Do Expat-Designers have place in Dubai?

Expat, Fashion, Fashion Business, Uncategorized

As most of you know I’m the founder behind my own pret-a-couture label Avastave, and a graduate of the French Design School, Esmod, Dubai. Needless to say as with many higher learning institutes the associated costs weren’t cheap and I am lucky to have had the financial backing of my parents that many do not. However as time passed and I graduated with honours, life kicked in, proving that talent or a renowned degree in itself, isn’t all you need to win this game.

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As artists, we all believe that our work will create such tremendous ripples to the local scene that it would be impossible to not be recognized or profit from it. I am telling you right now, that the chances of that happening are next to none, and I don’t mean that to dissuade you from pursuing your dream or dim your shine, but to give you a better understanding of the tasks you have ahead of you. They call it a dream for a reason, because it is up to you to make it a reality.

Dubai is booming with opportunities, but let me remind you that they often require heavy capital, and unless you are local, have exorbitant amounts of family money or were lucky enough to find an investor in time for your graduation show these possibilities are not open to you. To give you a clear example, I recently received an offer to show at Paris Fashion Week, with a Dubai based company called Opulence Events, the email went on with the usual encouragement that would make any fresh creatives eyes light up saying things like ‘the show will have renowned press, your outfits will be printed on banners, access to international buyers etc’, you scroll down to the contract; the agreement of your participation, and then you see it, $15,000 is the cost for you to show. If you can afford that, then you’ve had a much better organisational system than me, because that is an unreal amount of money to charge an emerging label. These emails have come to me through the years, each more expensive than the last, and you have to ask yourself, do these business entities really think that local designers have that kind of money? Even Fashion Forward, Dubai’s premiere showcase for new talent charges a whopping 18,000, as participation fee.

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EMPEROR LONDON at FASHION FORWARD

Let me rephrase my question, do they really think anyone but locals and rich-kids who do this as a celebration of their vanity can afford these programs? The truth is, the programs that are in place to help aspiring creatives are few and far between and they are ninety-nine percent almost always targeted at locals or Europeans. With their being no citizenship possibilities in the UAE to date, this means if you are from an Asian country or aren’t blessed to carry UK, EU, Arab passport, then you will most likely fall into the category that is ignored. Even though the UAE boasts a massive amount of workers from countries such as India, Philippines, Africa and Sri Lanka these countries are yet to receive adequate representation.

The relevance of citizenship is vital here, because a country is most likely to support and push the efforts of one of its own, and as we all know that the UK and US publications will almost definitely support talent from their own countries in the GCC and the Arab world delights in celebrating their own home grown talent, that leaves very little for those whose countries are significantly smaller by comparison. While the US,EU, AUS etc do celebrate diversity and encourage more people to join their communities as equals, privy to equal rights the UAE’s stance on this particular topic, means those of us who have the ability to truly contribute with our business plans are left to contemplate leaving behind our second home, in favour of countries that better recognize and encourage our talents.

As a designer, I have had the privilege of being acknowledged by several publications, but I have definitely not been provided with the opportunities that would have been afforded to me should I have possessed another passport. So, how do you make it work in a place where everything seems to stunt your growth?

You can work a day job and try to do a collection on a commission basis, however if you are planning on even small scale production it will cost you upto 17,-20,000AED, and if it doesn’t sell, that is another issue entirely. My words of advice would be, to save your money until you can migrate to a place where equality is the name of the game, and even though you will still struggle to get to the top, for the most part the race there will be on a level plane field. And, if you are to remain in Dubai, a few stores offer commission based options to showcase your label, however I for one am yet to see a designer truly benefit from these stores, whose profit sharing methods often mean you will be left with less than half of what you spend on production.

The truth is, every individual is different and you can most certainly find a way to make the most out of where you are based. It is not the lack of support that is the primary issue in the advancement of the middle-class Dubai based designer, it is the complete rebuttal of the predicaments faced by said designers that are holding back what could possibly be one of the newest thriving fashion capitals of the world.

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Christmas Style

Fashion, formal, Style, Uncategorized

Hi guys! So the latest Youtube video spans across three days leading up to my first Christmas dinner party of the festive season. Follow me as I get some much needed grooming at my favourite men’s salon 1847, have some fantastic pesto at Carluccio’s and finally, walk you through three of my favourite party looks.  Click here to watch the full video.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

Outfit credits: Coat, SQUAREVILLE Vintage, LA, Trousers, ICONIC,Dubai and Shoes, CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN

 

Wearing Women’s Clothes

Fashion, Fashion Business, Life choices, Love, Style, Uncategorized

So, gender neutrality has been a hot-topic of late, especially within the fashion community, since our clothing is strictly segregated based on our physically assigned gender roles. But, fashion shouldn’t be a crutch, if anything it is there to help us fully express ourselves. Watch the full Youtube video here.

