You are on page 1of 16

Publisher & Editor-In-Chief

Yousuf Jassem Al Darwish

Lookout Qatar
22 Lookout Qatar Frances Hartog relates the mesmerizing tale of a 53-yearold Dior Zemire dress at a conference at Doha's Museum of Islamic Art; Alia El Tanani of the luxury design company Living In Interiors has an eye for the unusual; Tods leather collection for men is all about the double stripe; the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchante watch takes its inspiration from dancing butterflies and fairies. Culture Cue Doha wants to hold on to its charming history but by reimagining it. The Old Doha Prize brings together architects from two countries, Qatar and UK, to revive old Doha bringing the idea of a global world to reality. By Sindhu Nair. Showing Now Jordanian artist Jehad Al-Ameri is influenced by three places: a village in Jordan; Baghdad; and Granada in Spain. By Abigail Mathias. Market Watch The spotlight is on the jewelry that will be the highlight of a luxury exhibition, the Doha Jewelry and Watches Exhibition. By Debrina Aliyah. Trend Report A Middle East-exclusive preview of the Gap Spring/ Summer 2014 Collection. By Priyanka Pradhan.

Chief Executive

Sandeep Sehgal
Executive Vice President

Alpana Roy

Vice President

Ravi Raman
Editor

EDITORIAL
Sindhu Nair
Deputy Editor

Srinivasan V.L
Chief Fashion Correspondent

Debrina Aliyah

Senior Correspondents

Abigail Mathias Ayswarya Murthy Ezdihar Ibrahim Ali


Sub-Editor

Sue Eedle

ART
Senior Art Director

Venkat Reddy

Deputy Art Director

Hanan Abu Saiam Ayush Indrajith

Assistant Art Director Senior Graphic Designer

Maheshwar Reddy
Photography

Rob Altamirano

24

MARKETING AND SALES


Senior Manager Marketing

Zulfikar Jiffry Thomas Jose

Assistant Manager Marketing Media Consultants

25

Quality Qatar
39 O Couture! A new couture showing in Singapore put the focus on Asian designers as it paved way for the formation of a new federation of designers. By Alexandra Kohut-Cole.

Features Qatar
74 The New Breed We bring you the new decisionmakers in a country that is on its development path, the youthful go-getters who know that for a nation to grow, they first have to effect change from within. By Ayswarya Murthy, Debrina Aliyah and Sindhu Nair. Photographs by AbdulRahman Al-Baker

Hassan Rekkab Lydia Youssef

Marketing Research & Support Executive

Kanwal Baluch Accountant Pratap Chandran Bikram Shrestha Arjun Timilsina Bhimal Rai Basanta Pokhrel

Senior Distribution Executive Distribution Support

T, THE STYLE MAGAZINE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES


Editor in Chief

26

Deborah Needleman
Creative Director

Patrick Li

Deputy Editor

Whitney Vargas
Fashion Director at Large

Joe McKenna

Managing Editor

George Gustines
Photography Director

Nadia Vellam

29

THE NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICES


General Manager

Michael Greenspon
Vice President, Licensing and Syndication

Alice Ting

Vice President, Executive Editor The New York Times News Service & Syndicate

COPYRIGHT INFO
T, The New York Times Style Magazine, and the T logo are trademarks of The New York Times Co., NY, NY, USA, and are used under license by Oryx Media, Qatar. Content reproduced from T, The New York Times Style Magazine, copyright The New York Times Co. and/or its contributors 2014 all rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed within T-Qatar are not necessarily those of The New York Times Company or those of its contributors.

