Teen Movies

Fashion, Fashion Business, Life choices, Style, Twenties, Uncategorized

Do you have a copy of Mean Girls saved on a hard drive somewhere that you watch at least every six months? Do you inadvertently choose that feel-good movie of teenage angst over that documentary on Sea Gulls that you know would probably make for better conversation? Well, if you do then you are an eternal optimist, and here’s why.

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(Image Handsome Devil) The subject of most teen movies is often about overcoming hurdles whether it be physical or emotional and often the lead character and friends comes out the other side, a little scathed but the better for it. If you pay close attention, by revisiting these teen movies and their various scenarios you learn something about yourself. You begin to notice how as you grow older you start to roll your eyes when the lead quarterback asks out the nerdy girl, friends are loyal to a fault and you even start to look at your phone when you know the movies nearing a happy ending. Am I wrong?

Most of us have become so averse to the thought of things simply working out that watching it on screen often makes us question the authenticity of the film itself. Now I’m not saying that every teen movie deserves an award or that every one of the scenarios isn’t cringe worthy, but if you’re like me you know why you watch them. They help you imagine a childhood you didn’t have. Schooling in the Middle East followed by high school and university in the region never fulfilled me. Because even though at a point I learned to be outwardly proud of who I am, I never had that it-moment, that teen movie moment where the one person that I liked turned around and said ‘Hey, it’s tough but I love you too.

Mean Girls Movie

(Image Mean Girls) That’s a pattern that’s followed through into my late twenties, I rarely fall but when I do it’s often for the ones that don’t know themselves. Some teen movies still give me that sense of elation that you felt when you saw your crush walk through the door or that moment when you realize being who you are is okay. These movies also serve to diminish our growing sense of doubt and cynicism with their positivity. How many people do you meet today that tell you they still believe in true love? As most of you know a few months back I released #TheLoveProject for my brand Avastave, which showcased people from various walks of life talking about what love means to them which was a learning experience for me. No matter how cynical you are it pays to be aware that love, even in the smallest form can change your very core. Now, when I say love I don’t mean that being single or alone is negative, in fact you could love various other things just as much as you love your partner but, you have to love. Because, love keeps you alive in a time when the world is shrouded in so much fear and doubt.

Wild Child with Emma Roberts

(Image Wild Child) So, if you’re broke at the moment stay in this weekend, pop in a good old teen movie, have a cry, multiple sighs and a lot of laughs and remember to be that kid who believed in love, because that is the person you were before the world forced you to change.

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What’s with the Junk?

Fashion, Life choices, Uncategorized

Take preconceived notions of the perfect family or perfect relationship out of the equation and ask yourself, if sex wasn’t that important, who would you be attracted to? In a time when people are more experimentative than ever, why do our physical compulsions govern what truly holds a relationship together?

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(All imagery Tom Ford ad campaigns through the ages)

There is greater meaning to be found in a stranger’s soul than in their beds. But often times that little voice in our heads is quick to jump the gun between our heart and our loins with the proclamation – Yes, he/she is attractive! It would be a lie to say physical attraction isn’t important, especially when you’re young but with time comes the realization that the finely decorated outer shell can only mask its inhabitant for so long.

If you take a moment to remove the urges of your physical being and see someone, man or woman, is it possible you could learn to love the person within? We are allowed to write our own rules, as witnessed by the rising number of couples that are engaged in Triad-relationships, involving two partners and altogether comprising of three, that make the relationship. We are so stunted by thinking of our future in the standardized and force fed context of the two parent white Pickett fence module, that we have programmed our minds to disprove any alternative way of life.

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How can we proclaim to be a progressive society when we are still holding onto ancient ideologies? Approach life with the simpler notion, that everything has a purpose. Death, life, sex, romance, anger, positive and negative are all part of the same coin. But, to let one just one element of our physical being sculpt the shape of our futures, is truly committing a disservice to ourselves and others. They say sex sells and it does because the act of sex itself is still considered taboo, it panders to our simplest needs and primal urges but leaves everything else in the shadows.

