04 April 2011

In the new Grazia!

Grazia
spent a morning at the
Al Areen Wildlife Park
with three local fashion
bloggers to see how
their sites have been
received in Bahrain




MARA MOSTAFA, 32, CREATOR
OF WWW.MARAMOSTAFA.
WORDPRESS.COM
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU
START UP YOUR BLOG?
A couple of months ago! It was
something I had been meaning to do
for a few years but kept postponing.
I wanted an outlet for all my crazy
passions – fashion, art, health, vintage
and a lot more, so it’s quite eclectic.
My brother’s film City of Life had been
released and I also wanted to jump on
the blogging scene to get his movie
out there.

HOW HAS IT BEEN RECEIVED?
Really well! I try to get my posts up
as often as I can, but with having two
kids it can be a bit tough to keep them
rolling. I aim to get at least five posts
up a week.
Ladies seem to be inspired by what
they read and I feel the excitement in
their tweets when I spread the word
about a new designer or blogger. I was
on a radio show with nutritionist Alia
Almoayed about my health blogging.

WHY DO YOU BLOG ABOUT
FASHION THAT IS WEARABLE
TO VEILED WOMEN?
Women who wear the hijab and abaya
love fashion just as much as anyone
else. The niche I was looking to focus
on was fashion that I would wear as
a mutahajiba (hijab-veil). I wanted
to highlight trends and show how it
could be modified to suit our needs as
modest Muslim women, or women in
general who prefer to dress modestly.
You can love fashion, be
fashionable, and be covered. There
are two types of veiled women; one
who wears the veil with the abaya and
is stylish under her abaya, which is
usually covered and not exposed. Other
types wear the veil and dress modestly
but like to wear clothes that express
their style, are trendy and speak their
personality, which I hope to highlight.

HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE
YOUR BLOG FROM THE REST?
I try to blog about what interests and
inspires me. My love for ‘true ‘ vintage
is obvious and I highlight fairs and
where to find vintage pieces globally,
or blog about a particular vintage
designer. I’m a mum so I really push
to get natural remedies and methods
out there.

WHICH CELEBS GET YOUR VOTE
IN TERMS OF STYLE?
Nicole Richie. I love her boho-chic
style, and Jameela Jamil knows how to
work high street with designer. Blake
Lively almost always looks stunning,
she knows what her best assets are and
how to work it, and of course Sheikha
Moza always looks so sophisticated
and elegant.

WHICH LOCAL BAHRAINI
DESIGNER DO YOU ADMIRE?
Hebah Al Hassan – I love her floaty,
boho, ethnic, and Middle Easterninspired
pieces that work well with
jeans, as a dress, or even good ol’
leggings.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO
SEE BLOGGING PROGRESS
IN BAHRAIN?
It’s picking up in the Middle East and
gives us a voice to reach out to people
with similar interests. There is a
market out there and so many talented
Bahrainis who individualise their blogs
to cater to different tastes.

WAFA ALOBAIDAT, 24, CREATOR
OF WWW.FASHIONAMBITIONS.
BLOGSPOT.COM

WHY DID YOU START THE BLOG
AND HOW HAS IT BEEN RECEIVED?
I started it in 2007 when I was wrapping up
my studies at Chelsea College of Art and
Design as a way to document my work in
fashion. I was working with fashion designer
extraordinaire Liza Bruce and her interior
designer husband Nicholas Alvis Vega,
and meeting some of the coolest people in
the industry. London exposed me to a wide
audience and I felt the need to share what I
learnt through blogging.
The blog started as a personal journey
of my experiences, but I was so excited to
receive comments that I checked it daily and
it actually received one million visitors in
just two years! It was also recognized by the
Barbican Gallery after I wrote a review of the
Viktor & Rolf Exhibition and I was mentioned
alongside the Guardian and Vogue.com.

FOR YOU, WHAT’S THE SECRET OF
A GOOD BLOGGER?
Good content, a personal approach,
informative and exciting writing helps and
you have to join the blogging community to
speak to other bloggers and be up-to-date.
Give your readers an experience to make
them want to return.

