Tag Archives: UK

Meet Mohammed

Mohammed photo (1)Meet Mohammed Hareeb, the creative genius behind the successful TV series Freej. Since I started the blog this year I have met some very inspiring people and the exciting thing for my readers outside of the UAE, these inspiring people have been Emraiti’s. Coming from Dubai I believe our generation has seen the city go from a sleepy port city to a bustling cosmopolitan city that has inspired everyone to achieve their dreams.

When I met Mohammed, I of course had many questions about my favourite show Freej. This show has been so much a part of my life that I have friends we have nick-named after the characters and since the English subtitles I have introduced the show to many of my expat friends. The characters were born from a college in project in Boston where Mohammed was studying animation after swapping from Architecture. Mohammed was asked to create a super-hero that represented the culture of his country. Well, of course his initial thought was a macho character that is typical of Gulf history but, in the end he drew his grandmother and many years later that character would be the inspiration for a show on four grandmothers trying to deal with the modernisation of Dubai.

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When Mohammed was asked to create his super hero he realised there had been much documented about our grandfather’s and their trips for Pearl Diving but, not much was written about out grandmothers. Therefore he drew his grandmother, he named his sketch Umm Saeed which is a sign of pride to be called after their son in this region. Of course, as he developed the character and in turn Freej he did not have a particular audience in my mind. The show was made for  18- 35 and would be cultural, comedy and for female audience because they watch more than 10 hours of TV per week and were more inclined to buy merchandise. “Thankfully though, it captured a wider market, Children saw it because it was cartoon, teenagers saw it because it was animation and cool, senior citizens liked it because it was cultural”.

The interesting part of my conversation with Mohammed was that he found it funny that people really took Freej into their lives and made it like a huge achievement for the UAE. Freej was something new and different for Arabic TV shows and Dubai was riding a successful wave and Mohammed was part of that. He said “I believe the show would not have been the success it is if we had try to launch it a few years later, because at the time I started Freej companies were looking to sponsor something different and creative but, now they are much more careful with sponsorship”.

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Walking into the Lammtara office and studios,  its like a creation wonderland, bright colours are everywhere and it reminded me of visiting a pier arcade …… bringing out the child in everyone. Concealing my excitement of being in the home of Freej I had to say “This seems like a dreadful place to work”.

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As I have mentioned before, Dubai is now nurturing and trying to encourage the creative industries. We spoke about this and Mohammed said “If Freej had not been successful then I don’t think other shows would have come out”. Since Season 4 of Freej there has been an off-shoot TV game show, a theatrical production and Mohammed says “We want to be a brand that is associated to the culture of the UAE”.  Although, they took a 2 year gap their audience have stayed loyal and people haven’t forgotten the four grandmothers. I think the fact that every episode is different and you see the characters deal with such a wide range of everyday issues, we don’t get bored with them. Today product placement is still in demand and Mohammed has created the safety video for Fly Dubai featuring the Freej characters and road safety videos for Chervelot. Freej 5 this year comes after a year’s break.

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I had to ask Mohammed if he though there was a big western audience considering all the expats that live in Dubai, well he said “I hear we have a large Western audience, they are intrigued about how we show our culture and that we are making fun of ourselves”. Mohammed never wanted the show to go international and there is no plan to dub the show in English but, at the moment you can buy the DVD’s with English subtitles which of course helps to widen the audience. I told Mohammed, that for me, Freej was exciting to celebrate what our grandmothers had achieved and show the western audience that the women here were brave and perhaps were the ultimate independent women. Mohammed said ” Normally women here are portrayed in documentaries and drama’s and they are either sick or dying and now they were being shown as hero’s”.

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Of course, to follow on from asking about the audience I had to ask how East and West could be merged, “He is happy that Freej found its own style, it’s not too Manga (Japanese) and not too Disney”. Whilst the stories are kept very Arabic themed, they still try to be understood by a wider audience and for example don’t use typical Arabic music but, the music is produced in London. The interesting thing with Mohammed is that he describes himself as very Western thinking ” I really wear my Kandora but I am very western,  I am western educated and my English is better than my Arabic.” I think this really describes the cross over I see in Emariti’s from Dubai and how the city has made itself a business hub in the East.

Tomorrow I will tell you all about the products and the other cultural side of Freej.

Have you seen Freej? What do you think?

Ciao for now xx

P.S Pictures courtesy of Lammtara Studio’s.

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Korean Design

Yesterday I introduced you to the wonderful Faye and Futtaim from The Butik and today I am going to show you a few of my favourite pieces that I picked out from the studio. Also look out this week for a few more outfits that I put together.

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IMG_0101I loved this dress, made from denim its so comfortable to wear yet, I love the kicked skirt and of course the colourful patterns.

Dress: Korean Designers Steve J & Yoni P, Shoes: DKNY

IMG_2673IMG_2673Black and white is always so easy to wear but I do love when you can take easy colours but find textures to mix or silhouettes. With this outfit there was all 3 making it one of the easiest outfits to pick for summer.

Pants: Post Decemeber, Top: Garosu-Gill (Seoul’s fashion street), Clutch: Cres E Dim

Are you impressed by Korean design as much as me?