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Men are capable of being friends with women without society demanding they have a sexual past, present or future. Sometimes the best relationships in life come from appreciating the beauty in others that aren’t evident to the rest of the world. Picture yourself seated in a massive cinema with the rest of the world, translucent tubes emanating from your tinted helmets and connected to the large screen that is feeding you all this collated data. Now, take a breath and remove your helmet. What you are feeling is relief, relief in the fact that from here on out you can live and love whomever you choose.

Men like cars, women like dresses, every man must work and every woman must bear children. Rules and stigmas created by a misguided society influenced by a multitude of factors. But in 2017, when so much of what we’ve learned about ourselves has undergone a thorough analysis and caused an avalanche of change, why are some things harder to shake off than others?

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The past two weeks have been a blur. With no day job to encompass my time I’ve taken to hitting the gym full-speed, tiding up the flat and being more attentive to my laundry ( you think clothes in a walk-in clean themselves?) and of course, this blog. I find myself slowly nearing that person who I use to be, one that wasn’t as cynical. Having a full-time job in a place like Dubai is devastatingly exhausting, and attending it often leaves other areas of our lives sparse. But what is the alternative? You certainly can’t pay rent without money and you most certainly can’t get money without a job. Which brings me to my next question, are we as people, so desperate to have a set of rules in our lives that we are willing to sacrifice our happiness for said-rules? Are we so afraid of creating a life that has not been tried on before?

I believe a certain level of discipline goes a long way. But what happens when we are born into a society that dictates a person’s value through the accumulation of possessions, titles, jobs, clothes, etc? We are trained to look down on boyfriends and potential partners who don’t have career goals but are finding an alternative way to live their lives and stay happy. Is that kind of happiness any less-sweeter than the kind that material things bring?

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I recently told someone that ‘Material things aren’t important to me’ to which they masked shock, and said ‘Really, you?!’ to which my response was simple, ‘liking pretty things doesn’t make me materialistic’, I don’t judge people for how they live their lives – or where they live their lives. The prettiest clothes can often mask the ugliest personalities and the most successful humans are often the unhappiest. We are so desperate to distract ourselves from many of the issues in our personal lives that we throw ourselves into work and accumulate things and people that have no real-value, and in the end who does it benefit?

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I believe that success is measured by you. Your success could be raising five kids with a partner that is never at home, or back packing through Europe and waiting tables or even taking night classes to better your English, each is a success within its own right. The choices you make every day to better your life are your successes, not your bank balance. So the next time someone tries to make you feel guilty for travelling your own path be content in the knowledge that you are living this life for you, and much like couture, it only needs to fit your body.

The Age of Distraction

Fashion, Life choices, Uncategorized

Where Do You Live?

Fashion, Life choices, Uncategorized

There are areas in Dubai that are known to house the westerners; Downtown, Jumeirah, JLT, DIFC and Marina, head to any of these places and you’d feel like you were transported out of the Middle East and straight into New York. Now, that isn’t to say these places don’t have people of colour, but they are few and far between.  This is primarily due to the countries various recruitment agencies that are shockingly still allowed to request your sex, marital status, ethnicity, gender and even a picture, when you are applying for a job. Complete discrimination anywhere else, but here in Dubai, it’s perfectly acceptable. In fact, I could at this very moment screen-shot at least ten job listings that say ‘British national only or US citizens only’, that’s just the way it is. Now, what does this have to do with the aforementioned ‘white zones’? I’m getting to it.

When I started at my role as a fashion writer, that was the first time I stepped onto the metro-train, heading into our downtown offices I would wear my Louboutin’s and tread through the paved concrete outside my apartment, then all the way up four sets of stairs and then a ten minute walk to office. Now, though that I learned two things:

1) $1200 C.L loafers are not for daily metro bouts.

2) The obvious class system.

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You see, I live in Qusais, a mere 15 minutes from Sharjah, and what I lovingly called the ‘Dubai Ghetto’, though it barely scratches the surface of any of the world’s most dangerous cities. When you get on that train there isn’t a single white person. Not a single one, and then as the train starts to move further towards the heart of Dubai, and the buildings start to get that special kind of gleam only money can buy, you notice the change in people. White men, suited and women in stilettos with Louis Vuitton bags. The segregation that is witnessed here, is mostly linked to the higher salaries companies pay to foreigners and yet in the same breath, deign to give to a person of colour, but let’s focus on the societal impact of this on the Dubai community, as opposed to a detailed dissection of the labour laws.