 

As mentioned earlier on this blog, I think it is crucial for us to accept that what we have been taught about gender, is based on the limited understanding of the complexities of human beings, at the time gender-based rules were formulated i.e not acknowledging the very real existence of intersex, transgender and gender-fluid and gender-less people.

It is in fact the perfect opportunity to address the issue with a little video, on how we as people can enjoy fashion regardless of gender/sexual orientation, while borrowing some great clothes from the girls. So, without further ado, here’s how to style some sick women’s pieces into your look. Hit me up on Instagram or comment down below and let me know which look is your favourite. #1 , #2, #3 or #4.

Love you guys, and let’s stop limiting ourselves.

Brands: Valentino, Gucci, Just Cavalli, Zara, H&M , New Look, Forever21, Mango and Adidas.

What is Prêt–à-Couture?

fantasy, Fashion, Fashion Business, Love, Style, Uncategorized

Many of you know that Kiian, the LA based musician, unofficially marked the debut of Avastavé pret-a-couture menswear, in his most recent shoot for Unclear magazine. Now, with special access to a one-of-a-kind image from the shoot, I thought it would be an informative way to explore what makes a custom-made Avastavé piece so special, and what the terminology pret-a-couture really means.

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Naomi Campbell in Christian Dior Haute Couture 97/98 by John Galliano

Firstly, lets identify the fashion terminology: 

Haute Couture: Every bit is constructed by hand and no sewing-machines are involved. Only one piece in the world. Created to follow every line on your body, with any changes you desire to the original style i.e fabric, colour, seams, etc. A typical Haute Couture show displays the height of a brands fashion artistry and opulence, and is best exemplified in the works of designers such as John Galliano for Christian Dior in the past, Atelier Versace and of course, Chanel. Tap here for video.

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Avastavé pret-a-couture is only available to shop exclusively on our website

Pret-a-couture: A term used to describe clothing with couture-esque elements. Born from the traditional term pret-a-porter, meaning ready-to-wear; the typical clothing sold at designer boutiques including spring/summer, fall/winter, pre-fall and cruise collections. Pret-a-couture was formed to address the fast paced consumer need for couture like garments without the exorbitant price tag. Brands like Fausto Puglisi, Iris Van Herpen and the famous, Alexander McQueen are all examples of pret-a-couture.

Differences between Pret-a-couture and Haute Couture:

  • There is only one piece worldwide assembled from a Haute Couture style, but there is a set-stock of pieces for each style in a pret-a-couture collection, depending on the label.
  • All official Haute Couture pieces are 100% hand-made( this includes, the side seams, zippers and overall garment construction, not just the handwork). Pret-a-couture pieces however, are not 100% hand made, they may contain details that reference Haute-Couture garments like expert hand embroidery, one-of-a-kind textiles and unique embellishments, but they are not hand-made as a whole.
  • True Haute Couture pieces can take up to 300 hours per piece to construct, whereas pret-a-couture takes less than half of this time, dependent on the piece and the label.

Avastave Pret-a-couture

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A cascading river of crepe-satin and silk form this sleeveless coat dress that can be worn with trousers or skirts. Available on Avastave.com

  • What makes Avastave pret-a-couture unique? We only have three sizes in one style. For example, the dress above, is only available in UK 8, 10 and 12. If you are lucky enough to purchase a piece in that style, then you will be the only woman(or man) in the world to own it, with the exception of the clients that purchase size 10 & 12. But, there will only be two other people in the world to own the style.
  • Pricing: We are an emerging label, but one that only creates pret-a-couture and custom pieces. Therefore we are expensive, but through extensive market research and customer feedback we’ve created pricing that is every bit worth your dollar. Especially considering you’ll be one of the only people to own the piece. Did I mention we also provide worldwide free shipping?

Kiians Garment:

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Kiian photographed for Unclear Magazine

Kiian’s garment was created three months ago and took about a month to complete,between emails, design changes, textile finalization and shipping. Custom made pieces require more time and attention and as with all aspects of the business, are primarily handled by me. Kiians top, is crafted in opal pink silk/satin and has elasticated ribbing at the collar, cuffs and lower-hem. The back contains a curved seaming, reminiscent of the jackets of 80’s rock-stars and firmly holds two layers of hand-made, hand-dyed fringing in matching opal pink. The back also contains the initials KIIAN.

 

 

Youtube – The Creative’s Future

Fashion, Style, Uncategorized

Gone are the days of endless posts and countless images, at least for the majority of fashion bloggers. Tap on the links of your favourite ‘influencer’ and chances are their written content is a maximum of 300 words or usually less. We are a visual society. And consume information voraciously; faster than ever before. It is only natural then that bloggers and writers around the globe slowly evolved their technique, a method by which to reach their audience while captivating them in a way that the images and written content did years ago. Enter the millennials favourite video hosting platform; Youtube.

