Interview by –Tara Ellis
You have a particular aesthetic to your social media and blog, what inspires you?
I am extremely inspired by the ‘old school’ 90s looks as well as street, skate and urban looks. I do get some of my style from my mother, who has an amazing sense of fashion. The youth is another inspiration of mine, as I am part of it.
I just turned 17, and this is only the beginning of an amazing journey ahead. What drives me is seeing other young people doing what they love, pushing and helping on another to succeed.
Living in the UAE, do you find anything that restricts what you like to share on your blog?
In all honesty, nothing restricts me. What I publish is not a tad bit revealing or explicit, and I am going to keep it this way. I don’t see anything on State of Style that could upset anybody, apart from my mother, who hates my gold teeth!
In the generation of ‘Influencers’ do find yourself being influenced or inspired by other bloggers? If so who?
I am highly, highly influenced by bloggers/influencers who mainly look at streetwear brands, and the ones who like to break the rules and are creative with what they do.
Aleali May, an image consultant, model, and fashion blogger, is one of my favourite bloggers to look at right now. She gives me so much inspiration in how her blog is laid out and the content she provides. I feel like we relate a lot.
Margaret Zhang is another fashion blogger that I adore, as she is also a writer and a stylist. Her work is always spot on, and it never fails to impress me. Amanda Shadford, Zanita, and Chiara Ferragni also remain some of my favourites.
What are your favorite labels at the moment?
Oh, where do I start. I am not much of the girly-girl type, and I think you guys may have noticed that! My love for sportswear will never die. My favourite brand in whole world is Adidas Originals. I believe that a good 75% of my closet is Adidas Originals!
Its energy will never die out, and I will be by their side for many years to come. I also love Champion and Fila. Ralph Lauren, Comme des Garcons, F**king Awesome, Supreme and my family, Amongst Few, of course. Not to forget the iconic brands, Gucci, Celine and Vuitton; that I adore with all my heart.
What content do you find particularly interesting with other blogs you follow?
I just love gaining fashion inspirations from the blogs I follow. I love finding new styles. I also love people who are genuinely open with their opinions and thoughts about everything; from clothes, to trends, politics, and world problems.
So we’ve noticed you have quite a cool and creative group of friends around you, how did you all meet and do you work together on projects?
Well, we did follow one another on Instagram (what a surprise!) until meeting within the XDUBAI skatepark down at Kite Beach. This place is really where I met everyone, and we instantly clicked.
From fashion, photography, and music, we all matched perfectly. It’s always fun to watch them skate too!
We do work on some projects together, mainly for my blog, as many of my friends are actually photographers, therefore we work together in creating some sick blogposts that we can later on edit and curate.
What’s an average weekend for you?
One thing about me, I really hate doing nothing. So, I often love to go out and have fun with my friends as well as with my family. My weekends are always crazy; from chilling in Deira & Satwa, to partying on the Palm with my close friends. Thanks to the amazing support and attention I have been getting from my blog, I also get invited to crazy events. I also love shooting with my sister and friends, only to build my blog and make better content everyday. I love discovering new hidden locations! I’m never bored.
Are there any up and coming local designers that you have your eye on?
I really like Hussein Bazaza and Lama Jouni. Right after Fashion Forward SS17. I immediately had an eye on them two, I feel they really stood out and brought something different to the U.A.E’s fashion platform.
Your personal brand seems to be in the spotlight at the moment, and we have just seen you feature in the latest Amongst Few x The Hundreds campaign. What do the next 5 years hold for you and have you set yourself any goals?
That campaign was INSANE. I think it was one of the best things I have ever taken part in. It was really crazy. In the next 5 years, I’m really keen in continuing what I love: expressing my love for through clothes and fashion, all through my blog and the photographs I take. My blog is really all about stating your name as well as inspiring others. My future does not look only good, but insanely good.
Are there any particular do’s and don’ts for you personally when you blog?
