My 2021 Fashion Predictions

Stepping out in 2021 lookin’ like…

If 2021 is anything like 2020, it will be unpredictable! Nevertheless, I thought it would be super fun to make some future fashion predictions based off of my observations within the fashion industry. This year, I have many predictions for what is to come. Comfort will prevail, but in more sophisticated and put-together way. Mesh and velvet will be worn in unconventional ways. Unique puffers will continue to compete as a statement piece with the sneaker. Retro will be all the rage, with throwbacks from the 1960s and 70s, while keyhole cut outs will contend with bare all outfits. If my predictions are right, we are in for one fashionable year.

White Cowboy and Gogo Boots

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The black over the knee boot taking a backseat as white cowboy and gogo boot styles take center stage this year. This boot is a new versatile and stylish alternative to some of the styles we saw in 2020, adding a pop to any mini dress or fringe skirt moment. Already making its way into influencer’s wardrobes, these two styles of boot are on the cusp of hitting every department store shelf and e-commerce virtual shopping bag. Get them while they are hot, which, honestly, might be for a while. I think these styles are here to stay!

Statement Jackets

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Although it would be hard to stamp out the frenzied nature of sneaker buying and selling, I spy statement jackets catching on the trend of limited releases and exclusive collaborations just the same. We can thank Moncler’s Genius Collection for this shift in attitude, where the company invites individual artists to collaborate with the brand to create innovative and dynamic designs. These fun coats help us to stand out and stay warm. It’s a win-win if you ask me. 

Bell Bottoms

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I would agree, this style is a far cry from the skinny jeans that were popular not too long ago. Yet, as looser fitting clothes have become more commonplace, it’s about time our pants got similar treatment. What is attractive about this cut it that they accentuate the hips and butt, while providing a lengthening effect on the legs. I see these 70s staples as a returning popular cut, just you wait!

Hippie Halter Tops

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Just as 70s flare bell bottoms are preparing for a rerun, so are these hippie halter tops. Coming in a variety of different styles, colors, and textures, I predict that this flattering top will be the latest trending showstopper. Paired with a high waisted jean, this top exudes the hippie, laidback spirit that is making a comeback in our culture. 

Velvet

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The original sweat suit material will now be integrating itself into tops, bottoms, jackets, and so much more. A luxurious fabric that is the epitome of comfort, velvet will be incorporated into more clothes as we seek to be comfortable on dinner dates or even at parties and events. A fabric that is rich in color and can be either dressed up or down, it’s the perfect option when stiff taffeta no longer seems attractive to squeeze into.  

Hair Bandanas

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They have been used as tops, bag adornments, and coverups, it was just a matter of time before they made it onto our heads. This cute look is coming in full force in 2021, an easy way to elevate any outfit. A head bandana also serves as a perfect head covering for all of the beach days in our future. Whether you have short hair, long hair, or no hair, this is such a fun look that I cannot wait to see more of this year. 

Mesh tops 

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Although these mesh tops have already been making their rounds, I think that they will start becoming more mainstream this year. Sexy, yet subtle, these tops showcase trippy patterns that make a statement with a simple pair of black jeans and some matching booties. They come in almost any color. You just have to pick one!

Fine knit dresses with tights

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It’s my bet that this 60s inspired look is going to be everywhere this year. Everyone has a go to tiny dress in their closet and an investment in a $5 pair of candy colored tights will elevate any look to a fun and flirty one. With retro being all the rage, this showstopper is just waiting to make an appearance. My guess? Right around Spring time.   

Keyholes

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The past few years, we have seen our fair share of skin. Take one scroll through Instagram and you’ll find mini skirts, high slits, and deep V necklines. This year, I foresee a bit more modesty being incorporated in the form of tasteful keyholes, that still offer a sexy look, but one that leaves a little more to the imagination. Until you find a key at least. 

Elevated Loungewear Outside 

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We have been wearing our loungewear every minute of every day in 2020, so naturally, because we have accumulated so much of it, it’s going to make its way outside. To avoid all of those shady side eyes, I see us elevating our looks to compete with true outerwear. White sneakers, expensive sunglasses, camel coats, and designer bags will be accompanying our silk pajamas and cotton sweater. Mark my words!

CEO Sit Down: Bert Cumming on Mijimask

Inspiring individuality and identity, while covering up and keeping safe.

Masks have been on everyone’s mind since the beginning of the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has become an increasing concern for people across the globe. The Center for Disease Control has advised mask usage in helping decrease the spread of COVID-19, as masks provide a barrier to prevent respiratory droplets from being transferred from person to person. For many Americans, mask usage is a new concept that makes expressing who we are difficult, because of the area of the face masks cover. Realizing this, Bert Cumming started a business during the past year that focuses on helping children show their personality and individuality with Mijimask.