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Denim jacket, ZARA |Polo, Supermart find(yes!) | Jeans and sunglasses, H&M | Trainers, Adidas.

Through Youtube we’ve connected with colourful makeup gurus like Jeffree Star, followed the stylish musings of fashion bloggers like Aimee Song and Gallucks and viewed Chanel couture as if we were sitting front-row with Kirsten Stewart. The possibilities and sense of connectivity Youtube provides birthed a new generation of social media influencer’s, and as such it is time to take lifeandotherstories.com towards the light!

The new vlog will take you on an uncensored journey behind my everyday life, complete with tips on fashion brands to shop, ungendered style, places to dine and the life of a middle-class creative. In all honesty, producing non-written content is going to be tough, as I feel I’m much more myself when I can jot down my thoughts in neat little paragraphs, but I am also a big believer in modernity. Moving forward is imperative to growing, and life is not lived till we challenge ourselves to the fullest. That being said, I hope all of you enjoy the first edition of my vlog. Tap here to view the complete video.

 

The Power of Music Therapy

fantasy, Fashion, Life choices, Style, Uncategorized

Before you begin reading this article, it is not about finding a solution to your insomnia, now that that’s out of the way today, we’re going to be talking about empowering your senses while you sleep, through the power of music. Don’t believe it? Read on..

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(All images with the exception of the one above credited to Tim Walker) As most of you that follow me on social media know it’s been quite a trying time between building my fashion company, Avastave and look for a full-time job, and even if your sister-friend(me) doesn’t show it, it is often draining, demotivating and downright depressing.

Tim Walker for VOGUE Italia

When you go from having a full time job to having to peace-out at home for three months, it can get quite tiresome-fast. But, as with my earlier post on licenses I will stress that not having a job, doesn’t define you, especially if you’re working towards it and have goals, these goals are for you and you alone, they do not need to be relayed on to friends, family or your followers. Somethings should be private. But all of the #caucasianAnxiety caused by these changes in my life have left me feeling physocologically and emotionally drained which is where healing music comes in.

Tim Walker for W Magazine

According to Physcologytoday, music not only helps to reduce heart rates, blood pressure and cortisol levels but also aids the social functioning of people with schizophrenia. Pair that with music that has a positive message which is used in music therapy, and you get reduced anxiety, depression and even chronic pain. Typically, I wouldn’t read into it too much but when I happened to fall asleep listening to a composition by YellowBrickCinema – Relaxing Music on Youtube, before bed one day, I truly understood its impact. After weeks of feeling like my body was weighed down, that particular morning I got out of bed feeling fresh, rejuvenated and optimistic. No joke, it was like a new day with new possibilities and every door is open to you, now I’m not going to fib and tell you that those feelings of negativity weren’t somewhere in the back of my mind but I did not wake up thinking about them, they were more a part of life as opposed to ‘my life’.

Tim Walker

In the following few days I alternated between the channel above and Relax Music Channels’ ‘Music To Heal Female Energy’ and woke each time to find myself feeling calmer, more positive and content with the efforts I’m putting into make things work in my life. In fact, I’m listening to it right now and it’s already made me feel waves better than I did this morning! If you don’t believe me, give it a try because this three hour track can mean the difference between you and some severe bouts of depression.

High Fashion Halloween

Fashion, formal, Life choices, Style, Uncategorized

For us ordinary fashion folk Halloween is the equivalent of the Met Gala, meaning anything and everything goes regardless of gender. Which is why today on Life&OtherStories I thought it important to feature a few images that provide the ultimate inspiration for ideas that combine both fantasy and function. Most people think its about gory makeup and disjointed body parts but the truth is you can still look bomb as hell in something you probably already have in your wardrobe, so without further ado lets get started.

Balenciaga cloak

It might look pretty simple but imagine this head to toe white Balenciaga cloak with Dr.Martnes and a old kitchen knife?

Fur Vintage

Make a statement on your opinion of real fur and purchase a discount version on Ebay, dab the edges in red paint and you’ll truly show up those fur wearing monsters!

Fur

Tim Walker for Another Man Gucci

 I mean, forget crypt keepers of yesteryear, the new age guardians of the underworld wear Gucci ponchos and have scalps studded in half pearls. You can get the exact look with a little imagination and a trip to the haberdashery. Hot glue can go a long way!
Vogue Italy

I’m sure most of you are aware of this iconic shoot from VOGUE ITALIA that focused on a culture obsessed with plastic surgery. What a fantastic idea, imagine a body-con dress and your face tightened up in band-aid with super plump lips. J’ADORE!

VOGUE NIPPON 2014 Alexander McQueen

A McQueen moment is an absolute necessity! Give the girls mermaid fantasy by hunting through sales racks for sequined separates then stitching them up into a kimono-sleeve coat which you can belt, paired with sequinned lids and sequinned hair you’ll be coming for the light!