I think its important that you stay true to who you really are inside. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s the truth. Staying true to your personality and your interests is what makes your website special and successful. But be open to new things. Learn. Grow. See what works, what doesn’t. A blog should also reflect the person that is behind it; it should allow your viewers/followers to have a small insight of your life, without exposing too much of it. This leads on to the don’ts of blogging. Have a private life of your own; you don’t have show everything! But most importantly, have fun with what you do. What’s the point in doing something 24/7, but not enjoying any second of it? I’ll pass.
How important is Instagram to you and the success of your blog, State of Style?
My blog really means everything to me. I was going through a stage in my life where I really wasn’t myself, and I had lost the will to pretty much do anything, mainly due to my parents separating. It was a hard time, but my blog and the people around helped me get through. I really got lost in blogging and fashion photography, just fascinated by it. I started looking up for inspiration, and found some amazing blogs which provided me with tons of encouragement in actually starting my own thing.
What does ‘State of Style’ stand for?
Stating your style. Stating your name. That’s what it really is. I have so much freedom with my blog, and I allowed it to become a whole new world for me. I have allowed my blog in becoming a so-called ‘platform’, permitting young people to admire my work, letting them know that expressing yourself is such an important thing to do. My blog has a message: proving to people what the younger generation is capable of doing. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s all about the willingness and passion that holds within you.
What do you think makes you stand out and sets you apart from other fashion bloggers here in the UAE?
I have so much respect for the bloggers out here. However, some of the content seems to be a little too repetitive for my taste.
What is currently on your music playlist?
Travis Scott, Travis Scott and a little bit of Travis Scott! I love him. Drake, Bryson Tiller, Rihanna, and PARTYNEXTDOOR are also included. I also like to kick back to some old school such as The Fugees, as well as Craig David and even TLC. Not forgetting Micheal and Whitney. My go to artists.
Where are your favorite weekend hangouts in Dubai?
Dubai is one of the most amazing cities ever. Coming from nothing: fishing and pearl diving, to growing business deals and skyscrapers, it’s a pretty big deal. However, I feel like the cultural and heritage side of Dubai is being shut out and ignored. Places like Satwa, Deira, and Bur Dubai are really the heart of Dubai, and where everything started. These places have the real Dubai feel, no sports cars, no skyscrapers nor ‘the biggest in the world’ phrase.
You were only 16 when you started State of Style, what inspired you to create it?
I was actually 14 when I started! I was really confused in what I wanted to do and what really inspired me. I knew I had an eye for clothes, and a deep love for it.
To be honest, my mum pushed me to do all this in the first place. I just plainly wanted to express my love for what I call fashion and wanted to show people what I am capable to do, even at this age.
Which three designers do you love most at the moment?
Alessandro Michele, who is the Creative Director for Gucci, had really metamorphosed the brand itself. He certainly pushed many boundaries, and created something really special with Gucci. Alexander Wang, remains one of my all time favourites, due to his “off-duty model” aesthetic he delivers in every collection. Lastly, Nicolas Ghesquière, the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton. He’s insane.
Can you share with us the best wardrobe investment you’ve made?
This oversized frayed denim hoodie from Marques Almeida. Their stuff are crazy. I purchased it in Boutique 1, and I thought it was the best thing ever. I still do.
Between blogging, school and study, what does a typical day look like for you? My typical weekday would be school for a few hours, then getting home, working on some schoolwork or either on my blog. I always have meetings too. Weekend days consist of chilling with family, friends, a few meetings and shoots.
What do you find unique in the fashion scene in Dubai, and how is your blog influenced by the culture here?
Dubai’s fashion scene has emerged, and it is rapidly blooming, but no yet blossomed. What is unique about Dubai’s fashion is that it ranges.
What advice do you have to offer for aspiring fashion bloggers?
Do express yourself. My blog motto is that ‘I see fashion as a way of living, expressing yourself without having to speak up’ and this is really what I live by. I believe that somebody’s style can say a lot about their personality and what they believe in. That’s what I love: the power of fashion. Don’t give up. You see, I had a deep love for fashion, and I wanted to express it. Therefore, I did my job to put it out there. But I did not sit back and wait for things to happen magically. I worked hard to get where I am, and I’m still working on getting to the top. Have passion and ambition in what you do, because that’s all you need as a good start, in order to make it work.