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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Saudi Arabia

Map, flag and data from Wikipedia.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2015 v9p0115

Saudi Arabia is the second largest Muslim country (Algeria is the largest). Its population of 27 million does very well if a citizen is one of the 7,000 princes who can do whatever they like, and less well if the citizen is a man, men can travel freely and divorce without reason but cannot say a syllable against the absolute monarch or sharia law; and horrible for women who are treated all their lives like children or useful beasts of burden.

The very look of a woman is offensive; in public they must be covered completely. So poisonous is a woman that if she is raped she must be executed, even if she is only 6 years old. Because the law insists it was her fault. Always.

Saudi Arabia gets away with massive human rights abuses because it is swimming in oil, and ridiculously wealthy, and a major buyer of weapons, which the United States falls over itself selling to totalitarian regimes.

The success of religionists in planting the idea that cold-blooded murder of little girls and bloggers is holy has been widely noted. Religionists in neighboring countries have convinced young unemployed men lacking skills that shooting cartoonists and Jews and Syrians and Nigerians is good. And Saudi Arabia responds by building walls around its country, to keep out the fighters they so happily groomed.
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News sources from Saudi Arabia all spew out stories about men and the greatness of the cruel despots who think nothing of lopping off body parts including heads. This news feed is about fashion, and I like it.

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Fast food fashion: Saudi designer Arwa Al-Banawi collaborates with KFC
Thu, 2020-02-27 12:38

DUBAI: Fashion’s fixation with food is no secret. In recent years, we’ve seen a number of brands cook up edible-themed accessories, including McDonalds cups crafted into shoulder bags from Moschino and lait de coco clutches by Chanel. Meanwhile, other designers took it a step further by joining forces with popular eateries, such as Alber Elbaz for Ladurée.

Now the latest designer to team up with a restaurant is Saudi contemporary womenswear designer Arwa Al-Banawi, who recently collaborated with fast food fried chicken joint, KFC.



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 The Jeddah-born creative teamed up with the popular fast food chain on an exclusive streetwear capsule collection that will boast gender-neutral pieces for famous fans of the label— that includes the likes of Jayden Smith and Elisa Sednaoui— to eat up.

Although the designer has kept the collaboration under wraps for now, fans can probably expect signature tailored suits with KFC-inspired prints or hoodies emblazoned with the emblematic Colonel Sanders portrait to satiate wardrobes throughout the season.

While the capsule collection will most likely not have the drive-through price tag, it’s bound to sell like hot cakes when it hits shelves soon.

The unexpected partnership is the latest in a string of collaborations for the contemporary Dubai Design District-based label. In the past, the womenswear designer has teamed up with Pepsi, Adidas Originals and Levi’s. 

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Thu, 27 Feb 2020 09:45:38 +0000


Meet Wafaa Debs, the ‘beauty gypsy’ breaking the rules
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Thu, 2020-02-27 09:40

NEW YORK: Social media has revolutionized the beauty industry: Take Huda Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics or even Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty — without Instagram they would probably not exist. It has also meant that many traditional players have had to be open to change.


One professional who has been able to adapt while staying true to her own beauty philosophy is New York-based mother of two Wafaa Debs — better known as “Beauty Gypsy.” Her account has well over 50,000 followers and though Debs (who is of Lebanese descent) is based in the US, many Arab women look to her for advice. 


Debs, a native of Texas, studied at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, and it was her love of fashion that ignited her passion for beauty. “I would do side work for extra money, dressing models backstage. I knew right away that I was more interested in watching make-up artist Kevyn Aucoin and hair stylist Oribe transform the models than I was in the clothes,” she tells Arab News.


Back home in Austin she opened her beauty concept store Beaux Visage — which closed in 2000 when Debs moved to Japan with her husband (closing the store was a “painful decision” she says). “But it was then that I discovered my success was due to my knowledge and the relationships I formed with my clients (rather than the store itself,” she says. She started a blog, which eventually evolved into an Instagram account. “I realized that women really wanted to hear what I had to say and the fact that I am here still doing it says it all,” Debs says. The name ‘Beauty Gypsy’ stems from the fact she loves to travel — “Beauty is never found in one place,” she explains. “It can be found anywhere and everywhere. She travels to the Middle East often (usually to Beirut or Dubai) and says her regional roots have been a guiding factor in her career.