Screen Shot 2020-12-15 at 6.08.24 PMBert! Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I am a junior, and recent transfer, at Babson College.  I am concentrating in finance and entrepreneurship with hopes to one day take one of my companies public on the stock exchange.  I consider myself an innovator and a doer, what I mean by that is that I love to create solutions to all sorts of problems and my motivation drives me to attack these ideas.  

Some hobbies include Jet Skiing over the summer, snowmobiling over the winter and day trading in between.

What is Mijimask and what was the inspiration behind the business?

Screen Shot 2020-12-15 at 6.23.55 PMMijimask is a customizable face mask designed for children of all ages. Our mission is to provide children the opportunity to “own the pandemic” by wearing a mask that represents who they are. It provides children the ability to customize their own masks thereby providing them a unique mask and gaining confidence. Mijimask allows kids (recommended ages 5+) to customize their masks with attachable and detachable Mijis making them unique to their personalities.  

My inspiration behind the business is to prevent kids from losing their individuality by covering their faces every day.  At young ages, children are susceptible to every little thing they are exposed too, and I do not want their creativity to be effected in the future years because of the pandemic that is happening at this pivotal time in their lives.

What excites you about the business and the business’ mission?

Screen Shot 2020-12-15 at 6.24.03 PMWhat excites me the most about this business is the direct correlation that comes from COVID-19.  In today’s marketplace supply chains are affected across the globe affecting businesses, and if I can learn to navigate the supply/product market in the hardest time in history, I will be more than capable of navigating the market when COVID-19 does not exist.  

My mission is exciting because I am working towards protecting the creativity of young minds, and this is important to me because I consider my creativity and innovative abilities to be some of the most important traits I have.

What makes Mijimask different from other masks on the market?

Mjimask is different from other masks because it promotes the personality and customization of face masks. Other masks in the market are extremely generic and mass produced with printed designs on them, limiting the rarity of the mask itself. Mijimask makes it nearly impossible to have the exact same mask as anyone else, promoting creativity when designing the mask.

What has been the most challenging aspect of starting and operating the business?

Screen Shot 2020-12-15 at 6.24.19 PMMarketing has been the most challenging aspect of operating my business.  This is due to the sole reason that I do not know how advertising and marketing work, and I have to spend a majority of my time studying and learning instead of actually doing something since it is costly.  I had previously underestimated marketing as a whole, and now have much more respect for that industry.

What has been the most rewarding moment of starting and operating Mijimask?

The most rewarding moment of starting Mijimask, MaskMate L.L.C. is demonstrated in the picture of the two girls below.  When I received this picture of the kids choosing their mijis to put on their mask, I knew what I was doing was for the right cause and my mission was chosen correctly. 

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are starting or would like to start a business during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Do it. Do not let COVID-19 delay your plans to start a business or intimidate you into not starting your business at all.  We do not know how long this will last and the longer you wait, the less passion you will have for your idea in the future and less of a chance to be successful.  Start your business not matter the environment around you, and learn as you go–like I am currently doing with marketing. 

What about the future excites you?

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I am excited for these vaccines to be released, and for things to go back to normal as soon as possible.  People keep saying, “our new normal”, but I do not want to accept a world wear wearing a face mask and doing work and school online is considered our “normal”.  The way we are currently living is a false reality and we need to do everything possible to return to the world we used to live in, where it was normal to gather in groups for holidays and no one needs to feel scared when a simple cough is let out. Mijimask is made to make these times easier, but it is not made to make these times acceptable forever. We need to wear our masks while we are told to prevent the spread, but we also need to accept the time when it comes to abandon these masks and return to our normal way of life, and I am excited for that day to come. 


Contact Mijimask

Website 

Instagram

3 Friends Picking their Top Gifts Under $100 (Part II)

Because… everyone needs a bit of gift inspo.

There are many joys during the holidays, one of the biggest joys for me is gift giving. I think one of the reasons that I am so passionate about giving gifts is hunting for that personal item, one that couldn’t be mistaken as being a gift for someone else. Anyone can pick out a pair of socks or a black turtleneck for someone and pass if off as making an effort, but those are items that everyone can benefit from. My happiness rests in finding those niche items, whether it be a candle with a signature scent, a set of chocolate truffles in their favorite flavor, or a cozy knitted blanket. It’s the small things in life that bring joy. That I am sure of.

