Clothes are a way of expressing one’s true self, as not only the young but even older generations are finding their unique style that speaks to them and shows the world who they are. A reflection of culture, identity, age, style and comfort, fashion has become a way of bringing people together, while aiding them in crafting their own stories.
Be it luxury, class, coziness or adventure, high street fashion has found a way of providing all the elements, at once, to everyone. #VDR is one such emerging brand in the UAE for luxury high street fashion. Via Delle Rose by designer Luigi Midulla, translating to ‘the street of roses’, aims at making women of all ages and sizes feel empowered and confident with their high street fashion collection.
Keeping in line with this, the latest edition of wknd. conversations that took place at Nova Restaurant and Lounge at the Address Dubai Marina Hotel, spotlighted topics such as emerging fashion trends with social media, and the boom of street fashion post-pandemic. The panelists for the day were UAE-based fashion and lifestyle content creators Rhea Jacobs and Junaynah El Guthmy. Navneet Kampani, CEO of Feri Unique, and Yasemin Uzer, brand manager of #VDR, were also a part of the panel.
The afternoon started off with wellness and meditation coach Delna Mistry Anand conducting a meditation and sound healing session to set a calm tone for the lovely afternoon ahead. “#VDR is about comfort, chic, class, and makes one feel free. When I chose VDR as a customer, I realised that I could replace few clothes of mine with one outfit of theirs due to the comfort factor. I could wear it from morning to night, while looking fashionable and feeling comfy,” said
Fereshteh Jahanpour, who identified a gap in the UAE’s market segment and brought #VDR to Dubai with its first retail outlet at the Dubai Marina Mall.
Rhea Jacobs began her career by being scouted as a brand ambassador for Marc Jacobs and went on to work with the likes of Harper’s Bazaar, Bloomingdales, Vogue and much more. She has dedicated her career in making a place for inclusivity and diversity in the industry. “Growing up, I never really saw anyone who looked like me in the media. So, to be able to showcase myself to other girls is amazing. I remind myself everyday that I need to be my authentic self to ensure that girls like me believe in their dreams,” said Rhea.
Representing modest fashion, specifically in high street fashion, Junaynah El Guthmy has created a niche for modest and stylish wear in the country. The model and content creator has done fashion campaigns for the likes of Calvin Klein, Arab Fashion Week, Faces Beauty, and Ivy Park. “I wanted to be a voice in fashion that I didn’t have while growing up. It feels great to be able to tell a story through my works, and advocate for a reality that I believe in,” said Junaynah.
Challenging conventions and norms has become a staple for street fashion, and it is also what #VDR takes pride in. Navneet Kampani weighed into this, as he shed light on the business side of things. “If the world cannot change, we change. When we change, the world changes. And that’s how we conquer. So, we have set out on an unconventional feat and brought that to the country. This is how we as a brand are resonating among women. Highlighting and accepting the fact that women today are changing,” said Navneet.
With the onset of the pandemic, comfort took a step over leisure. #VDR’s brand manager Yasemin Uzer emphasised more on this as she talked about the impact social media has had on this. “Dubai is a multicultural and multi-style city. We have brought together two concepts: designer wear and street fashion. These two fit perfectly in a city like Dubai. As a brand, we have a variety of collections, but our street fashion designs have evolved the most and are widely accepted in the country,” said Yasemin.
The world of fashion is no foreigner to societal constructs and shame. And women have predominantly become the victims of this. But with the newer wave of high street fashion, there is a movement towards making your own rules, ensuring your happiness lies only in the way you perceive yourself.
“To some degree we hold ourselves accountable for the way we dress. I think the pandemic gave us a chance to reflect on how we’ve evolved, which also reflected in our style and how we present ourselves to the world. At the same time, we realised that there is no one way on how to dress. There are no rules when it comes to fashion. And I think high street fashion has become a toolbox for this,” said Junaynah, as she weighed in on the revolutionary changes that fashion faced post-pandemic, where one can look fierce while wearing a hoodie, or feminine wearing sneakers.
So, what does their wardrobe look like now? For Rhea, it’s more about what fits and is on her wavelength that day, rather than something that she would have worn pre-pandemic. “Now people are looking for a way to tell a story through their outfits, and I think that street fashion does this. Rather than focusing heavily on the brand aspect, people are looking for a way to resonate with the memories attached to the piece. That is what my wardrobe looks like now. A bunch of stories,” said Rhea.
The insightful talk was then followed by a Q&A session, giving audiences a chance to be part of the conversation. The floor was then opened for networking, as audience members and panelists shared their fashion anecdotes. Soon followed by a lunch, the afternoon came to a delightful end, with new perspectives and conversations brewing in the air.
wknd. conversations is a monthly interactive platform on various subjects.