PUBLISHED BY

Nancy Lee

LICENSED EDITIONS
Josephine Schmidt
FIDE FASHION WEEK

Editorial Director

Oryx Advertising Co WLL

Editor, T International Editions

P.O. Box 3272; Doha-Qatar Tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, 44667584 Fax: (+974) 44550982 Email: tqatar@omsqatar.com website: www.omsqatar.com

George Gustines
Coordinators

Gary Caesar Jessie Sandler

10

T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine

Lookout Qatar

More Than Just a Dress


Speaking to an immensely attentive audience at the recent art conservation conference organized by the Orientalist Museum and held at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Frances Hartog related the mesmerizing tale of how a 53-year-old Dior Zemire dress came to be in the possession of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. Hartog, the museum's senior textile conservator, was the key person involved in the restoration of this legendary dress, of which it was once thought no versions had survived. The original costume was shown in Diors 1954 Winter collection at Blenheim Palace to an audience that included Britain's Princess Margaret, but this version of the Zemire was commissioned by the wife of a leading British textile manufacturer to showcase his new semi-synthetic fabric. Little else is known about the history of the dress until it turned up in a Paris auction, at which time it was said to have been found in a cellar close to the Seine and possibly worn for fancy dress, Hartog said. The dress was bought at the auction by curator Claire Wilcox, and underwent diligent restoration work by Hartogs team to prepare it for a 1940s and 50s haute couture exhibition that took place in 1997 at the V&A. More than a decade later, the dress is still celebrated, as it marks one of the most important textile restoration works in the world. It is considered to be Diors most historically-inspired piece and a departure from his more familiar avant-garde work, she explains. Hartog was one of the panelists at the Doha conference, which focused on artwork from past to present and the integral role restoration plays in preserving art for the next generation. DEBRINA ALIYAH

Dancing to Time
Depicting a female figure part dancer, part butterfly this creation perpetuates the tradition of ballerinas and fairies to which Van Cleef & Arpels is so attached. Yet it is not only in design but also in the mechanics of timekeeping that the maison has borrowed its theme from a ballerina. On a watch with a retrograde display, the hands, instead of turning about an axis, trace an arc before returning to their initial position to begin another cycle. Here, when the user presses a button at the 8 oclock position, the ballerinas tutu comes to life. The veil indicating the hours rises first, followed by the second veil, which positions itself against the minute scale. They remain in place, enabling the time to be read, then return simultaneously to their initial positions. One of the feats of this complication lies in its fluid movement: the ballerina appears to move her wings with grace and poise. For its Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchante watch, Van Cleef & Arpels has drawn inspiration from a quote by dancing legend Anna Pavlova that echoes the imagery of the maison: Ive been dreaming that I was a ballerina, and that I was spending my whole life dancing as lightly as a butterfly... SINDHU NAIR

Timeless Tribute
The new collection from brand Gant is said to be a tribute to its heritage and the seasons take on American sportswear. A mix of tradition and innovation, classic elegance and modern sportiness is the main source of inspiration. Refined elegance seems to be the brands motto this season.
GANT Time FW 2013 collection is available at select Paris Gallery, Time House and Blue Salon outlets across Qatar.

ALL PRICES ARE INDICATIVE

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTSEY: VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM (V&A), VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

Your Soul in Here

While being driven around Cairo, Alia El Tanani studied a sight that most people casually glance past daily: the ancient city aqueducts made of Egyptian stone.
Soon afterwards she began commissioning a wall made entirely of the stone in one of her projects, to the surprise of her contractors. The material, abundantly available, had long lost its luster and fallen into a category considered cheap and common. It was an epiphany. The aqueducts lasted for centuries, and we had local expertise and skills to work with the material, she explains. Her persistence resulted in a beautiful project, and the revival of the Egyptian stone among her interior design circles. Her foresight brought an entire industry back to life. It was like witnessing the rise and fall of an era, she says. Alia and her husband founded the luxury design company Living In Interiors in Cairo, and opened a Doha outpost a decade ago. Working on various projects of both the residential and commercial kind, the company has made major inroads with influential Qatari families, many of whom have become friends and are still continuously decorating their homes, Alia shares. The Qatar showroom carries a range of luxury designer furnishings, but the piece de resistance is the woodwork finishing made exclusively by the companys workshops. With technology and climate control, they have successfully built a niche of customizing wood pieces in the interiors of their clients homes. But interior designing extends beyond just the visual experience; for Alia it is all about recreating the soul of the owner into the space. Working closely with her clients, Alia aims to identify the finishing touch that will change just a well-designed project into an actual living space. You have to inject a part of yourself into the space. Thats what makes it yours, she says. And growing with the evolving landscape of Doha for the past decade has been a life lesson for the designer. Instead of branding peoples taste, I have come to play the role of organizing their needs and wants, hopefully, all into one space, she says. Living In Interiors, Porto Arabia, +974 4495 3510. DEBRINA ALIYAH

INTERIOR GEM Clockwise from top left: at Living In Interiors Doha, furnishings of various brands serve as moodboards to help clients envision their living spaces; woodwork finishing in a clients home.

