Cosmopolitan Middle East - - CONTENTS - BY KAVITA SRINIVASAN

5 Arab women mak­ing an in­ter­na­tional splash.

When it comes to the fash­ion in­dus­try, this is THE list to be on. The five Arab women who made the list this year are true game chang­ers, giv­ing a voice and face to Mid­dle Eastern-in­spired fash­ion and cul­ture.

Ghi­zlan Guenez

The Dubai-based founder of The Modist, has, as per her ar­ti­cle in Vogue, “Changed the way peo­ple think about mod­est fash­ion”. Cov­er­ing up doesn’t mean you have to com­pro­mise on style. Mid­dle Eastern women are some of the most fash­ion­able in the world and Ghi­zlan, with her ge­nius vi­sion, has cre­ated a plat­form that al­lows women to be fash­ion­able with­out com­pro­mis­ing on their ideals. And, right from con­cept to de­liv­ery, The Modist ex­pe­ri­ence is flaw­less. It ships to over 120 coun­tries world­wide, has of­fices in Dubai and Lon­don, has re­cently col­lab­o­rated with Far­fetch and shows no signs of slow­ing down.

Jamila Hal­fichi

The fash­ion ed­i­tor for Asharq Al Awsat (a fa­mous pan-Arab news­pa­per that was founded in 1978 in Lon­don) is one of the re­gion›s most in­flu­en­tial voices. The news­pa­per is printed and dis­trib­uted across the Arab speak­ing world daily. She started ten years ago and con­tin­ues to shape at­ti­tudes and im­pact peo­ple glob­ally with the top­ics she cov­ers. She was also a fash­ion pro­ducer at MBC in Lon­don prior to her cur­rent role.

Mar­riam Mos­salli

Mar­riam Mos­salli’s ef­forts have been vi­tal to the growth of The King­dom’s fash­ion in­dus­try. Her agency, Niche Ara­bia, is the only lux­ury con­sul­tancy in Saudi. It pro­vides ad­ver­tis­ing, me­dia, event plan­ning (she or­gan­ised the first all-women’s sports day in Saudi Ara­bia), so­cial ser­vices and pub­lish­ing ser­vices. Mar­riam’s book Un­der The Abaya: Street Style From Saudi Ara­bia, lit­er­ally gave Saudi woman a face and iden­tity. Doc­u­ment­ing Saudi women’s street style, it show­cases faces and rep­re­sents women from all vo­ca­tions; right from stu­dents to doc­tors and en­gi­neers. Mar­riam also directed a short movie called Un­der The Abaya, which cel­e­brates busi­ness­women in Saudi Ara­bia. The force be­hind the blog Shoe­sandDrama, Mar­riam is also pas­sion­ate about chang­ing the way Saudi women are per­ceived glob­ally. She re­cently spoke to The Na­tional about her book and said, “This isn’t just a fash­ion book. Don’t look at it as some­thing so one-di­men­sional. Be­cause here’s the thing: Saudi women are not just a me­dia avatar – that girl dressed all in black, cov­ered, un­e­d­u­cated, walk­ing a few steps be­hind a man. We are so much more than that.”

Anok Yai

The 20-year-old Egyp­tian-Amer­i­can is the first black model af­ter Naomi Camp­bell, to open a show for Prada – con­sid­ered one of the holy grails of a model’s ca­reer. A sin­gle im­age on In­sta­gram taken by a pho­tog­ra­pher, who dis­cov­ered her at Howard Univer­sity’s home­com­ing, got 20,000 likes, prompt­ing a slew of mod­el­ling agen­cies to try and sign the beauty. She’s now a part of Prada’s SS18 and Ric­cardo-Tisci de­signed Nike cam­paigns and has also been signed by Es­tée Lauder.

Salwa Idrissi Akhan­nouch

With the wealth she in­her­ited from her grand­fa­ther, Haj Ahmed Ben­lafki who made his money in tea, Salwa has built one of the most pro­foundly pow­er­ful re­tail em­pires in the re­gion. The founder and CEO of The Ak­sal Group– a Moroc­can leader in the re­tail in­dus­try – she owns shop­ping malls and is a sole fran­chise owner for sev­eral brands such as Ralph Lau­ren, Zara, Bana Repub­lic, Mas­simo Dutti, Pull & Bear and Gap, in the coun­try. The Ak­sal Group also owns 50 per cent of Morocco Mall, one of the largest malls in Africa which has an es­ti­mated turnover of Dhs1,887 mil­lion (US$514 mil­lion).

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