CAROLINE ISSA

Caroline Issa grew up in Montreal, Canada and left to do her undergraduate business management degree at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Starting her career as a strategic management consultant in San Francisco for clients such as Nordstrom and Dr. Pepper/7Up, she later lived in Singapore and ultimately London, working for clients such as Standard Chartered bank and Boots. Caroline made the leap into the world of magazine publishing upon meeting the Tank Magazine co-founders and debuted in the world of fashion in 2002. Since then, she still publishes Tank Magazine. She also launched a digital online magazine www.becauselondon.com seven years ago, and she continues to create ad campaigns, digital content strategy and brand strategy work with her creative agency Tank Form team.

She has been named twice to Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List, has been on BoF's Most Influential list since its inauguration, has styled the Tod’s runway fashion shows and campaigns, created a namesake label and eight collections for retail partner Nordstrom and designed a sell-out shoe collection for British contemporary brand LK Bennett. She acts as a style consultant and content creator for luxury and retail brands.

CAROLINE ISSA

FASHION DIRECTOR AT TANK MAGAZINE

Caroline Issa grew up in Montreal, Canada and left to do her undergraduate business management degree at the Wharton School,…

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DESIREE BOLLIER

Desirée Bollier, Chair of Value Retail Management and Chief Merchant of Value Retail’s global business (The Bicester Village Shopping Collection), is a driving force behind placing premium shopping tourism firmly on the global stage. Her retail career started in the United States with various management roles culminating as Senior Vice President of Retail at Polo Ralph Lauren for Europe and the Gulf, before joining Value Retail in 2001. Her leadership has seen Value Retail’s unique “retailers serving retailers” business model continue to generate consistent double-digit growth in gross sales each year, achieved since the opening of its first project, Bicester Village, in 1995.

Desirée is on the Executive Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council and will soon undertake the role of regional Vice Chairman for the European Union and the United Kingdom. In addition, she is a member of the British Fashion Council Trust and sits on the Corporate Advisory Board of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Desirée holds a degree in Law from the Université Paris X-Faculté de Droit, graduating in 1980.

DESIREE BOLLIER

CHAIR OF VALUE RETAIL MANAGEMENT AND CHIEF MERCHANT

Desirée Bollier, Chair of Value Retail Management and Chief Merchant of Value Retail’s global business (The Bicester Village Shopping Collection),…

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GHIZLAN GUENEZ

Ghizlan Guenez is the Founder and CEO of The Modist, the first global luxury e-commerce destination, with offices in London and Dubai, where leading fashion brands are curated for women who want to dress fashionably yet modestly, across religions, backgrounds and ethnicities. The modest market is estimated at $260 billion and growing to reach $500 billion by 2019, and The Modist is first to address this market with a luxury proposition.

Originally from Algeria, Ghizlan lived most of her life in Dubai and the Middle East, and holds a first class BSC from the London School of Economics. With over 10 years of experience in Private Equity with The Abraaj Group, Ghizlan has cultivated in-depth knowledge in emerging markets and was responsible for brand development and partnership development in more than 30 countries. Her work in entrepreneurship, art and sustainability led to successful long-standing partnerships with the World Economic Forum, Art Dubai and Endeavor Global, to name a few.

GHIZLAN GUENEZ

FOUNDER AND CEO OF THE MODIST

Ghizlan Guenez is the Founder and CEO of The Modist, the first global luxury e-commerce destination, with offices in London…

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NADINE LABAKI

Nadine Labaki was born in Lebanon, and grew up during the years of civil war, obtaining a degree in Audiovisual Studies in 1997 from Beirut’s Saint Joseph University. After graduation, she immediately moved into directing television commercials and music videos for popular artists in the region, garnering several awards.