The Double
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTSEY: LIVING IN INTERIORS, DOHA, TOD'S

At the menswear presentation shows, there were several interesting double stripes color combinations that were spotted on the bags of stylish guests. Nods of recognition were given by those in the know; it is the new subtle brand marking for Tods leather collection for men. The double stripe made its debut in spring last year, gaining so much traction that it is now part of the brands main offering. The stripe colors are customizable to individual liking on most of its mens leather goods including briefcases, shoppers and rucksacks. For the on-trend style-savvy guy, bright blues, reds and oranges in exotic skins are a charm, while the classic gentleman can choose the sturdy calfskin in subtle browns, blues and greys. The double stripes will also be making a new appearance this spring as a detail on pockets of ready-to-wear jackets in leather and suede. Tods, Villaggio Mall, +974 4413 4937. DEBRINA ALIYAH

January-February 2014

25

Lookout Qatar CARRERA Y CARRERA Bamboo Ring, price on request


Drawing inspiration from the symbolism of bamboo for good luck in Far Eastern culture, Carrera y Carreras Bamboo collection has had equally fortunate success. The bamboo ring with amethyst stone is part of the brands new extension to the collection, featuring carefully carved yellow gold bamboo stalks as the band and white gold bamboo leaves paved with diamonds as the mounting for the stone.

ASPREY Chaos Necklace, QR512,025


The coming together of an extensive assortment of precious stones to form an "organized chaos" makes this necklace a unique visual experience. The necklace, which took 150 hours to complete, comprises 80 gems of different shapes methodically placed to ensure each stone is perfectly aligned. Designed as part of Aspreys Chaos collection, the necklace is a reinterpretation of a classic necklace structure given a new twist with the detailed inclusion of the various colored stones.

Market Watch

If all that glitters is not gold, it must be jewels. From the heritage piece handmade in India to a Qatar-inspired piece of jewelry from a global brand, jewelry design has taken the accessory world by storm with its range of innovation. With the annual Doha Jewelry and Watches Exhibition (DJWE) around the corner, it is time to turn your attention to our picks of the season.
BY DEBRINA ALIYAH

Glitter and Gloss

NIRAV MODI Mughal Choker, price on request


The choker is part of the brands Mughal collection, which was inspired by the Mughal miniature school of art that thrived between the 16th and 19th centuries in India. The collection pays homage to the artistic history of its designers country, drawing on iconic floral motifs that were prevalent in Mughal art. The floral motifs of the choker are handcrafted with different diamond cuts 46 carats in total and mounted in 18K white gold.

ALL PRICES ARE INDICATIVE

28

T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTSEY: ASPREY, NIRAV MODI, CARRERA, ESCADA, FERRAGAMO, ROBINSON PELHAM, MOUAWAD

ESCADA Twin Heart Bracelet, QR1,750


Escada's fine jewelry collection has been growing quietly in strength, focusing on classic solid designs that reflect the simplicity of the brand's philosophy. This gold plated and diamond paved twin heart bracelet is perfect for a casual outtake.

MOUAWAD Love M Earrings, QR19,200


From the Love M collection, Mouawad imagines a logoplay of its definitive M flower charms in this pair of 18K rose gold earrings. The flower charms are an extension of Mouawads signature M heart motifs adorned with white diamonds. The diamonds are hand-set into each of the charms using the micro-pave method, allowing for precision crafting of this delicate design.