“I appreciate how Lebanese women will wake up and wear makeup even if they are only going to the grocery store,” she says. “The effort is something I admire and relate to.”

One of the reasons for her loyal following, Debs believes, is her integrity. She is not all about sponsored posts, unlike many in her field. This means she can be very candid in her reviews.

“Women who follow me realize quickly I am not in this to make a quick sale or to kiss up to brands, and they admire and value that,” she says. She adds that she sticks to luxury brands, as she believes you get what you pay for. Japanese brands are very much her “go-to” — be it Decorte or Addiction. “I fell in love with Japanese products while I was living there for nine years,” she says. “It is very advanced and the quality is impressive. I saw how my skin improved with their skin care products and foundations. The shades, however, can be very limited and pose a challenge for non-Asians to match. I can see that they are trying to expand their range to cater to the Western market, but they still have a way to go.” 

Debs, 51, is not looking to appeal to Millennials either. “My audience is mature, educated and savvy. They want credibility, consistency and honesty and that is where I come in,” she says. “I hope that Middle Eastern women can progress and realize they do not need heavy makeup to look good.”


She says the secret behind her own glow is retinol (Vitamin A). “I have been using it religiously for over 30 years and it is the best anti-wrinkle, anti-ageing product I have ever used,” she says, adding that she has never injected any beauty product and does not like the fact that social media has glorified cosmetic surgery. “It makes me sad,” she says. “I believe that imperfections give you character. I hope that message eventually makes its way back to the young generation.”


Don’t be surprised if this Middle Eastern beauty follows Huda Kattan and Kylie Jenner by releasing her own product line soon. But you can rest assured that it will be based on her own unique and refreshing philosophy.

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Thu, 27 Feb 2020 06:51:20 +0000


Ivanka Trump shows off traditional Indian outfit by Delhi designer
Wed, 2020-02-26 16:10

DUBAI: Ivanka Trump joined her father on a visit to India this week and showed off a traditional Indian anarkali suit for a state dinner on Tuesday night.

The embroidered anarkali suit featured a bandhgala collar and was designed by New Delhi-based designer Rohit Bal.

The cream-colored look features floral embroidery in shades of red and green.

Bal is no stranger to dressing celebrities and has clothed Uma Thurman and Naomi Campbell in the past.

 Earlier on Tuesday, Trump wore a white silk jacket by Mumbai-based designer Anita Dongre.

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Wed, 26 Feb 2020 13:12:43 +0000


Arab world’s who’s who jet to Paris for Fashion Week
Wed, 2020-02-26 14:56

DUBAI: The final destination on the Fall 2020 fashion month trail is the French capital, where a number of regional it girls have been spotted this week.

Lebanese bloggers Karen Wazen and Nathalie Fanj are among the influencers currently taking Paris Fashion Week by storm. The fashion stars, who have amassed more than three million Instagram followers combined, were spotted sitting at Maria Grazia Chiuri’s star-studded front row for Dior’s Fall 2020 showcase. They were joined by the likes of Saudi film producer Mohammed Al-Turki, actresses Demi Moore and Nina Dobrev and model Cara Delevingne, among many others.




Saudi producer Mohammed Al-Turki and Karen Wazen attended the Dior show. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, modest influencer Leena Al-Ghouti was also among the guests at the 1970’s-inspired show.

The Lebanese It-girls made sure to document the show on social media, giving their followers on Instagram a glimpse into the luxury Parisian maison’s latest runway presentation.

After the show, Fanj took to Instagram to share a snap of herself dressed head-to-toe in the prestigious fashion house’s designs. “#PFW day 1 with Dior. Left this amazing show feeling inspired and empowered,” the mother-of-two wrote.

“Day 1 Dior day.  Love taking you guys with me on every journey,” shared Wazen, who also took to Instagram to upload a photo of her cutting-edge street style look.

