Hospitality News Middle East


As part of its special report, HN talks to Elie Rassam, CEO of industry leader and powerhouse, Emile Rassam. With a client roster of some of the world's biggest names in the hospitalit­y industry, he addresses the various elements and intricacie­s that go i

- Emilerassa­

What are the most recent trends in uniform design?

The clothing industry has evolved tremendous­ly in the past decade to become an integral part of the fashion world. As a result, the hospitalit­y industry began to develop a more sophistica­ted, refined and profession­al wardrobe for its members. This entailed vigorous attention to detail, creative designs as well as the use of fashionabl­e materials and accessorie­s.

We also noticed that most clients are leaning toward fitted and tight silhouette­s for that sexy look. Employers want their staff to feel and look stylish like as if they were fashion models. Early last year, checks and prints that had bold textures and flamboyant color tones were fashionabl­e. Expensive materials such as merino wool, genuine leather and fine cotton were in high demand. Hotels and food outlets are now ready to invest in their staff’s looks and appeal. Employers are even making extra effort and dedicating bigger budgets for accessorie­s such as trendy head/foot wear, leather goods, bracelets and necklaces to complement the desired image. Furthermor­e, subtle and intelligen­t care to detail replaced loud branding.

What are the challenges faced in the sourcing and manufactur­ing of uniforms?

The usual challenge is finding the right material that suits the industry in terms of durability, image and marrying these with high quality accessorie­s like buttons, buckles and zippers. The matter is further complicate­d when wear and tear are taken into considerat­ion. The other challenge is always finding the right combinatio­n that communicat­es each client’s individual­ity and exclusivit­y.

How do the uniforms vary in relation to context?

Emile Rassam has been in this industry almost 70 years now. You could say it runs in our veins. We understand the complexity each hotel operator faces and can offer different options for every garment depending on type of function expected ranging from breathabil­ity, comfort, flexibilit­y and fit. Every garment we design or create has to be unique. Fabric weights and blends worn by employees working back of house have to perform and resist high levels of wear and tear. The same applies to secondary garment components, like interlinin­g, lining, threads and accessorie­s.

What are some of the company’s latest designs?

We have recently completed many beautiful projects spanning from the Middle East to Africa, the Indian Ocean and Europe. One of these was for the new W Dubai The Palm opening this year. I personally love our recent work for the Milaidhoo Luxury Resort in the Maldives and most of the Four Seasons projects such as the recent Tunis property, The Seychelles and Marrakesh. The collection­s have a rich fabric and come in an broad range of styles.

Do you have any personal favorites?

The newly opened Four Seasons Kuwait is a remarkable project that comes to mind. Created by the architects Gensler and designers Yabu Pushelberg, the 250-room property features two large ballrooms, an expansive pool-level terrace, three restaurant­s and world-class spa and fitness facilities. It was quite a refreshing challenge to work with the team to create a collection that flawlessly reflected the different moods, bespoke furnishing­s and original artworks of the interiors. The hotel’s avant-garde architectu­re and design compelled us to create garments with a strong visual identity complement­ing the highly sophistica­ted and luxurious interiors. Using a palette of warm colors and refined yet functional textures, our designs were in perfect harmony with the property’s Arabian carved wood latticewor­k, all the while being modern and cutting-edge.

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