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO Galuchat Ring, QR24,242


Drawing inspiration from Salvatore Ferragamos favorite shagreen texture in his shoe designs, the Galuchat fine jewelry collection features stingray leather as its main element. This Galuchat ring is anchored by the main rutilated quartz stone and paved with diamonds. Since the launch of the labels fine jewelry collection, the Galuchat range has remained one of its most sought-after pieces.

ROBINSON PELHAM Doha Pearl Asteroid Ring, QR130,750


The Pearl Asteroid ring is a special tribute to Doha, paying homage to the citys history in the pearl diving industry. Designed to symbolize the waves of the sea surrounding the central pearl, the ring is a custom one-of-a-kind design set in 18 karat yellow gold. The colors of the sea were recreated using extremely rare Paraiba Tourmaline stones from the original Brazilian mine where the gemstone was first discovered. The ring is one of two pieces designed exclusively for the Qatar UK Year of Culture Fashion Exchange program.

January-February 2014

29

Lookout Qatar

Market Watch

POMELLATO Colpo Di Fulmine Set, price on request QELA Tourath Ring in Pink Gold, QR36,000
Qatar's own luxury label will be making their debut appearance at DJWE this year after its well-received inaugural boutique opening last September. The label has a dedicated workshop for handcrafted jewelry pieces and this Tourath ring is part of its Mashrabiya collection. Set in pink gold with white diamonds, the piece comes from the inspiration of the ornamental patterns of the Arab Mashrabiya motif. The ring is also available in white gold for QR46,000. The collection strives to find a balance between bold and delicate elements by highlight big gemstones with fine settings. This earrings and ring combo set in burnished rose gold with small sapphire stones surrounding the main garnet stone is part of the collections new direction towards oval-shaped stones. Other striking color plays in the collection include amethyst and ruby as well as topaz and tsavorite.

VERSACE Greca Ring, price on request


The Greca ring is from the labels fine jewelry classic collection, which reinterprets Versaces iconic Greek key in a new look. With its unique curved shape, the new Greca line presents pendants, earrings, bangles and bands characterized by precious stones such as diamonds, blue sapphires, red rubies and emeralds. The mix and match of gold and silver colors aims to highlight the neoclassical influences of the Greeks.

ALL PRICES ARE INDICATIVE

30

T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTSEY: QELA, POMELLATO, VERSACE

THE MIDDLE EAST continues to be on the receiving end of bad

THE NEW
BY DEBRINA ALIYAH, SINDHU NAIR AND AYSWARYA MURTHY PHOTOGRAPHS BY ABDULRAHMAN AL-BAKER
76

press. If it is not reports of flaunting fabulous wealth or acquiring trophy assets, then be sure it is about human rights violations or women fighting for equal rights. Never in history have we been so concerned with political correctness, and yet there has never been a time when such stereotypes have become so rampant. It is, however, not difficult to see how the world might have come to such conclusions about the Arabs. For one, they are highly private, where cultures eschew revealing too much about themselves. Stereotyping is a norm, not only by the outside world but also by expats living in this region, simply because so little is known. And, lets not forget, the Gulf consists of young countries that are just finding their diplomatic footing, so there are bound to be teething pains, especially in the social context. But inside the bubble is a new generation of Arabs who are pioneering change in their own communities. The faces of this new shift are the unassuming, educated young Arabs who are concerned less about pedigree than people development. They understand that for a nation to grow, they first have to effect change from within, and that sparking new mindsets is the most vital initiative. They have no qualms in breaking through their own cultural barriers to bring about new positive ideas that help the growth of their people, be it in the business, social or creative spheres. Forging ahead in their own chosen fields, these go-getters will soon be the next decision-makers in the region. And no, they are not riding camels or dripping in gold.