Fanj and Wazen have a longstanding relationship with Dior. The influencers are front row fixtures at the Parisian maison’s fashion shows, with Wazen even doing an Instagram takeover for the brand when they presented their first couture show in Dubai in March 2019.

In January, the jetsetters joined Dior to celebrate the brand’s newest Capture Totale skincare range in California.

Fanj and Wazen aren’t the only regional stars to be spotted in the City of Lights, however.

Elsewhere, Dubai-based Iraqi bloggers Rania Fawaz and Dima Al-Sheikhly were pictured living it up in Paris. Al-Sheikhly announced her arrival in the French capital via a photograph of a pink Louis Vuitton bag, set against the backdrop of Parisian streets alongside the caption: “Hi Paris, I missed you.”

Meanwhile, noticeably missing from day one of the action was Lebanese-Australian model and humanitarian Jessica Kahawaty, who took to her Instagram Stories earlier this week to reveal that she was having second thoughts about attending Paris Fashion Week due to coronavirus concerns.

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Wed, 26 Feb 2020 12:02:24 +0000


Sophia the Robot set to sit front row at Modest Fashion Week
Tue, 2020-02-25 14:06

DUBAI: Designers, celebrities and bloggers from around the world are gearing up for the 2020 Modanisa Istanbul Modest Fashion Week (IMFW), an event aimed to tackle the stereotypes that surround modest dressing by celebrating and showcasing modern modest designers from around the world.

The third edition of the event, which was co-founded by Franka Soeria — founder of Alahijab.com fashion — and Turkish entrepreneur Özlem Şahin in collaboration with modest fashion brand Modanisa in 2016, is set to take place from April 2-5 in Istanbul’s Zorlu Center.

The fashion platform has invited modest influencers, retail vendors and tastemakers from across the world, including Jordan, Kuwait, the UAE, India and Singapore, to partake in this year’s event. Among the special guests is Saudi Arabia’s “global citizen” Sophia the Robot, who will be positioned front row for the runways of Turkey’s avant-garde couturier Özlem Süer, Jordan’s Zeina Ali and fashion blogger-turned-designer Roza Jo, among others.

Additionally, the robot will also participate as a speaker on a panel that explores the growing relationship between fashion and technology.

“Ever since Saudi Arabia first introduced Sophia the Robot to the world, she has become a global sensation. She is synonymous with the future, which is a major theme at this year’s Modanisa Istanbul Modest Fashion Week,” shares event director Havva Kahraman with Arab News. “We are super excited that Sophia will be attending. She will be in the front row taking in the latest modest trends,” she added.

It won’t be the first time the AI creation from Hanson Robotics attends a fashion week. In 2018, Sophia was spotted at Alexander Wang’s Fall 2019 show in New York, wearing Wang’s boxy blazer style, with metal safety pins forming hearts on both of her sleeves, next to artists Teyana Taylor and 21 Savage.

Meanwhile, Sophia isn’t the only star attendees of IMFW can look forward to spotting on and off the runways. Other highlights include hijab-wearing model of Algerian descent Feriel Moulai, who is set to grace the catwalk in Istanbul.




Hijab-wearing model of Algerian descent Feriel Moulai is set to grace the catwalk in Istanbul. (Supplied)

Over the last few years, the fashion industry seems to have tuned into the often-underrepresented demographic that comprises Muslim women and others for whom dressing conservatively is a personal or cultural choice. With the rise of hijab-wearing models such as Halima Aden or Ugbad Abdi, major brands are also keen to be part of the modest fashion movement, which is estimated as one of the fastest growing markets.

Nike has released a Nike Pro hijab, while Burberry tapped hijab-wearing model Ikram Abdi Omar as part of their festive campaign in 2019. Noticing an untapped market, major labels have finally started to advertise and reach out to Muslim women and others who prefer to dress in a more modest manner.

IMFW was first held in May 2016. Since then, the platform has travelled to multiple international destinations including London, Dubai and Jakarta.

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Tue, 25 Feb 2020 11:11:09 +0000