Pamela Mukiza

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The Gift 

Dieux Forever Eye Mask, $25

These eye masks are reusable and affordable. They hold gels, serums and creams close to the skin for maximum absorption. You can also store them in the freezer for a cooling affect!

Kenny Sullivan

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The Gift 

Smartphone UV Sanitizer, $79.95

So I got this for every member of my family this year — I’m talking every one of them. I read an article that phones carry such horrible germs that to top 2020 off, I need to make sure my third hand (my phone) is not going to kill me. I put my phone in this bad boy every night and comes out nice and clean — even smells like all the cells have been slaughtered in my sleep. The best part – it keeps me off my phone when im in bed! So I’m
Sleeping better. Who knew?!

Jahnvi Garg

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The Gift 

Alleyoop Beauty Starter Kit $68 or Must-Haves Set $66

It’s like giving someone fool-proof makeup and convenience wrapped in a Christmas present! The sets are customizable, and the products are so multipurpose- the makeup brush actually has 4 different tips just in one brush. The product design is also really well done, and looks super cute! For a world filled with last minute zoom calls, it’s the perfect gift to give 💫✨


Stay tuned for next week for more friends and more gifts!

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CEO Sit Down: Ivana Mesarić on American Opulence

Thrifting like you have never seen it before.

Palm Beach raised, Boston educated, and currently living in the Orange County area, Ivana Mesarić is a force to be reckoned with, ready to make waves in the fashion industry with her new vintage luxury retail company American Opulence

Ivana has always known that she was destined to be a full-time entrepreneur and, even when she was in Middle School, exhibited some incredible entrepreneurial spirit. Ivana remembers heading to Goodwill with her mom when she was 13 years old during the 2008 financial recession, as her family had encountered hardship. For Ivana, this was a drastic change, however she learned to enjoy the experience, going with a friend to find fun and interesting items. Everything changed one day when Ivana went to Goodwill and found a Tory Burch tunic for $3, which she was able to resell on Ebay for $100. Ivana’s ability to make money this way was mind blowing to her at such a young age. Selling the tunic sparked the idea of buying other things to resell. Ivana quickly began familiarizing herself with designer labels and subscribing to popular fashion magazines in order to educate herself on what popular designer brands she should look for and which would yield the best resale value. As times changed, Ivana transitioned from selling on Ebay to Poshmark and got more serious about her hobby once she moved out to Orange County, California after graduating from Babson College. 

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Although Ivana is currently an analyst at an energy consulting company, she always makes time for thrifting. Having been involved in creative outlets her whole life, whether it be in music, dance, or musical theater, Ivana has always tapped into her creative side. Thrifting was just another way Ivana expressed herself, this time through fashion. “You never know what you are going to find on a thrifting outing,” Ivana says, “which makes it so fun and therapeutic in a way”. One of the most compelling parts of the business for Ivana is making older items look new again, she mentions. She also enjoys having control over the branding, fashion, and overall styling of the pieces. 

While living in the Orange County area, Ivana has curated a large selection of cool items, which got her to consider formalizing her resale business into an exclusive luxury store over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivana always thought that her transition into entrepreneurship needed to include a world changing idea, yet she realized that it really didn’t have to be- it could be stylish and simple.

American Opulence’s aesthetic is luxurious and fashion forward, most of the pieces being one of a kind, Ivana tells me. One of the company’s main motivations is to convey that you don’t have to purchase from fast fashion retailers in order to be on trend. Surprisingly, Ivana finds a lot of fast fashion items while she thrifts, most likely items sent to influencers in press packages, she informs me. Some of Ivana’s favorite pieces in her curated collection, however, are oversized trench coats that exhibit quality and classic style. Lifetime pieces.  

One of the challenges that Ivana has encountered during the process of starting her business has been figuring out who her niche target market is, seeing that there is a lot of competition in the thrifted fashion space. That being said, as far as the future of thrifted fashion goes, Ivana sees the second hand fashion industry as a huge market that isn’t going anywhere soon. Gucci’s recent collaboration with The RealReal is just one example of how high end designers are trying to leverage the thrift market to the company’s benefit. Looking towards the future, Ivana also senses that getting traffic to the website will become a challenge, which she prepares to mitigate by leveraging Instagram and Instagram ads to target the Gen Z and Millennial market. 

“Even though the market is saturated, it’s not over saturated,”

Ivana says. 

In terms of the future, Ivana is excited about her new company, but also the impact it will have on the world, given that 5% of all of her sales are going to one of her favorite charities called MoviesMakingaDifference. MoviesMakingaDifference is a non-profit that directly aids the survivors of human trafficking and is especially important to Ivana, as she has volunteered extensively for the organization. 