BREED

seems to tell more of a story than just IT IS WINTER, and while droves of Photographer and Visual Artist the subject. Qatari boys are busy prepping their Qatar is now ready, says Haman, with camping gear and changing tires the recent art boom and increasing on their Land Cruisers for the sand interest from the local community in duning season, Haman (as the creative fields. In the early days, AbdulRahman Al-Baker is fondly there were constant struggles with known) is avoiding the sand and trying to write a proposal. The proposal is long, and he trying to get people to read photographs and has had sleepless nights, but it is nearly ready. It is for understand the intrinsic values of a good photo. With awareness and artistic education, we are moving the greater good, a multipurpose training space to forward now, he says. It is important to see more local train photographers, he says. This will be presented artists be commissioned for artworks by institutions soon to the cultural arm of a government institution, here. He is riding on this foresight, hoping that his and it will not be an easy task to get the project off the proposal will be accepted and another new ground, but Haman is ready to do what it takes. development tool will be created for photographers in A mixed media artist with Qatar Foundation, it was the country. Hamans caped crusader identity as a photographer Watching Doha grow from a sleepy town into a bustling that shot him into Dohas creative limelight. And in a city, Haman had always been visually inspired by the nation with an army of budding young fashion and beach and the huge clouds, but these days, he has design talents, the collaboration opportunities were taken a new liking to Souq Waqif. I love showing it off to endless. Qatari fashion darlings like Latifa Al-Mudaihki visitors; the colors and scents are divine, he quips. and Fahad Al-Obaidly are big fans. Hamans eye for Aptly, he helps us tell the stories of his peers through his detail and his patriotic vision to present Qatar in a lens on a journey through the souq. better perspective come through in his work, which

ABDULRAHMAN AL-BAKER

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEBRINA ALIYAH

ALIYA AL-OBAIDLY
Fashion Designer BARELY A MONTH into the her deep understanding of what launch of Aliya, the eponymous Arab women want. Her couture Aliya Haute Couture couture label of the collection is highly personalized to soft-spoken designer, the individual orders, and, almost collection has nearly sold out, exclusively, each design is made for in the process earning the only one client. In contrast to the designer a new moniker as the old-world ways of couture in Europe, Queen of the Night. It is no reference to any Arab women reach out to the designer only on one late-night partying, but her golden touch in platform here, using social media. It is a fresh way of crafting sensuous yet culturally appropriate marketing that just fits so well with the culture of Arab evening wear that has won her the crown. women, who prefer anonymity and privacy, she Designing for the women of Qatar is a complex explains. After amassing a solid following here in Qatar, equation, with the need to find the balance she is ready to spread her wings into the rest of the between modernity and modesty, and appealing to region, starting with Bahrain, the homeland of her father. the right channels of communication, but Aliya The decision to go regional is to keep her perspectives seem to have struck gold with her signature Islamic fresh and to explore the intricate plurality of Arabic patterns and Indian embroidery. culture as inspiration. The sudden surge in the local fashion arena has It is difficult to maintain the same spirit in every created a wave of designs that are trendy yet collection, but every new detail, especially when drawn similar, but what sets Aliya apart from her peers is from our history is just so enriching, she says.

78

T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine

BAHIYA AL-HAMAD
Olympic Rifle Shooter

WHILE WE ARE on the topic of breaking stereotypes, no one breaks them sharply than Bahiya Al-Hamad. The soft-spoken young Olympian was the flag bearer and among the first female athletes from Qatar last year at the London Olympics. Its every athletes dream to represent their country in the Olympics. With the whole world watching us, I wanted to show everyone what Qatari women are truly capable of, she says, her voice low and her words measured. One would think that after more than six years of training (read: having to make herself heard over the din of a shooting gallery) Bahiya would have been forced to develop a bigger voice box. But everything about her spells quiet dignity. And wielding a gun is last thing you would imagine. It started as a hobby six years ago. Shooting is a major hobby in my family. So I used to accompany my cousins to the Qatar Shooting Club. Two weeks after she had fired a rifle for the first

time, she realized she wasn't going to put it down. She has been training every day since then. Except when I have to take a break for my studies, she reminds us. Currently pursuing her foundation studies in chemistry, she is not sure if her hearts in it. Ill probably be changing my major, she says, almost to herself. But what her heart is definitely set on is representing Qatar again in the next Olympics. Having clinched 17th position globally at her first try, it can only get better with another four years' worth of training and sporting events in her kitty. Even as she poses for the pictures, her eyes continually keep darting towards her father, who is standing at a distance, all guardian angel-esque. Dark and brooding, he sports a confused smile when he is invited into the frame but obliges nonetheless. You know my father was the first one to agree when I told him I wanted to take up shooting professionally, she says after the session. Right away he said No problem. Go ahead and do it. Looks like the whole family is in the business of wrecking stereotypes.