In 2005, Nadine participated in the Cannes Film Festival Residence to write Caramel, her first feature film set in Beirut.  She directed and took a lead role in the film, which premiered at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2007 and won the Youth Jury Award, as well as the Audience Award at San Sebastian Film Festival. Caramel was released theatrically in over 60 countries. In 2008, she received the Insignia of Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Ministry of Culture. Nadine’s second feature, Where Do We Go Now?, which she again wrote, directed and starred in, also premiered at Cannes in 2011 in the Un Certain Regard category, and won a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury. It went on to win the Cadillac People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Audience Award at San Sebastian Film Festival, before screening at Sundance in 2012. Where Do We Go Now? was nominated for Best Foreign Film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards and is Lebanon’s highest- grossing Arabic film to date.

Her third film feature, Capernaum, was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It went on to win the festival's Jury Prize. Capernaum was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2019, making Nadine Labaki the first female Arab director to be nominated for an Oscar.

NADINE LABAKI

DIRECTOR AND ACTRESS

Nadine Labaki was born in Lebanon, and grew up during the years of civil war, obtaining a degree in Audiovisual…

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NEZ GEBREEL

Nez Gebreel has had a deep and celebrated career in global brand development and management. She is the former Chief Executive Officer for the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC), an organization that aims to further the interests of Dubai’s fashion industry. As the founding CEO, Nez set the foundation for success through the establishment of Dubai Design Week, the launch of ground-breaking MENA Design Outlook and MENA Design Education Outlook reports. She was involved in local incubators, the DDFC/Vogue Arabia Fashion Prize and DDFC Talks, created to give designers the opportunity to share skills and provide or benefit from mentorships.

Prior to the Council, Nez spent seven years in charge of managing the strategic growth of David and Victoria Beckham’s individual and joint business and creative projects. During this time, Nez was instrumental in launching David Beckham’s Football Academy in London and Los Angeles, and managed all key brand collaborations including Motorola, Adidas, Pepsi, AEG and Gillette. She also helped develop Victoria Beckham’s wildly successful fashion projects, including the facilitation of multimillion dollar collaborations with Rock & Republic and Samantha Thavassa, as well as the building of the Victoria Beckham fashion brand.

Nez’s expertise is in the strategic development of global brands and commercially driven fashion, entertainment and media related business projects. She is highly creative, with experience in Intellectual Property concept creation and business strategy development, both in-house for established companies and start-up environments. She is based in London and Dubai.

NEZ GEBREEL

FORMER CEO OF DUBAI DESIGN AND FASHION COUNCIL

Nez Gebreel has had a deep and celebrated career in global brand development and management. She is the former Chief…

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NEZHA ALAOUI

Nezha Alaoui is an active entrepreneur and influencer currently based in New York with additional offices in Rabat, Morocco and Paris. She started her entrepreneurial life at the age of 24 and has demonstrated during the last 10 years a significant track-record. She is currently running five businesses including a franchise chain, luxury leather goods collection, consulting services and hospitality services (under the Mayshad trademark). She has also developed a foundation that empowers women and youth leadership.

NEZHA ALAOUI

PRESIDENT OF THE MAYSHAD FOUNDATION

Nezha Alaoui is an active entrepreneur and influencer currently based in New York with additional offices in Rabat, Morocco and Paris.…

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RABIH KAYROUZ

Rabih Kayrouz’s foray into fashion design started in 1991, when he began his studies at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Attracted by the booming energy of his home country, Lebanon, he returned to Beirut, establishing Maison Rabih Kayrouz in 1998, where for 10 years he created exquisite gowns for discerning women.
In 2009, Rabih returned to Paris where he set up his studio at 38 Boulevard Raspail, surrounding himself with the best French artisans in order to create his luxury ready-to-wear. In 2013, Rabih Kayrouz was nominated as Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. Today, Rabih develops his ready-to-wear and couture collections around the world.