I am convinced that, if Ivana is involved, the future of fashion looks more than bright. 

3 Friends Picking their Top Gifts Under $100 (Part I)

Because… everyone needs a bit of gift inspo.

What can I say, I love my friends! So, I brought them back on board for a mini series on the gifts that they love all for under $100! Giving gifts to my friends is always the best. Seeing that huge smile on their face when they finally unwrap that picture frame with the two of us in it or the cookbook with their favorite recipes just gives me the warm and fuzzies inside. There are not many moments in a friendship that you get to express how much that person means to you. Gift giving is one of those moments, however, where you can take the time to say “I was listening” or “I know you” in a unique way. With that being said, some people need some inspiration to find the perfect gift, which is where I have outsourced some help. Here are a few ideas…


Yara El Madalla 

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The Gift

I think the smell is amazing, and it’s definitely a scent for both males and females. I believe it’s a classy and nice gift and it’s perfect for anyone, when you’re out of gifting ideas!

Ivana Mesaric

The Gift 

Whipped Pistachio Body Butter – a.k.a The Boyfriend Body Butter, $28

This body butter is absolutely divine. It smells like an incredible nutty, and sweet pistachio biscotti, and lasts for hours. It’s rich and creamy formula, lathers into your skin, and is my go to body butter to rub on after a nice steamy shower. Pistache skincare is based in California, and its formula is non-GMO, paraben and sulphate free, has no artificial color or fragrance, and its packaging is printed with 100% wind energy.

Kevin Teeter

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The Gift

Nuwave Air Fryer, $80

When it comes to giving gifts, you can never go wrong with a Consumer Reports top rated item, like this kitchen air fryer. Air frying is all the new craze this season, so if you have to buy a gift for a foodie, this might be the ticket. Also, contrary to popular belief, you can do more than just make french fries in it, it’s so versatile you can air fry practically anything!


Stay tuned for next week for more friends and more gifts!

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10 Gift Ideas for the Holidays Under $100

It’s that time of year again. But no stress, we’ve got you covered.

Oh the joys of the holidays, where all is merry and bright! This holiday season is extra important, given that we could all use some comfort and joy in 2020 (gospel choir singing “yes”). When it comes to buying gifts this season, let me help you de-stress even further by providing my budget friendly holiday gift ideas for you and your loved ones. Gift giving is one of my favorite things during any holiday- Birthdays, Christmas, Housewarming- you name it! To me, a gift symbolizes, in a tangible form, the care and attention that you pay to your relationship. It shows that you see them, you appreciate them, and you have taken the time to really think of them. So, let’s show some love this holiday season for those we care about. You never know how much those around you might need it.

Stationary

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Stationary is truly the gift that keeps on giving. I love sending letters through the mail and always find that some unique and fun stationary can make your note even more memorable. This stationary I chose is from Papier and is even customizable to include the gift receiver’s first and last name. Who doesn’t love a customized gift for just over $20?! Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to receive a thank you note on this stationary too!

Ugg Slippers

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These slippers were the first thing on my Christmas list (just dropping a subtle hint here). They are so comfy, so cozy, and, let’s be honest, when we are working from home we need something to brighten the day. At just $100 I think these slippers are a worthy investment in your wardrobe for the stormy winter to come. 

Virtual Cooking Class

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Ok, hear me out. This virtual cooking class is one that you HAVE to take with the lovely Marcella Ansaldo. I took cooking classes with Marcella in Florence many times, one more enjoyable than the next. When I found out that she was doing classes online, I knew I had to seize the opportunity to see her again. Marcella incorporates expert Italian food history into all of her courses and makes the virtual cooking experience one that almost mimics that of an in-person class. 10/10 for me!

Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub 

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This body scrub really does it for me. It smells amazing and leaves your skin silky smooth because the coffee grinds, which act as an exfoliant. The company Frank Body has a large assortment of fun products that you should also check out, in addition to their original scrub, which the company became famous for. Coffee + Skincare = Happiness

Glossier You Perfume

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When I first smelled Glossier’s You perfume I was skeptical. I was used to enjoying floral and sugary sweet scents. However, after using a sample of You and smelling the scent after it mixed in with my skin I was hooked. This perfume is one of my all time favorites, with such lovely mild, peppery notes. It was also The Fragrance Foundation’s Fragrance of the Year winner in 2018. Although it is a bit pricier ($60 for the bottle) it’s Ursula approved to be worth it.  