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I can’t count how many people have asked me where I live and pretend either not to know it or furrow their brow when I tell them. What’s shocking is some of them actually don’t know it, because their lives are solely based in the white zones and venturing towards this side of town would terribly upset their sensibilities. What’s even better are the few Asian people that try to pull the same move because they’ve gone to the predominantly white-schools in the white zones and therefore do not understand why anyone would live outside of these sectors. I think where we live, has no real value. A room, a house, a shared flat, these material things offer zero insight into a person’s character, it does however provide a glossy coating to our human shells. One that is unfortunately very important to most.

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To summarize, this isn’t a criticism of anyone that isn’t ‘ethnic’, it’s a small examination of the cancerous effects of discrimination on society. Last night, I decided to go to a bar outside of the zones solely to enjoy the music and have cheap drinks, but several of my acquaintances didn’t turn up when I informed them of the location. In fact, one of them referred to it as ‘Whoe central’, to which my response was ‘There are whoes in Armani tool’, and that right there explains volumes. People would rather associate with that kind of crowd in a glitzier side of town as opposed to ever letting their friends find out that they spent their weekend partying with the coloured folk down in Bur Dubai. At the end of the day, it’s important to take pride in all your accomplishments while staying humble. Living your life in complete honesty will not only help you attract the right kinds of people, but pave the way to a future that doesn’t need a single coat of superficiality.

For those of you who aren’t aware of Italian millionaire Gianluca Vacchi, hop onto Instagram and you’re welcome! Mr.Vacchi is constantly seen partying it up with exotic super models or cruising through azure waters to private island parties in one-of-a-kind yachts, when he isn’t working on his Men’s Health worthy physique that is. Oh, and let’s not forget his Dj-ing gigs across some of the world’s party capitals like St. Tropez and Ibiza. Mr.Vacchi has the life most people can only dream of, and his 11.1 million social media followers (yours truly included) can attest that his life, is something we enjoy keeping up with. So, what happened when news was released last week that the millionaire has assets seized worth 10.5 million Euro in debt?

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Google his name now, and you’re flooded with parodies, tweets and various columnists talking about his ‘demise’ from social stardom to public joke. Why? All because this man, who was a consistent source of entertainment and some might even say ‘inspiration’ was suddenly rendered human? Because he was touched by the dreaded four letter word that has touched so many of us? Debt, is no laughing matter as I’m sure most of you know first-hand, it can destroy families and cripple relationships not to mention the physiological effects on a person’s character. Why then did a giant portion of all these followers and admirers quickly light their torches and blaze Twitter in a series of memes, gifs and other toxic rants?

Gianluca Vacchi

Because people are quicker to celebrate the fallen than they are to award the victor, ‘knocking someone off their pedesta’l is a phrase for a reason. Mr.Vacchi, is the heir to the IMA group which specializes in industrial packaging and pharmacy, which according to The Independent is run by his cousins and pays him 5million Euro a year. He is an heir, meaning his family worked twice as hard to ensure their empire meant its future generations wouldn’t have to worry about something as ephemeral as money, bipolar bosses and paying rent. Doesn’t that buy him the right to live however he pleases? Why does the thought of someone else being happy affect us so? Why is it we can’t simply be happy for someone else’s success? These are the real questions, because at the end of the day, Mr.Vacchi will no doubt bounce back from his debt, but if you’re one of the people mentioned about who participated in this public shaming, what does it truly say about you?

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In a time when Youtubers and bloggers are earning millions and overnight sensations are common place, there is room enough for everyone at the top. If you have a dream- make it happen. Whether you’re in finance, business, design etc, you are the creator of your own destiny and only you can affect its outcome. I’ve always believed that the success of a fellow entrepreneur or the net worth of a social media has no effect on my life. Because I have my own plan and path to travel. Money and success are the product of hard work and playing your cards right, but envy will only stunt your growth and cost you your eternal happiness.

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So take a moment today, to scroll onto Mr.Vacchi’s page and be inspired, because that life you want, whether it’s partying in Ibiza or buying another summer home, is really achievable and social media should serve as you inspirational tool as opposed to a hindrance. At least, that’s what this little writer believes..