January-February 2014

79

KHALID HAS to react to the political turmoil that marks the region, and he chooses to do so online. His work is not the typical cartoons that the Arab world is familiar with. It has minimal details and a subtle punch that is completely new to the old media regime, and hence rejected by many mainstream publications in his native Sudan and Egypt. Thus started Khalid's personal Arab Spring and the world now has a political cartoonist who decided to shun the path often trod to open a Facebook page called Khartoon to pen his personal reactions to the political issues the Arab world is facing. Not surprisingly, his most popular cartoon, and his first cartoon soon after the Tunisian vendor set himself on fire, was of Khalids hand, with each finger representing the flag of countries like Egypt and Libya. Akin to a political analysts prophecy, the countries marked followed the path of the Tunisian struggle. It doesnt take a genius to guess that, he laughs. Thus Khalid was in the limelight. It just spread, it was free, he says about his cartoon. It was used by activists and people just picked it up. And when

one of his cartoons was used Political Cartoonist as graffiti on Cairo's Tahrir Square, before the fall of Mubarak, with his name on it, he knew he had found his personal calling. He says that being present, even through art, was an honor; for though he was not on the ground fighting for the cause, he was part of that historical movement. And that is the power of the art that Khalid wants to wield sitting in his workspace at the Qatar Museum Authority where he works as a multimedia specialist. Khalid remembers a cartoonists' convention in France where he realized how the Europeans and even the Africans could never understand the censorship issues that the Middle Easterners encounter. They dont understand what we have to go through, he says. And that, he feels, is the strength of the cartoonist from the region, finding an alternative way to saying something without hurting or offending anyone. We work around the hindrances.

KHALID AL-BAIH

80

T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine

KHALID MOHAMMED ABOUJASSOUM


Stars of Science 2012

KHALID is a busy man. He is an entrepreneur who is out to prove to Winner, Entrepreneur the world that the country is serious in its pursuit of a knowledge-based economy. He is passionate about technology, and when he is not conceptualizing new tech-based products, he is busy mentoring young people or giving speeches at conferences. He is the countrys prized poster-child for entrepreneurship. Somebody has to start and make it happen, though it does come with lot of pressures, from peer to social, he says, dismissing his status quo. His one big advantage is his familys support and belief in his competencies. I usually discuss everything with my father and he encourages my entrepreneurial streak, says Khalid, adding; Even if they dont understand, their trust in me is unconditional, because of my track record. Entering the Stars of Science competition was the craziest thing he has ever done. Well, it would not

sound crazy in some parts of the world, but in the social milieu in which Khalid was brought up, where family and work take precedence over everything else, it was indeed an unconventional path to tread. I did not tell my family until I got through and had to leave my job for the competition, he says. The experience at Stars of Science 2012 was intensive," remembers Khalid. It involved four months of boot camp and gave him hands-on practice at turning an idea into a practical project. The amount of confidence this completion gave him was immense, and coming from a region that has lost the art of discovery and making things, and where consumption is dominant, this experience changes a lot of your assumptions, your definition of possible and impossible, and triggers a mindset or paradigm shift." Khalid is now working on two projects, commercializing "Tahi" (Arabic for "Chef") an automated cooking pot and gamifying Stars of Science, which will then inspire other students. There are millions of Khalids out there, he says. I just got lucky.