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea book

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If you love business, entrepreneurship, and media as much as I do, then this is the book for you. Written by the Co-Founder and First CEO of Netflix Marc Randolph himself, this book documents Netflix’s journey from CD sharing start-up to public company. If you know everything about business or nothing at all, there is something for you to take-away and learn from. Bottom line: you never know an idea won’t work until you try it.  

Abercrombie Puffer 

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If you ever spotted me last winter, you would have probably seen me either wearing this coat or its furry cream sister. I am completely obsessed with this puffer from Abercromie, which keeps me so much warmer than a lot of my more expensive coats. It fits right at the waist and can be buttoned all the way up to the chin. When I am wearing a coat I prefer to be swaddled in soft fabric, where you can barely see my eyeballs I am so snuggle. This coat does just that. 

Bose Speaker 

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This Bose speaker does everything a good speaker should. One charge lasts an incredibly long time, the sound quality is clear and crisp, it’s Bluetooth, and the volume spans a pretty nice range. Even better? It’s just under $70! I have had my speaker for over four years and it has lasted me through college and beyond. A perfect gift I’d say for a college or high school student who needs to tune out the world. 

Sugarfina Candy Box

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I know what you are thinking. She wants me to purchase candy for adults? Ummm…. yeah I do! I have received one of Sugarfina’s candy boxes as a Christmas gift before and, let me tell you, this is a gift that does not disappoint! But, then again I am a sugar-holic. My favorites from Sugarfina include the champagne bears and peach bellini hearts (the matcha bears also look 🔥). Everyone needs a bit of sweetness in their life, wouldn’t you agree? 

A Subscription to my Newsletter

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A Day in Kuwait City, Kuwait with Fay Al Bader

Ever wonder what it is like to live in Kuwait City, Kuwait? Good thing I know someone who does- my bestie Fay!

In my first post of this series, my dear friend Divya, who is originally from New Dehli, India, but has grown up in Nigeria shared her favorite places to go and things to do in a day in Lagos. Next up is my bestie Fay Al Bader. Through hearing Fay talk about Kuwait since we met, it has always been top on my list for places to visit. Fay is my very first- and by no means last- Middle Eastern friend. In knowing Fay, I learned all about the Muslim faith, tasted Arabic coffee for the first time, and introduced more than one Arabic word into my vocabulary (habibi being a personal favorite). Fay’s enthusiasm for the Middle East even motivated me to participate in my college’s Dubai Elective Abroad program, where I traveled to The United Arab Emirates for ten days over Thanksgiving break. Without Fay, there are so many things that would be unknown to me, one of the many reasons that I cherish our relationship and am honored to call her one of my closest friends. Fay was kind enough to “virtually” show us around her home city, so without further ado, Fay take it away!


Kuwait… The Pearl of the Gulf… A land that I am honored to call my home. If anyone has been to Kuwait or met anyone from here, they will undoubtedly know how much love its people have for their country. It may be small to those looking at it from the outside, but to me it is my world and it will always be the most beautiful place in my eyes. One of the things I admire the most about Kuwait is that you still find a deep sense of culture and traditions embedded in many aspects of our daily lives and within many homes, which is something I believe is very rare to find in other parts of the world in our present day. Regardless of how far we progress and embrace change, you will always find Kuwaiti families that are determined to keep our culture alive and to stay loyal to our traditions, traditions that our late grandfathers and grandmothers have instilled in all of us. 

I can go on and on about why I have such a deep love for Kuwait, from its unique culture, its phenomenal food to its hospitable people but I will leave it at that. I hope everyone gets the chance to visit my beautiful country and experience all that I have with your own eyes. I sure do love every bit of it, down to the last grain of its fine sand.

Favorite place for breakfast

Madison & Heig

Photos taken from Madison & Heig’s Instagram 

They have a lovely selection of dishes, freshly baked pastries and drinks that always uphold to a high level of quality. Their staff and service are excellent. The place also has a great vibe and is decorated with such simple but beautiful elements. It also has floor to ceiling windows so it brings in so much sunlight (which I love to see especially in the morning) and you can see the waterfront because it is located on one of Kuwait’s main roads, the Arabiain Gulf Road, which overlooks the ocean.

Favorite places for lunch

Habra

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Photo taken from Habra’s Instagram 

The Peacock

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Photo taken from the following website

Aside from the fact that both these places have delicious food, they also hold so many memories. I often go to both these restaurants with my family and we always order the same dishes, if not more food every time we go. One is more fancy than the other but they both have the friendless staff and maintain an exceptionally high level of quality. Both are also family friendly which I love.

