Luiza Ave, from Russia with love, answers questions about the Arab fashion industry as a new segment in the Russian platform of high level fashion.
Luiza please tell us how you became involved with the Arab fashion industry as a fashion producer.
First of all, I thank you for your interest in me and my work. I’ll start from the beginning. I am passionate about fashion. My development in the fashion industry began in 2016. However, the fashion industry and design is not something new for me. My grandmother in the 60s was the leading designer of clothes in Yerevan (Armenia) and had her own Fashion House, and my mother is now a famous and popular designer/decorator in Moscow. So we can say that the fashion in my family is inherited. Since my childhood I was a spoiled fashion girl, dressing only in brands of foreign manufacturers; many brands were bought by my grandmother from the countries of the Middle East and Europe.
My entry into the Arab fashion market began in 2016 in Dubai. I accompanied brands from Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) to participate in various fashion shows and exhibitions in Dubai, Beirut and this year in Riyadh, and also to open their own showrooms in the Middle East. Thanks to my company, more than eight brands have been successfully brought to the market of the Middle East.
Why is Arab fashion your passion and not western fashion?
The east is a delicate matter, as they say in Russia. As for the western world fashion sites, whether it be Paris, London, New York or Milan, naturally it is a city of fashion-makers. However, for the last five-seven years we have observed many high-profile names among Arab designers like Zuhair Murad, George Habake, Eli Saab and Tony Ward, who have conquered the world’s catwalks and are dressing stars on the red carpets of film festivals. In this case, I believe that the cities of the Middle East are already able to compete with global fashion sites in terms of the level and quality of Arab brands. However, in the organization of the shows themselves, there is something to work on. In general, I really love the Abaya, I have five of them from different Arab brands and I dress in them with pleasure, regardless of whether I’m in an Arab country, in Europe or in Russia.
When and where did you start your career?
Before the start of serious activity in the international fashion segment, for about eight years I worked as a lead producer of popular television programs on federal TV channels in Russia and I was the founder of many talk shows, game shows and documentaries. Producing is given to me easily! In Zurich in 2016, there was a fateful meeting with the Swiss investor and owner of the Arab Fashion Council company, Mr. Antonio Rubel. Knowing my experience and professional skills and taking into account my recommendations for the opening of the Middle East market for Russian brands, he offered to lead the position of director of AFC (Arab Fashion Council) in Russia and the CIS countries. At the beginning, it was very difficult for me, as it was necessary to master a new segment of the market with professional points of view. However, I adjusted quickly and at the moment I am the founder and CEO of Meroving Production LLC, where my company works in two directions. This is shooting professional turn-key products from ideas to launch (advertising, video clips, movies, television sales and professional blogging, plus movies, television titles and professional YouTube blogs and photos) and international fashion producing. In international fashion production, my company co-operates with more than fifteen world fashion sites (including Dubai, Riyadh, Beijing, Kazakhstan, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Miami, New York , London, Paris, Beirut, Cyprus, Moscow) for the participation of designers in fashion shows, exhibitions, show-rooms, PR support, plus work with buyers and celebrities in local markets. Also we work closely with the Russian state sector and the government in Moscow on the development of the Russian fashion industry and we support foreign brands in entering the Russian market.
With your experience of working with Arab designers, who is your favourite designer?
Amato Couture. I just adore him, he’s a genius! Also, Michael Cinco, Zuhair Murad, Jordan Hobeyka, Aiish Ramadan (a clever beauty), Jamal Taslaq (creating sophisticated and articulate collections) and Hiba Farash (a young and stylish designer from Riyadh who gave me a very beautiful Abaya).
Where is the nearest fashion event where we have the chance to see you?
11th- 13th October in Moscow in the Petrovsky Palace, the summer residence of the past Russian Emperors. With the support of the government of Moscow, it will be the first fashion show with designers from the Middle East – historical in its significance. The event is the Al Arabia Fashion Days and with pleasure I invite CP Magazine to become a participant of this truly grandiose fashion event for Russia. I am very proud to finally be able to implement the project, of which I have dreamed for the last three years. I am also pleased to invite your readers, Arab designers and Arab companies producing goods and services, to become our project partners and to discover the Russian market. All information about the project and the terms of participation can be found on the website, alarabiafashion.com, as well as on official accounts on facebook and instagram @alarabiafashiondays.
I would very much like to see brands in the shopping centers of Moscow; Arab manufacturers of clothing and accessories, Arabian perfumery, jewelry brands, chocolate products and much more. This is sadly lacking in the Russian market. More than five million Muslims live in Moscow so there is high demand but very little quality supplies from Arab manufacturers.
I myself have been using Arabic perfumes and oils for the last 7 years but unfortunately, high quality Arab perfumery can be bought only in the Middle East and very rarely in Europe.
It’s very trendy to have your own YouTube Channel. What about you? Where can we follow you?
I have a YouTube channel called Show Producers. You can see how international projects are organized from within, through the eyes of an international fashion producer. This is a new format for YouTube which I am leading. We try to show the behind-the-scenes life of fashion shows. The first blog will be about the fashion weeks recently held in Riyadh. In this project there is material that we were forbidden to shoot locally, but we will show in this forum. So if you like to spy and want to learn about fashion from the inside, go to YouTube and look for Show Producers!
Do you think there can be friends in the fashion business?
If you create high quality content about fashion, then you can become a good platform for PR and promoting your own brand. You know, showing how to apply makeup is so boring. We need new ideas. Fashion is the creative first!
How do you combine your private life with your work?
I have travelled a lot in the last five years. Sometimes I manage only to change my bags. I have friends in different corners of the world, but even with my Moscow friends, unfortunately we rarely see each other. My job takes a large part of my time. However, what I do gives me great pleasure. Over the past year, I began to think about creating a family and marriage, and I realized that I am ready to become a wife and mother. For me, it is important to marry for love and therefore it is one of the most important decisions in life. I believe in God and that marriages are first made in heaven and that life is influenced by accidental and magical images. These souls are already on earth, regardless of their nationalities, culture or race. Take the marriage of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, for example.
In 2019 I am considering moving to Dubai or Riyadh because I want to live in a constant summer, near the sea and maybe open a branch of my company in the Middle East! Each of these cities is very sympathetic to me and important in its own way. In Riyadh, I fell in love with people; such benevolent, intelligent, sympathetic and pure with their soul. In Dubai, I like the atmosphere of the city as a whole; its energy, speed and capabilities.
We know that this year you visited Saudi Arabia for the first time. Tell us how you feel about the Saudi fashion industry?
I remember my first acquaintance with the Saudi design. It happened in Istanbul about eight years ago at on official event. In front of me sat a very beautiful Arab woman and she was dressed and embroidered in stones and sequins. After we met and talked about it, she told me told that the dress was made by a Saudi designer from Jeddah. Saudi designers are very creative and sensitive to a woman’s needs. In the fashion segment, they have a great chance to conquer the world podiums and I sincerely hope they do. The only thing that the Saudi fashion market needs is quality and an organized fashion platform for fashion shows with local designers. The Saudi designers need an official fashion venue in Riyadh to show their talent to the world and I very much hope that soon the laws of the country will allow it to be done. I could talk about Riyadh for hours! I will say that I’m in love with this city and its people.
What is your favourite fashion destination in the Middle East?
I really like the restaurant, Billionaire Mansion. Also, the bar atmosphere in Burj Khalifa. I like to go to Nikki Beach; and do not hurry to smoke a hookah in Jumeirah Al Nasim!
I choose locations depending on my mood, but my special passion is the restaurants with a panoramic view on the top floors of buildings, where the city seems to be in the palm of your hand.