Gianluca Vacchi and Social Media

Fashion, Fashion Business, Life choices, Uncategorized

The Hermit

Fashion, Life choices, Uncategorized

Hermit; typically a person living in solitude for religious purposes and a word often attributed with people who are antisocial. But when we talk about happiness, who does the hermits antisocial behaviour hurt? The hermit himself or the society he lives in? Let’s explore taking recent occurrences as an example.

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After two years of working at a leading fashion publication in Dubai, I find myself back at the job distillery; an imagined house of endless possibilities, disappointments and opportunities, a place that most of us will inevitably arrive at when playing the work game. If you have never been here, then I would say it is neither a good or a bad thing, because life is about lessons, and lessons often lead to growth. Growth, my friend is everything. Sidestepping or altogether ignoring the many clues you receive on the road to success is a surefire way to lead a stagnant life, and I don’t believe that is what any of us are after. But, how does the hermit relate to all of this?

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Alexander McQueen’s work was often perceived as morbid in the early stages of his career but the beauty of his work shone through to those who saw past the outward design into the intricacy of his ideas.

The hermits state of mind, his happiness and his goals are uninfluenced by the musings and doubts of people who don’t share the same outlook. A person who means well can in some cases do more damage than good; doubt is like a slow-killing poison that spreads through the crystalline waters of your mind to pollute your vision. There is no room for doubt. The hermit knows this, his actions and words are powerful, focused and clear though the perception of his outwardly appearance by society are often misconstrued because people fear what they cannot understand. The natural reaction to losing a job should be outward saddness much like the accepted form of appearance for a grieving widow should be visible sadness or the notion of marriage being solely attributed to a antiquated picture of a man and woman. This is how society has been working for generations. But in a time when we’re questioning everything and finding obvious results, the most pivotal lesson to learn from the hermit is this;

Happiness comes first and foremost from you not from anyone or anything around you.

While I hunt around for a new job, and a new opportunity, it is natural that people who love me will question my outward behaviour. But I am more confident than I have ever been because, I have always had a vision for what my life would become, and I see no sign of that waning because of a small bump on the road.

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Alexander McQueen A/W06

How do you tackle everyday as a creative person? Do you have a side project, do you work a fulfilling job – do you paint?? Questions; life is full of them. But the most important questions aren’t the ones that get thrown your way by all those annoying relatives, friends who mean well or even your spouse, they are the questions you ask yourself.

How you start everyday and how you spend every minute of that day is solely in your power. Yes most of us do work day jobs (sometimes not in the most pleasant of circumstances) but what truly gets you through it? I for one have the same dream I’ve had since I was a chubby 5th grader who sketched dresses on is notepad; and you guessed it my dream has always been to be a designer. Though that word itself has quite a bit of muck surrounding it these days. It seems to be the fall back profession for everyone with a golden spoon up their bums but let’s be real, for those of us that toiled away stitching our own grad collections and are still paying off student loans it is a daily struggle. But that’s what will make the rewards that much sweeter no? The thought of knowing that you earned every bit of luxury you will enjoy in the years to come?

For those of you that don’t know I started a small clothing brand called Avastave, and it is my baby – a baby that consistently needs a healthy dosage of cash-flavoured elixir. But, one step at  a time. Always remember that you are only in competition with yourself. Marketing schemes and pr agencies should for the most part be left to the large-scale co-operation. In stead focus on building a fan base and a strong brand identity. All of the things I try to do while juggling my career as a fashion writer. Each day that I take the subway train and every car ride or outfit I buy myself with my own money, all of it adds up, it adds up to experiences, minutes, seconds, moments all of which make up 365 days of the year.

Let your life be worth something bigger, allow yourself to dream bigger because no matter where you come from there is always room in this world for the dreamers, the people who have the chops to visualize a better future and then go out there and work everyday for it. You might feel like you aren’t making progress and I’ll be honest some days I sit here like why am I doing this? But you know why, because when you have passion and when you love something it becomes your reality. Always remember that yet another day is a chance to work that much harder for a future that is all the more brighter. D

Another Day

Fashion, Fashion Business, Life choices, Uncategorized