There’s Something About Aliaa
Fashion Blogger and Stylist Aliaa Elesseily
By Lydia Schoonderbeek
Thanks to social media sites like Instagram, fashion blogging has become a legitimate authority on all things stylish and fashionable. In some cases, bloggers have made a career out of fashion blogging, and have nabbed front row seats at fashion weeks across the world. Fashion bloggers have even been able to monetize their passion through brand promotions on their site. This month, Cairo East Magazine sat down with fashion blogger extraordinaire Aliaa Elesseily to learn more about what is now becoming an integral part of the global fashion industry.
CEM: Hi Aliaa, could you start by telling us a bit about yourself.
AE: : I started my career at an advertising agency (Leo Burnett) where I only worked for 3 months, and I didn’t it enjoy at the time. I then got a job opportunity to become a stylist on TV commercials, which eventually led to me becoming a stylist on fashion shoots for 11 years. During this time, I travelled to London and I took some courses in styling, brand management and professional make up lessons at The London College of Fashion. I then came back, which is when my husband suggested that I take pictures of myself and document it online. I started to post my pictures on Instagram only for my friends. It was lots of fun and I realized that I could turn my Instagram page into a place where I would share my daily outfits and so it expanded. Around this time, I started getting calls from women in the Middle East to becoming their personal stylist. I’ve travelled to Dubai and London to help these women shop. I have so much fun doing it, especially when you see your clients evolve with their clothes. I have also started working with actors in Egypt namely Ahmed Ezz, and I love styling him. He is very experimental with his clothes, and we’re constantly brainstorming outfits together for shoots that he will be working on.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I don’t have a particular style since I wear what I like and that changes from time to time. It also depends on how I’m feeling on the day. I have a thing for colors, and I love playing with clothes. So you can say that my style is a unique mixture of multicolored and romantic trends.
What do you think will be the big hits fashion wise for next season?
On most catwalks I’ve seen leather for the summer and of course lots of color. Also cut out boots, can still be worn during the summer months with denim shorts.
Where do you tend to buy your clothes, and why?
I adore shopping in London! The first place I must visit is Topshop. I generally pick little boutiques to shop that have particular items. For example when I went to Ibiza I came across this headpiece, which was a bird, and I got to wear it at an amazing party in Cairo. My favorite designer brands are of course Chanel, and Alexander McQueen. All Saints, Adidas for Stella Mcartney, River Island and Sass & Bide. I also love shopping at Matches in London, as they stock the most beautiful items from most of the contemporary designers.
What do you splurge on?
“A girl can never have enough shoes and bags,” as the saying goes, I agree. Also any designer accessory is a must in my closet, and a leather jacket. If purchased correctly they can always be timeless pieces.
Do you have any fashion rules when putting an outfit together?
No, I hate rules! But there are some things you need to consider for example: If you’re short, and wearing jeans, you can’t wear beige boots, as it cuts off your legs. Also white t-shirts with a white bra are a big no no!
Where do you find the inspiration for your blog posts?
I play it by ear.
Is there a person that is a fashion inspiration to you?
Miroslava Duma is my inspiration; she’s the super glam former Harper’s Bazaar Russia editor.
Do you find it difficult dressing creatively in Cairo?
Yes of course, it’s very difficult to try to dress in Cairo. You ruin your outfit because you can’t wear certain things.
You have a lot of followers on your blog how did you achieve this?
It takes a very long time to get followers and also a big part of it is word of mouth. I currently have 11, 000 followers.
What’s the biggest tip you have for anyone wanting to start a fashion blog or website?
You must love what you’re doing. Sometimes I need to push myself; there is a lot of work and preparation involved.
Who does your amazing photography?
That’s so sweet of you, thank you! My husband takes all of my pictures. He is the one that inspired me to push my love for fashion to the next level, and is always very supportive. We sometimes meet for lunch or a coffee and he will take a picture of me. It’s very hard in Cairo to take pictures as there aren’t many places, and we just do our best.
How important is it for your self-expression and sense of identity to make a fashion statement in the way you dress?
I make people happy, I get people coming up to me all the time telling me they love the way I dress, it makes them smile. I have a very approachable and fun look; it breaks the barrier with my followers.
Do you ever have down-days when you just throw on the nearest clean items that come to hand?
I have lots of days where I don’t want to put in the effort. I used to post a picture every day, and but I have stopped as it doesn’t come very easily and I care about quality and not quantity.