WHICH DESIGNERS DO YOU ADMIRE
LOCALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY?
Locally I admire Sultan Darmaki, who is an
up and coming Emirati luxury shoe designer,
and Qasimi, who I met in London and have
attended some his shows.
Internationally, my loyalty goes to the
local designer talent supported by the
British Fashion Council. I am a huge fan
of Mary Katrantzou’s innovative sculptural
style, Emilio de la Morena’s shows, Basso
and Brooke, Ashish, and designers
represented by Blow PR, who have always
supported me.

WHO ARE YOUR THREE BEST
DRESSED LADIES IN BAHRAIN?
My mother, who puts a lot of effort into
choosing her outfits, and always travels
in style. I borrow most of her jewellery,
handbags, and high heels. Shaikha Mai,
who I am working with on with the first
shared studio space for artists in Bahrain
supported by the Ministry of Culture – I am
so impressed by her style.
Luma Bashmi mixes and matches vintage
and high street and has a great eye for
fashion, photography, and art which I think
inspires what she wears.

HAVE YOU HAD ANY INTEREST
FROM BRANDS OR THE MEDIA?
Glam.com are my advertisers and sponsors
and send me ad offers for my blog. I have
Wafa Alobaidat, above, began her blog
in 2007, and saw it receive over a million
hits in two years
reported for outlets such as High Life
Dubai, and write for publications like Prim
Magazine and Borderline in New York and
have met other bloggers and editors such
as Fashion156.com’s Guy Hipwell and street
style photographer Glam Canyon.
I was interviewed on Bahrain TV about
my career in fashion, and my design
agency Obai and Hill provides fashion PR
consultancy for clients in the Middle East.

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE A BLOG
CONVERSATION WITH?
Christopher Bailey of Burberry, Margarita
Missoni and Miuccia Prada.

AYSHA MATTAR, 28, CREATOR OF
WWW.PRETTYFASHIONFORWARD.
BLOGSPOT.COM

WHEN DID YOU START YOUR
BLOG AND WHY?
After a trip back from London in early
2009, I had just completed a few fashionrelated
courses and wanted to explore
the industry further. To carve a career in
fashion within the Middle East, a friend
of mine suggested combining my love of
fashion with blogging and it has now
progressed into a full-time passion.

WHAT FEEDBACK HAVE YOU HAD?
Fashion blogging in the Middle East
is still in its early stages of becoming a
fully functioning medium of information
exchange. There are regional fashion
bloggers that are well received and are an
inspiration to us all to keep the dream alive.
I recently started getting more attention
and support after a Kuwaiti newspaper
took my photo from my blog and printed it
without permission for an article on how to
maintain healthy hair during the month of
Ramadan. It led to a mini scandal!

HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE YOUR
BLOG FROM THE REST?
I guess every blog is unique because each
person interprets and writes about fashion
in their own way. My blog depicts what I like,
whether it’s from the runway, red carpet,
random people walking down the street or
what I’m trying to achieve as a stylist. I
tend to write exactly how I speak which
personalises my posts!
I try to echo in my blog that fashion is
for everyone, regardless of your budget or
body type. Global perceptions dictate what
we should look like but in reality everyone is
special and beautiful in their own way. You
just need to know what works for you and
blogging is reiterating this.

WHICH CELEBS GET YOUR VOTE IN
TERMS OF STYLE?
It was Whitney Port, but lately I’ve been
hooked onto Alexa Chung’s style. I
appreciate her laid-back approach to
fashion and how she doesn’t follow trends
but twists and changes them to make them
her own. Grace Kelly inspires me too.

WHICH LOCAL DESIGNER DO YOU
RATE HIGHLY?
I have yet to find a local designer that I’ve
connected with but I’m looking! I love how
the fashion scene is growing in the Arab
world, ensuring that local designers create
an impressive and very talented scene here.
Local home-grown designers to keep an
eye out for are: Shaikha, Any + Addi and
Khaleda Rajab.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE
BLOGGING PROGRESS HERE?
Blogging and bloggers in Bahrain are
growing in number but it’s still early for any
real effect on the fashion scene. Fashion
here is still a fairly new market finding
its identity, and blogging an even newer
medium that is still breaking away from its
perception as a personal online journal. So
many incredible brands have developed a
huge fan following through blogs and online
media; hopefully retailers and readers will
see how blogs can help them

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