Favorite places for dinner

White Robata

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Photo taken from White Robata’s Instagram

Both these places have exquisite food that is prepared so well. I also like that you find a combination of young couples, families and group of friends at all times so it is nice to be around. In addition, they are not too loud which I really appreciate because I don’t like being in a place with music so loud that you have to constantly scream. Again the staff is extremely friendly and attentive to detail.

Ora

Photos taken from Ora’s Instagram

White Robata in particular is located in Jaber Al Ahmed Cultural Center (a.k.a JACC), which is one of the newer complexes that houses multiple restaurants and a beautiful Opera House which hosts many concerts throughout the year. Moreover, the restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating areas and in the winter, I enjoy sitting outside because it overlooks the dancing fountain, which always plays many national and/or famous songs that everyone always enjoys. It is so heartwarming to watch  families and friends gather around the fountain and enjoy the beautiful show, especially the young children who end up singing and dancing along.

Favorite place for coffee

Toby’s Estate

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Photo taken from Toby’s Estate’s Instagram 

I would say this is my favorite coffee place for multiple reasons. For starters, their selection of coffee and pastries are great. There are also multiple branches that are conveniently located around Kuwait so you can easily find one to stop by. Each branch is uniquely decorated and has so much open space. Again, you always find a mix of younger couples, families and friends, which isn’t the case with many of the other coffee shops. I particularly enjoy this because I feel more comfortable around this mix as opposed to just younger group of friends.

Favorite tourist destinations

Shaheed Park

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Photo taken from Shaheed Park’s Instagram

It is dedicated to all the martyrs who lose their lives within the Iraqi Invasion (1990-1991). The park has multiple phases, one of which is still under construction, and includes a few restaurants, tracks for running & walking, an atrium-like stadium (which hosts multiple concerts) and last but not least, a wall that displays the names and pictures of all the martyrs. 

Souk Al Mubarakiya (The Old Souk)

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Photo taken from the Souk’s Instagram 

This is probably the place that encompasses the greatest amount of Kuwaiti culture, which I found is the most beautiful part about it. You can find everything from traditional clothing, food, sweets, jewelery and so much more as you roam around this historical landmark. More importantly, this place embodies so much of Kuwait’s history of Kuwait and will definitely find a few stores that have been there since Al Mubarkiya was built, many passed multiple generations.

Favorite day-time outing

Either going to a mall or going out for coffee

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Photo taken from Toby’s Estate’s Instagram 

I like going to a mall for family lunch or to do some random shopping. I prefer going in the morning at times just to avoid heavy crowds but sometime I like being around a lot of people because it feels lively. I also like going out for coffee during the day with my family or friends because it is always very natural and chill and you get to sit down for a while and get to enjoy each other’s company after a long and tiring week.

Favorite night time outing

Movie

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Photo from the Cinescape Kuwait Instagram 

There is something about getting a warm bucket of popcorn and a side of nachos to share and enjoy with family and friends that is so comforting to me. It was also a tradition for my family and I to go out and enjoy a movie together every Friday night so I hope it is something we start doing again. Whether it a comedy or a thriller, I will always prefer going to a movie at night then getting dressed up for another dinner.

Everyone can’t leave Kuwait without buying….

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bakhoor, a dara’a, and local sweets 

Each and every one of these represents local culture and something special to Kuwait. You can find these items in essentially all other Gulf countries but they will also have distinct variations that are unique to every country.

Bakhoor – Essence

Dara’a – a local piece of clothing that is typically worn with Ramadan and family gatherings. They range from very casual, light designs to beautiful and lavish pieces that take your breath away with the amount of detail it holds.

Local sweets – first of all they are delicious and you never seem to have enough. Second of all, they contain local ingredients and are made from recipes that have been passed down from generations of families. (Of course every family makes it differently and has their own touch, which I love).

Jacquemus, the Obsession is Real

Why I think Jacquemus should be the model for luxury retail marketing and engagement.

I was first introduced to the fashion brand Jacquemus last summer, when I was an intern at Bureau Betak, the fashion production company that is responsible for Jacquemus’s most splashy runway moments. I remember my fellow intern Cristina showing me photos of Jacquemus’s fuchsia runway and pronouncing the French designer’s name with a perfect French flair. Since seeing Simon Porte Jacquemus’s beautiful designs float through the infamous lavender field last summer, I have been captivated by the company and Simon himself- and who can forget Toutou the newest furry member of the Jacquemus team. But what was it about the brand that kept me coming back for more? It was time to do a little bit of research on Simon and all things Jacquemus to find out.

