of pictures of his children, he said: “Blessed to have my beautiful family ... may God fill this world with peace and tranquility. Eid Mubarak.”

Meanwhile, Huda Kattan posted a twinning photograph with daughter Nour Giselle, and said: “Happy Eid my loves. Wish you guys a blessed holiday. Love you all so much.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Halima (@halima)

The world-famous beauty influencer and entrepreneur also shared on her Instagram Stories a video of a lamb-shaped cake, wishing everyone an Eid Mubarak, and spreading the joy.

Somali-US star Halima Aden, 23, uploaded a family photo onto Instagram captioned “Eid Mubarak” alongside two emojis wearing party hats.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Swizz Beatz (@therealswizzz)

Elsewhere, US producer Swizz Beatz took the opportunity to extend Eid wishes to his 4 million Instagram fans with an anniversary tribute post dedicated to his wife Alicia Keys.

He said: “Celebrating our 11-year anniversary month all month. The fact that we haven’t been back to the house in Corsica we got married at 11 years ago, until now, is crazy. Time goes by fast, make every moment count. Eid Mubarak.”