RABIH KAYROUZ

FASHION DESIGNER AND STARCH FOUNDATION FOUNDER

Rabih Kayrouz’s foray into fashion design started in 1991, when he began his studies at the Chambre Syndicale de la…

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RACHAD TABIAT

Lebanese-born Rachad Tabiat is the owner of AlOthman, Kuwait’s first multi-brand high-end boutique. The store, founded by his father in 1956, was one of the first to bring European brands to the Middle East. Today, AlOthman offers both luxury designer brands and contemporary fashion labels, in addition to being instrumental in nurturing emerging talent by giving local designers a space to present and promote their pieces.

Alongside the 50,000-square-foot flagship boutique in the heart of Kuwait’s busiest shopping districts, AlOthman opened a second outpost in Bahrain’s Moda Mall in 2007. In 2013, Rachad set his sights on London with the introduction of On Motcomb, a multi-brand boutique devoted to Red Carpet attire. Over the last two years, he has also delved into e-commerce with the launch of the56.com – an online platform for evening wear – and TheVault56.com, an online outlet for designer gowns.

RACHAD TABIAT

OWNER OF ALOTHMAN

Lebanese-born Rachad Tabiat is the owner of AlOthman, Kuwait’s first multi-brand high-end boutique. The store, founded by his father in…

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REEM ACRA

Reem Acra is a renowned international designer known for her breathtaking collections in ready-to-wear and bridal. She combines tradition with a modern aesthetic and leads the way by continuously redefining the boundaries of fashion.

She launched her eponymous line Reem Acra New York in 1997, and, after successfully establishing herself in the bridal market, expanded into ready-to-wear in 2008.

Of Lebanese heritage, Acra graduated from the American University of Beirut with a business degree. She went on to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York and the École supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (ESMOD) in Paris.

Celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Kate Hudson have worn her intricate designs to red carpet events such as the Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes.

Some of her notable accolades include being named the Seventh Most Powerful Arab Woman in the World by Forbes Magazine, which includes the likes of Amal Clooney, Nemat Shafik and Zaha Hadid. She has also been the recipient of the Building Bridges Award from the Bridges of Understanding foundation, a non-profit organization which seeks to improve relations between the Middle East and the United States.

Acra is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and serves on the Board of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council since its inception. Recently, in a bid to inspire young Arab women and aspiring designers and broaden her reach to this target group, Acra has co-created and starred on the hugely successful Middle Eastern reality TV show, Fashion Star, where she serves as the lead judge and mentor to 12 aspiring up-and-coming designers.

REEM ACRA

FASHION DESIGNER

Reem Acra is a renowned international designer known for her breathtaking collections in ready-to-wear and bridal. She combines tradition with…

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ROGER MOUKARZEL

Globally recognized photographer Roger Moukarzel has been working in the world of image since age 15.  In the early 1980s, he started as a war photographer for Sygma and Reuters, and had his work published in a variety of newspapers and magazines worldwide, namely the Washington Post and Newsweek. He also held the cover of Paris Match for its 40th anniversary issue. Initially, it was his homeland, a war-torn Beirut and the surrounding Middle East region, that provided his subjects, capturing the impact of conflict and its harsh reality, which he did with integrity and emotional poignancy.

A man of many visions, experiences and lives, he moved to Paris in the early 1990s, and his career expanded and progressed into the worlds of fashion and advertising, documentary-making and artistic photography. The prevailing messages of acceptance, tolerance, preservation, respect, freedom and diversity have been the common thread found throughout Roger’s work.

His passion for heritage and roots led him to travel across the world exploring, celebrating and embracing a diversity of cultures through the power of the picture. What started out as personal journeys and studies became international exhibitions, books and creations in Europe, Asia and throughout the Arab world. Roger Moukarzel’s production house, Minime, has become one of the most trusted and respected in the Middle East.

Be it through film, photography or art direction, Roger Mourkarzel could be best described as a veteran in storytelling through pictures and multimedia.