Simon Porte Jacquemus started his very first clothing line at the age of 19 years old, back in 2009, following the death of his mother, for which he named the company after- Jacquemus being her maiden name. During this time, Simon worked at the Comme des Garçons store in Paris, France to finance his business and inspire his designs. Simon’s success did not come overnight, but it did surely come. In 2014, Simon was a finalist in the running for the LVMH Prize and the next year a winner of the prize, for which he received publicity, a €150,000 check, and a yearlong mentorship. Two years later, Simon would be invited to the Maison Méditerranéenne des Métiers de la Mode to stage a catwalk in Marseille, which featured his 2018 Spring/Summer collection named “La Bomba” and was picked up by major retailers Selfridges, Moda Operandi, and Net-a-Porter. The rest is history. 

So why am I and the rest of the fashion world gushing over Jacquemus? I have a few guesses.  

First and foremost, Jacquemus’s marketing is both brilliant and sincere. 

Simon’s first ever fashion show- a staged fake “protest” outside Dior on Avenue Montaigne during Paris Fashion Week- is a testament to the marketing genius that has guided the brand’s success. Unlike with many brands and their fashion designers, Jacquemus’s Instagram account is run by Simon himself, where he often features the clothes he designs as well as photographs of his childhood modeling gigs, Instagram stories of his adorable new puppy pronouncing around his Parisian design studio, and Simon’s quirky design inspirations. Whatever Jacquemus posts is intentional, but also organic in nature. 

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All photos taken from Jacquemus’s Instagram

Jacquemus’s marketing does not bombard you with advertisements and company logos, but rather lets you in on what the brand as a whole sees, experiences, and loves. Jacquemus’s TikTok, for example, features fun and imaginative videos, such as an operational purse vending machine and Simon raking black sand in one of his iconic straw hats during a photoshoot. The feeling is anything but commercial and promotional. Through Jacquemus’s marketing presence, you get the feeling that you are on a digital media adventure, Jacquemus leading the way with whatever he finds beautiful and inspiring. 

Ready to Wear is essentially ready to wear. 

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The Jacquemus brand is all about structure, design, and simplicity in many cases. Jacquemus clothes are not crowded with logos and signature brand patterns, but are lead by tailoring, color, and texture. As a result, it is easy for the consumer to picture the clothes on themself because of their sheer “wearability”. Whereas Gucci’s ostentatious styling and larger than life embellishments can be off putting to many, Jacquemus does an expert job of keeping up with the latest trends, while still retaining a strong brand image in terms of style. Moreover, unlike many of luxury brands today, Jacquemus unapologetically features models of various shapes and sizes as well as ethnicities both on their runways and in their marketing. However, Jacquemus doesn’t scream for attention in terms of their inclusivity, its an organic integration into their brand. Jacquemus is also inclusive in terms of LGBTQ representation, as Simon frequently features himself and his boyfriend Marco Maestri on social media. There is no denying that the brand expertly balances vulnerability, creativity, confidence, and style. 

Jacquemus is about more than fashion, it’s about experience. 

In addition to selling clothes and leather goods, Simon has two volumes of photo books that he has released, the second and most recently debuted titled “Images”. The photo books feature some of Simon’s favorite images that he has taken throughout the years with his iPhone. The diversity in this product offering allow for the consumer to experience the brand even further and in a different way, truly bringing the company to life.

Simon thinks like an artist from beginning to end, making for incredibly cohesive experiences for the consumer and spectator. His 10th year anniversary show in Provence that was placed within a lavender field with a straight fuchsia runway, for example, was seen across social media and digital platforms for weeks, a truly remarkable spectacle that no one dreamt of, until now. Simon followed up this show with an equally compelling curved runway show through a wheat field located just outside of Paris. It is clear that Jacquemus is here to bring a stimulating experience in everything that they do. 

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Experiences are also reflected in their larger (or smaller) than life accessories. Simon’s Le Chiquito bag is so memorable, so fanciful, so refreshing that it was able to capture the attention of Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and the like. Simon’s oversized Le Bomba straw hat has a similar effect, where the wearer is able to feel dramatic and fun. The Jacquemus consumer is invited to be playful, fancy free, beautiful and included in their narrative. 

Jacquemus is a brand that is constantly filled with engaging surprises. A book, a mini purse, a field of lavender, a  behind the scenes look, an imaginative photo- there is something for everyone to take a way and feel inspired by. One of the most inspiring being Simon’s life story. Coming from a small farming town in France, to building a world renowned fashion brand, Simon embodies the possibility of what it means to leverage your talents through marketing and craftsmanship to become an unstoppable force. 

 One of a kind products, one of a kind experiences, and a one of a kind brand. Jacquemus. 


Facts provided by Business of Fashion and The Cut

 

URSULA D. X ASHITA QUIZ

See which piece is right for you, selected by ASHITA!

