Unveiling their sixth annual BoF 500 list, Business of Fashion highlight the most influential entrepreneurs, within the fashion industry, in the world. The Middle East has no shortage of home grown talent within the field of fashion and these are the Arab men and women who are waving the entrepreneurial flag for the region.
Anok Yai, born in Egypt, raised in America and of a Sudanese heritage, is the second black model to open a Prada show after Naomi Campbell, and the first Sudanese model to do so. Influential for her aesthetic, she represents racial inclusivity.
Badr Al Deghaither
He is the CEO of Saudi Jawahir Trading and a huge player in Saudi Arabia’s luxury market. Badr Al Deghaither owns the distribution rights for brands of the likes of Givenchy, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. Retailing under his own Jawahir department store and multi-brand chain, Avanti, the privately held retailer hosts a portfolio of some of the world’s largest luxury brands such as Tom Ford, Chloé, De Beers and Marni. It has locations in Centria Mall and the Mall of Dhahran, where Saudi Jawahir Trading opened Piu Boutique.
Mossalli is an entrepreneur and journalist who founded Saudi Arabia’s leading luxury communications consultancy, Niche Arabia, which has helped to elevate the kingdom’s global status in fashion. Marriam was the only Arab professional who was invited to the Celebration of Design Gala in 2015, by Michelle Obama, who was First Lady of the USA at the time. This confirmed Marriam Mossali’s status as a leader and ambassador for the regional fashion scene in the Middle East.
Jamila Halfichi is the fashion editor at Asharq Al Awsat, a leading pan-Arab newspaper founded in London in 1978, where she and the publication are still based today. Over 10 years ago, Jamila Halfichi launched the publication’s first fashion section and is now a leading fashion critic with a strong influence over readers and other influencers who read Asharq Al Awsat.
Salwa Idriss Akhannouch
Salwa Idriss Akhannouch is one of Morocco’s most powerful female entrepreneurs, and of North Africa’s wealthiest businesswomen. Founder and CEO of the Aksal Group, a Moroccan leader in luxury goods, shopping malls and department stores. Akhannouch’s company owns a 50 percent stake in the Morocco Mall, one of Africa’s largest shopping centres, built at a cost of over $240 million in 2007 and turns over around $514 million per year.
Khalid Al Tayer
Khalid Al Tayer is the chief executive of Al Tayer Insignia, the retail business of Al Tayer Group, a multi-division conglomerate based in the UAE operating luxury brands and retail chains across the Gulf and other Middle Eastern markets. Since joining the business in 2011, Al Tayer has headed collaborations with luxury brands such as, Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Prada, and Saint Laurent and signed a license agreement to open the first Macy’s store outside of the US, in 2018. The group is also responsible for opening and operating the largest Harvey Nichols outside the United Kingdom as well as the first Bloomingdale’s stores outside the United States, as well as launching it’s first luxury e-commerce sites, Ounass.com and Nass.com.
The founder and chief executive of The Modist, the first global e-commerce platform devoted to modest luxury fashion aimed at women who prefer to dress demurely, Ghizlan Guenez’s business has been deemed the Net-A-Porter of modest clothing. The luxury site ships to over 120 countries and aims to address an under-represented and underserved target audience of women who want to be on par with latest luxury trends without compromising their modest style, covering a variety of ethnic groups, ages, and religions. Guenez is the first to dive into the growing market, leading women’s empowerment and the female gaze.