Ciao for now xx

Easy Dressing

IMG_5201Liliaiya is a new brand being launched from Dubai by two gorgeous girls who wanted to bring something different for women who wear the hijab but, also for those that can style the items a little different. Of course, that ethos fits perfectly with my style of mixing things from my Arab background with my European lifestyle ….. in other words the perfect East meets West.

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I just loved this piece, a twist on a LBD that could be dressed up with heels or as I think I’ll be using mine for running around I teamed mine with my favourite pair of gladiator sandals. What I liked most about this design was also the way the pattern can be seen at the inside on the back …. a real twist.

I’m wearing: Dress: Liliaiya, Neckalce: Kurt Geiger Bag: Celine also seen here Shoes: Gladiators

P.S look for more Liliaiya coming soon including interview from Amsterdam!

Ciao for now xx

Mood of Monday

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I am traveling soon and I m so excited in the mean time I m also going to be celebrating my birthday this week. So with turning a year older and a decade I am trying to make sure I have a positive view

moving forward so I am channeling positivity and a holiday mood.

I think for me I need several wardrobes for all my regular destinations and then a wardrobe for my whimiscal fancy items…… these usually are purchased towards a holiday or on a holiday. This look below though sums up today’s holiday feeling?

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How many wardrobes do you think you need?

Ciao for now xx

Wearing Abaya

Last week I introduced you to Huda from Malaak Angelology and I wanted to show you how to wear the Abaya and Turban; so below you’ll see how you can style an Abaya as an evening gown. This Abaya was the best tailored gown I had worn for a very long time. It was perfectly nipped in at the waist, dropped nicely around the neck and shoulders and made me feel very Feminine. The gold sequins turban was just the icing on the cake for me to feel like a 1950’s movie star! 
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Malaak is a designer brand that is over the top with attention to detail, and this is what makes Malaak the success it is today and designer Huda does not compromise on the quality at all “they get really annoyed with me in here when I keep telling them to re-pick and cut the patterns again, open up the stitching and do it again”. As you can see from the gorgeous gown above and below the bead work is magnificent and makes the dress.

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As soon as I have a need to wear either of these garments Malaak will be getting a visit from me. I just loved them and the way they made me feel with the amazing fabrics and uber femininity.

Do you like to feel feminine and how often does that happen?

Ciao for now xx

P.S connect with Malaak here and here!

Meet Andraya

Meet Andraya a Designer hailing from the world class Central Saint Martin’s school in London. Whilst studying she kept up her expat lifestyle flying between her two homes of London and Dubai.The Middle Eastern influence could be seen all over her graduation collection.

Cages from Andraya / Farrag(One of Andraya’s designs from her Graduate show) See Andraya / Farrag graduation collection video 

Andraya’s first internship was at Matthew Willamson where she became fascinated by fabrics and embroidery from exotic places. Later in her course she would move to New York City to intern for Marchesa and others. Her life has been spent travelling and that continues to inspire her. With such a diverse background I wondered how travel and culture had influenced her fashion style.

Andraya wearing her collection in Dubai

Andraya wearing a dress from her collection

Andraya describes her style as leather jackets with layers, the occasional spike here and there and statement jewellery (mainly rings and necklaces). She mostly wears black but loves bright colour blocking too. Painting her nails to match her outfit or adding a splash of colour is her style statement. Her main concern though is wearing clothes that flatter the figure. She loves vintage and new and tries to mix that with pieces and styles that she is inspired by from the runway shows. However, the epitome of Andraya’s style is defined by which country she is living in at the time.

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Andraya’s time in India encouraged her to wear more colour (although black will never lose its charm for Andraya). She says “I think people in London are afraid to experiment with colour. Travel allows you to re-invent yourself a little and merge in with your new surroundings. Different culture interpret fashion and style in different ways which I find very exciting”

In her sandwhich year at Central Saint Martins she went to New York and of the infamous city she says “I love that city – its full of energy”. Andraya liked that all the different areas in New York have a different vibe much like London. Of course, the other must-see for Andraya was all the great places to eat and the bars that are so full of character. She highly recommends the bar at The Jane Hotel and is a must do for any visitor to the city who is looking for somewhere away from the tourist traps.

After graduating Andraya moved to India to work in the fashion industry. At first it was a total culture shock for her as she had never been to India before. However, she loved it the second she got there; the noise, chaos, colour and totally mental happenings. She says “there is always something incredible happening, whether it’s a 10 year old riding down the motorway on a horse or a random procession with drums and music. It’s a really inspiring place – if you haven’t been already and can handle a little madness I highly recommend it” When you need to escape the hustle and bustle then Andraya suggests visiting Hampi for ancient ruins in the beautiful countryside or the tea plantations in Munar and the backwaters of Kerala”

Travelling in India

I hope that Andraya’s trip summary has inspired you to look around you and be inspired by all sorts and of course to try some colour in your outfits, a little Asian style!

You can catch up with Andraya again when she tells Sojustnice her London Essentials for Travel Thursday.

Ciao for now XX