Take the Quiz that ASHITA and I collaborated on to help you find the perfect ASHITA piece for you!

ASHITA is a part of every step in your jewelry’s journey to ensure you get the best value and quality the world has to offer, while keeping sustainability and ethics a priority. With a company that has every detail in mind, you can have comfort in knowing that any one of your choices will be the right one. 

There are so many options to choose from, why not take the ASHITA quiz to find out which piece ASHITA has chosen for you?

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The Journey of the ASHITA Diamond

Making every ASHITA jewelry purchase, the right one.

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Ever wonder how jewelry is made from start to finish? As consumers, most of the time we don’t know where the items we purchase come from or how they are made. However, now more than ever, we have an increasing interest in investigating the supply chain of our purchases, for ethical practices, quality, and sustainability. ASHITA is unique for many reasons, one reason being that the company is in complete control of every stage of the jewelry making process and ensures adherence to the highest standards throughout. A luxury jewelry company that handcrafts colorful, fine jewelry in New York City, ASHITA is eager to share its mission for providing ethically made, fair priced jewelry that sacrifices nothing in providing beauty in all of their pieces. 

ASHITA was kind enough to walk me through their jewelry process, from diamond mining to expert local craftsmanship, so that I can share what makes this company unique with my readers, so let’s jump right into it!

Step 1 The Mining

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ASHITA diamonds are hand selected by expert gemologists, who choose some of the best diamonds according to clarity, color, and carat. In terms of clarity, ASHITA uses VS diamonds, which are diamonds that are only just very slightly included. Their diamonds are also FG in color, meaning they are almost completely colorless, which increases their value. In regards to cut, the diamonds are ideal and the carat varies from piece to piece, depending on jewelry style. As partners with authorized sightholders, ASHITA is able to track the diamonds from mine to consumer, ensuring ethical practices. ASHITA also uses the Kimberley process, which is a recognized certification system that imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’ and prevent conflict diamonds from entering legitimate trade.

The ethically sourced 14-karat gold that ASHITA uses is mined in North America and is classified as Grade 1 Metal in quality and brightness. The karat number reveals how pure the gold is, meaning that 14-karats is 14/24 or 58.33% pure gold. The remaining components in ASHITA jewelry are alloys, which are infused to harden the naturally soft gold and make it last a lifetime. ASHITA even allows the option, upon request, to manufacture nickel-free jewelry, which is made from 18-karat white gold and palladium-alloy.

ASHITA is as much about quality as it is about purpose, which makes the environment also a priority in their process. ASHITA helps to reduce our carbon footprint by recycling any material waste lost during manufacturing.

Step 2 The Jewelry Making 

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ASHITA’s jewelry is designed and manufactured in Manhattan, New York, the city that also serves as inspiration for all of the company’s jewelry collections.   

First, ASHITA’s design team creates sketches of the jewelry, which are then prototyped and 3D printed before expert craftsmen get to work. ASHITA’s jewelers, who have over 200 years of experience, then handcraft all of the company’s incredibly beautiful pieces, which are minimalistic in design and brought to the next level with splashes of colored enamel. 

What makes ASHITA even more unique is that the company is able to cut out the wholesale and retail fees that are associated with jewelry buying so that the consumer can get the highest quality at the lowest price. There is no supplier, import tariffs, distributor, or storefront sales, which means that all of their jewelry is priced at a fair, direct to consumer price point. 

Step 3 Delivering on the Promise 

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After the materials are mined, the jewelry is designed, and all of the pieces are made, the decisions are left up to you, and ASHITA makes that decision a tough one, given all of the options available for you to choose from. 

You can purchase items for their latest Dream Collection, which features delicate pieces with sparkling diamonds nestled in between blush and baby pink, aqua, and coral enamel embellishments. Or, want something specially made for you? ASHITA offers custom styling sessions, where you can speak with a company representative to design a one of a kind piece. You can also shop one of ASHITA’s anklets, which is part of their ‘One to Love, One to Give’ campaign that, with every anklet purchased, all of the proceeds go towards sponsoring a prosthetic limb through Prosthetics for Change for someone less fortunate.

ASHITA is a part of every step in your jewelry’s journey to ensure you get the best value and quality the world has to offer, while keeping sustainability and ethics a priority. With a company that has every detail in mind, you can have comfort in knowing that any one of your choices will be the right one. 

There are so many options to choose from, why not take the ASHITA quiz to find out which piece ASHITA has chosen for you?


Use COLORFUL10 for $10 off!


Credit goes to the Gemology Institute of America for providing certain facts and figures.