IS THIS DUBAI’S SE­CRET INSTASTAR MAKER?

MEET SARAH ISA, THE IM­POS­SI­BLY COOL DUBAI-BASED STYLIST BE­HIND YOUR FAVOURITE IN­FLU­ENCERS’ LOOKS…

Grazia Middle East - - 10 HOT STORIES -

WE’VE ALL GOT ONE,

haven’t we? That In­sta star­let we fol­low who never puts a foot wrong in the wardrobe depart­ment, whose im­mac­u­late out­fit cu­ra­tion is won­drous to be­hold, and whose abil­ity to source bang-on-trend, im­pos­si­ble-to-find vin­tage pieces is noth­ing short of sar­to­rial sorcery. There are four we can think of off the top of our heads – Rania Fawaz, Ola Fara­hat, Fa­tima Al Mo­men and Dima Al Sheikhly – whose per­sonal style was al­ready ex­cep­tional, but which has sky­rock­eted with the help of one su­per-tal­ented su­per-stylist, Sarah Isa. Or, as we like to call her: the In­sta-Star Maker.

We sat down with this Dubai-based Mon­tréal na­tive to pick her brain about what it takes to stand out in the (in­sta) crowd...

Tell us your story so far…

I was born and raised in Mon­tréal, lived in Toronto for a few years and have been in Dubai now for al­most two. I got into styling through the mu­sic in­dus­try at 19 years old when I was part of M.I.A.’s mu­sic video for Bad Girls. I started shad­ow­ing her stylist, Melanie Ash­ley and watch­ing what her job en­tailed, and I fell in love with it. Af­ter fash­ion school, I de­cided to take the risk by go­ing to LA and as­sist­ing Iggy Aza­lea’s stylist, Ale­jan­dra Her­nan­dez, who taught me the im­por­tance of a great work ethic and what it takes to have a qual­ity fi­nal prod­uct.

It wasn’t un­til mov­ing to Dubai that I got more com­fort­able tak­ing on clients to re­fine their per­sonal style and in­cor­po­rate what I’ve seen in my years of trav­el­ling, and from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the dif­fer­ent cul­tures from the places I’ve lived.

What dif­fer­en­ti­ates you from other stylists – both in the UAE and glob­ally? I’d say I have a great bal­ance be­tween both my her­itage and where I grew up – North Amer­ica and North Africa – which I love to in­cor­po­rate into my styling. I love to learn from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives and com­bine be­ing fem­i­nine and el­e­gant but still re­lat­able and on-trend. Per­sonal styling is my main hub but I’ve worked on ed­i­to­ri­als for mag­a­zines in­clud­ing my lo­cal favourite, Grazia.

What’s your sig­na­ture? My sig­na­ture would have to be mak­ing vin­tage look new. I love bring­ing back that old-school en­ergy but keep­ing it cur­rent.

What do you think of both the style scene here in the UAE and the lo­cal de­sign tal­ent? I’m def­i­nitely see­ing a change and a step-up when it comes to young peo­ple find­ing their own voice and ways to ex­press them­selves through fash­ion in the UAE. I’m lov­ing ev­ery­one tak­ing risks and be­ing trend­set­ters for the rest of the world. It’s also su­per fun to style clients in lo­cal de­sign­ers that you see out and about around the city, such as Lama Jouni and Shabab INTL.

How much do you take so­cial me­dia into con­sid­er­a­tion when styling a look? I try not to go on so­cial me­dia as much, just to keep my mind and cre­ativ­ity as authen­tic and per­sonal as it can be. How­ever, read­ing pos­i­tive feed­back about your own work never hurts!

Do you think you’re re­spon­si­ble, at least in part, for any of your clients’ so­cial-me­dia suc­cess? I think the team­work is what im­proves all of my clients’ so­cial-me­dia suc­cess – the way we work to­gether, and how they trust me when try­ing new looks and leav­ing their com­fort zone, is amaz­ing.

Which de­sign­ers and in­flu­encers are on your radar as the next big thing? My favourite de­sign­ers/in­flu­encers at the mo­ment, and who I mostly fol­low on so­cial me­dia, in­clude Lon­don-based Ash­ley Wil­liams, Danielle Guizio and LA-based Aleali, who is re­spon­si­ble for my favourite pair of [Nike] Jor­dan 1s.

Dima Al-Sheikhly and Rania Fawaz (also seen be­low) are both Sarah’s clients

My Fab­u­lous M.E. star Fa­tima Al Mo­men has a fab­u­lous wardrobe cour­tesy of Sarah Isa Work­ing with M.I.A. in­spired Sarah to fol­low a ca­reer in fash­ion styling

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