Meet the GCC's digital influencers
The GCC has a wealth of stylish, creative social-media savvy gents, some of which have been chosen to front a campaign for one of the region’s most impressive luxury malls.
The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi has called on some of the region’s biggest digital influencers for their new season A/W15 campaign. Esquire chats to the five men chosen to take part in the campaign and find out who they are and how they’re spending their money this season.
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‘Restaurants ambassador’ Rashed, moved from Kuwait to Dubai in 2013. He specialises in Food & Hospitality.
When did you first discover your passion for food?
Through my Mother at the age of seven.She had this large cook book that contained a variety of exciting recipes and I would choose my favourite dishes and she would make them for me. I would take food very seriously as a child and wouldn’t be able to eat something without smelling it – a habit that has stayed with me until now. Throughout my teenage years, I didn’t succumb to the bad habit of eating junk food as my passion for food lay in my Mothers amazing home-cooked dishes, from her traditional chicken ‘Majboos’ to her Spaghetti Bolognese.
Where should we eat at The Galleria?
It would have to be Emporio Armani Caffè. I love the fact that Italian cuisine is so delicious and yet maintains a healthy element. Emporio Armani Caffè is beautifully decorated with black illuminated walls and an overall sleek design, I’d love to cook myself here. I would create simple and yet striking dishes to complement the unique design.
How have you seen the UAE culinary scene develop, especially in Abu Dhabi?
it’s developed extremely fast and remains unique and full of diversity. Personally, I clearly see the distinction between dining in other countries and in the UAE, as it is where great brands meet. Due to the UAE’s diverse nationalities of residents, brands and tastes, the UAE has developed into the ultimate dining destination.
How do you convert your love for food into a career?
I’ve quickly and clearly seen the huge demand for guidance to provide and document fresh and honest dining experiences in the region. Since I try out new restaurants in the UAE quite regularly, I realised that these experiences should be shared. I first began sharing my experiences with my family and friends and then decided to widen this to those who share the same passion for food. I’m extremely grateful to be a part of the social media era, as it has provided me with platforms to share quickly and easily. There’s nothing more beautiful than to be the reason for someone’s perfect food experience.
Hassan is the co-founder of Richter Creative Office, a Kuwait-based marketing company Kuwait. As well as creating innovative campaigns, he is a social media influencer along with his wife Yalda, focusing on lifestyle, fashion and family life.
How would you describe your personal style?
Comfortable and presentable.
What are your favourite men’s brands?
Carolina Herrera, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Diesel for jeans.
How do you balance international trends and your Middle Eastern background?
In the Middle East, everyone appreciates and prefers clean and smart fashion. So while I embrace international trends, I make sure to clean up my look when I’m in Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries.
How do you juggle running a business and being a very involved family man?
I work throughout the day – and that just makes me miss my kids more. I have a very sensitive meter of when I feel like I’ve been away too long, and I immediately compensate and spend some alone time with my wife and kids. And I enjoy both equally, so I try to not focus on one more than the other.
Where would your perfect date night be?
Definitely Zuma at The Galleria – Yalda bleeds Soy Sauce, and any time I give her sushi, she’s happy. And you know what they say: happy wife happy life!
THE STYLE SETTER
Andy Scott is a British men’s fashion and lifestyle blogger known in the region for his blog, Andy Scott Fashion which covers men’s fashion, watches, cars, gadgets and the latest food hotspots.
Mariano Divaio is your style inspiration – if you were to spend a day with him in Abu Dhabi what would you do?
I would go grab a coffee at Emporio Armani Caffe with him and ask him about his success so far. There is a niche for men’s fashion blogging and even though it is traditionally considered a female driven industry, I would ask him how he made that niche his own. We would also spend some time looking at some of my favourite shopping spots from the likes of Berluti and Pal Zileri.
What are your go-to brands in fashion?
Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen, Ascots & Chapels, Berluti and Brioni, which handily are all at The Galleria.
We hear you’re thinking about designing your own line?
I have been in talks with a friend of mine and we’ve been doing a lot of designing. We are working on a clothing line with a focus on shoes right now, but hope to get other items like t-shirts into the line as well.
What’s your dream watch?
It would have to be an IWC Schaffhausen – my wrist is rather small, and I think the IWC timepieces match it well
If you weren’t a fashion blogger, what would be?
I would probably still be involved in fashion – perhaps PR or marketing for a brand. I wouldn’t stray too far, fashion would always have been a part of my life. There’s definitely a need for male fashion blogging in the region and I think I bring a unique perspective to the table. As long as you are yourself and carry your own style, people will want to connect with you and seek you out regarding work that is well-matched with your personality and flair.
THE MOVIE STAR
Saoud Al Kaabi
Saoud Al Kaabi is an Emirati actor, best known for his work in City of Life (2009), Djinn (2013) and Rise (2014). In 1999, he received the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Award for the most distinguished student, as he was the first student to be an official member of a ministerial council.
Can you sum up Emirati culture in just one sentence?
Sheikh Zayed previously said “whoever doesn’t have a past, doesn’t have a present” and I truly believe in this. We have great traditions and a great culture which we should all be proud of. It’s my heritage, my roots and culture that I am very proud of. The UAE has a great image around the world and what our rulers have worked so hard on is something I am very proud of.
Do you feel a sense of responsibility while representing Emirati culture on the big screen?
Of course – in some films I acted in, I had to interfere as I was very keen on how our culture and heritage is reflected in films as I owe this to my country.
Who do you look to for style inspiration?
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammd Rashid Al Maktoum (Fazaa), not just in terms of fashion but in everything he does. He is very talented and truly leads by example and is an inspiration to many Emirati men. For example, if there is a certain cap he wears with his dishdasha, you will find many Emiratis wearing the same.
What’s your biggest ambition?
To be in an important position in the UAE to serve my country.
THE DAPPER GENT
Elias El-indari is one of the region’s most followed male fashion bloggers with a passion for exploring the finer things in life.
What three wardrobe items should a gentleman never be without?
A well-tailored double breasted navy suit, a pair of tan double monk-strap shoes and a linen pocket square. The perfect sartorial image.
Where should we be shopping on The Galleria?
Tumi for luxury travel accessories, Tod’s for a pair of staple Italian handmade driving shoes/loafers and IWC for an impeccable timepiece.
How has the UAE helped pursue your role as a lifestyle blogger?
The UAE has been incredible for me over the last two years. It has provided me with new platforms and opportunities to grow, develop and prosper as a lifestyle blogger. I am grateful to have been given the chance to work with a luxurious property like The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi; as it houses some of my favourite shops and restaurants. It’s a gentleman’s destination.
A new suit or a plane ticket to somewhere new?
I would have to go with a plane ticket. Travel allows you to broaden your horizons, meet new people, learn different cultures and more importantly, inspire creativity.
Who’s your style icon?
American style consultant Nick Wooster. I don’t thiny many people outside of the fashion world know who he is, but not only is he my icon but many men across the world also look to him for style inspiration.
In terms of style, what separates a gentleman from the boys?
A gentleman should always be patient, calm and collective. Image is key and should never be jeopardized. Being punctual, well-groomed and mannered will set you apart from the rest.