ROGER MOUKARZEL

PHOTOGRAPHER

Globally recognized photographer Roger Moukarzel has been working in the world of image since age 15.  In the early 1980s,…

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SAIF MAHDHI

Saif Mahdhi was born in Paris and is of Tunisian descent. He is a renowned model and talent agent who’s served as the president for Next Model Management Europe. He’s worked with a long list of celebrities that include models as well as musicians, actors and other visible figures. He worked his way up through various agencies such as the Marilyn Agency and Viva Model Management before finally settling at Next. When it comes to fashion, he is completely self-taught, having educated himself through books, magazines and experience during the early days of his career.

SAIF MAHDHI

TALENT AGENT AND FOUNDER OF SAFE MANAGEMENT

Saif Mahdhi was born in Paris and is of Tunisian descent. He is a renowned model and talent agent who’s…

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SHEIKHA RAYA AL KHALIFA

Sheikha Raya Al-Khalifa founded Wajood Consultancy in Doha, Qatar. One of her consultancy's main goals is to preserve cultural identity while harnessing social and knowledge capital from a globalized platform, to deliver concepts in various fields of interest from fashion, art and social development. She creates lasting and mutually beneficial exchanges for long-term growth.

SHEIKHA RAYA AL KHALIFA

FOUNDER OF WAJOOD CONSULTANCY - DOHA

Sheikha Raya Al-Khalifa founded Wajood Consultancy in Doha, Qatar. One of her consultancy's main goals is to preserve cultural identity while harnessing social and knowledge…

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SUSAN SABET

Susan Sabet launched Pashion, the quarterly, bi-lingual (Arabic and English), fashion, beauty and luxury magazine in 2003, with pan-Arab distribution in nine countries. In May 2016, Susan launched Pashion Vienna, the first and only Arabic fashion and luxury magazine in Austria.

For eight years in a row, Pashion was the only Arab magazine appointed as media partner at the annual  New York Times Luxury Conference. Other media partnerships include the bi-annual Fashion Forward Dubai, on whose advisory board Susan was appointed in 2018.

Under the magazine’s umbrella, Susan first created Luxury for a Cause in 2008 and then in 2011 she laucned Cairo Fashion Nights, an annual event that promotes Egyptian designers locally. She further organized events internationally to promote young Egyptian designers.

In 2008, Susan was appointed a judge for the Swiss Textile Award, and in 2014 she was chosen as one of the top 500 most influential people in the fashion industry by Business Of Fashion, a position she held for four years in a row. She was also appointed project organizer and curator for the Egyptian showcase at the IFS at London Fashion Week, in February 2016, 2017 and 2019.

In November 2017, she was one of five founders of the Egyptian Fashion & Design Council (EFDC), which operates under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Trade & Industry, the Egyptian Ministry of Investment, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Ministry of Planning.

Susan also has a background in children’s ready-to-wear manufacturing and retail, with experience in marketing as account director at the Cairo office at TMI International for many years, and as a freelance fashion editor at an Egyptian lifestyle magazine.

Born and raised in Vienna, Susan holds the Austrian and Egyptian nationalities and speaks German, English, Arabic and French.

SUSAN SABET

FOUNDER OF PASHION

Susan Sabet launched Pashion, the quarterly, bi-lingual (Arabic and English), fashion, beauty and luxury magazine in 2003, with pan-Arab distribution…

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WISSAM AL MANA

Wissam Al Mana is a board member and the Managing Director of S.H. Al Mana Group of Companies, one of the most diversified groups in the Middle East, operating in eight countries.

The group’s activities include automotive distribution and services, real estate and investments, retail, food and beverage, engineering, technology, media and entertainment. Operating over 300 outlets, Al Mana represents some of the largest and most successful brands in the world, covering most areas of retail including luxury goods, beauty, fashion, home interiors, watches and jewelry.

Wissam Al Mana is a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, DC.

WISSAM AL MANA

BOARD MEMBER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF S.H. AL MANA GROUP OF COMPANIES

Wissam Al Mana is a board member and the Managing Director of S.H. Al Mana Group of Companies, one of…

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