January-February 2014

81

KHAWLA AL-MARRI
Artist and Educator

Khawla is an Emirati professional artist who wants to do something beyond painting the canvas. Inspiring youth is her current vocation, be it through her job or on social media. She is Head of School Programs at Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, a role that brings her in constant touch with children of all ages as she guides them to develop an appreciation for culture and art. A difficult proposition, one would think, but this is one task Khawla loves to undertake and a task, she argues, that is not impossible." She says: Working with students helps you understand teaching techniques. I love the way children perceive art and come up with entirely new interpretations thus opening the way for more dialogue and communication. Khawlas love for the creative world began early. It is a subject that allows you to present ideas and have a dialogue with the world, she says of her passion. And she decided to focus on presenting her culture through contemporary artwork and installation art in the Middle East and the United Kingdom. Her passion has borne fruit, too, with her work auctioned twice at Christies in Dubai and purchased by the Womens Museum in Dubai. Her work is bold, bright and yet deeply submerged in the culture of the region. Her pop art and street art is free-spirited, thriving and flamboyant, almost mirroring her personality. Her tryst with the social media is not pure fun. With more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, most of her updates give the followers a glimpse into the art world of the Middle East. Choosing her own career was not at all difficult for Khawla because the region welcomes modern and contemporary art and encourages diversity. She has chosen her path prudently, intent to give back to the society that has nurtured her. With the rise of the museums in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates I decided to dig deep into museum culture and understand art deeply.

82

T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine

LAYLA AL-DORANI
Entrepreneur Founder, Raw ME Qatar
IN A CULTURE where refusing any offering of food is considered a big taboo, Layla has made breakthroughs with her mantra of "eating to live". The yoga guru and health entrepreneur is a trailblazer in effecting healthy changes while challenging the business landscape of Qatar that is just warming up to female players. Struggling to find infrastructure and financial support for her health start-up, she poured her personal savings into the venture with a one-track mind focused towards success. In two years, through word-of-mouth marketing and social media, Raw ME Qatar now stands steadfast among health enthusiasts and new converts to the juice movement. Its core offering of cold-pressed juices and juice cleanse diets has helped changed the way many Qataris approach eating. People realize that they dont really need to eat that much if they are eating right, she says. The increasing demand is pushing for the company to expand production, but as a female entrepreneur, Layla is still battling cultural norms within business institutions. A lot of women use their husbands as proxy to get things done when it comes to business affairs, so when I approach ministries alone for papers and approvals, it is difficult for them to take me seriously, she explains. Her pragmatic hands-on approach, including fixing her own machinery (I broke a toenail in the process), is also one that is uncommon in Qatar. But her efforts to keep costs to the minimum are essential so that resources can be directed to the production of healthy juices for her clients. Laylas next vision is to rope children into the movement, to help battle the soaring numbers of diabetic and obese schoolkids in the country. People are spending so much money on processed and sugary products. There needs to be a shift in mindset to spend the money on wholesome real food instead, she says.

January-February 2014

83

NASSER ambled onto the Lusail racing circuit one morning in 2006 because he had heard about a tryout and thought it might be interesting. I had never ridden a racing bike before. My experience of racing was limited to quad bikes. Predictably, he didnt qualify. But what he did next defies all logic. I was upset for a while. I was sitting at home mulling it over. Then I went and bought myself a bike. Within a week he was back on the very same track on his shiny new racing machine and this time nothing was going to stop him. I started enjoying it more every time and I was getting better, faster and proving myself. And though his family was a bit anxious as the business management graduates fascination with grease and rubber grew, Nasser says they soon came to accept his new lifestyle. After three years of entering every SuperBike race in Qatar, flying his own colors and paying for his own tires, the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation sat up and took notice of him. It is only recently that Nasser has been participating in races abroad, particularly the Moto series. In fact he is still basking in his ninth position at the

Spanish Moto2 in Barcelona. Racer (Superbikes, Moto, Endurance) His ultimate dream is to race in the Moto Grand Prix. "The riders there are much, much more experienced than me. I have been barely racing for seven years now. I still have a long way to go to be able to compete on that level and challenge bikers of that caliber. For Nasser, the journey has only just begun. Serendipity and sheer willpower have brought him this far but many other potential racing champions in Qatar might not get that lucky. I think we have some of the best, fastest riders in the Middle East. People here love bikes. But there isnt the information and training to channel this natural passion into the sport, he says. We need training schools with qualified instructors who can teach young kids the right way to ride. Not race, just ride, says the self-taught racer. "I would really like to help set something like that up in the future.

NASSER AL-MALKI

84

T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine