In this congested fashion world of bloggers there is a woman that has turned the influencer model on its head, choosing to be behind the proverbial camera instead. Lama Jamal of Dubai StreetStyle is that woman. Four years ago to date Lama came up with a concept that focused on others, fashionistas to be exact. When asked how it all began Lama shares, “It just started for fun, featuring stylish people from my social life”. Today this concept has blossomed into one of the region’s most successful hubs for social engagement.
There is something very serious about Lama though, perhaps it is her technical background that makes her this way. Although her concept was organic in its conception there was nothing random about how she chose to go about it. “I took it very seriously from day one. I just put myself in the place of what women wanted to see”. I find it quite interesting how ultimately great ideas are simple in essence, K.I.S.S. the perfect acronym… The trick is to understand that although the idea may be simple it is the execution of it that differentiates you, and this is where the power lies.
I find Lama’s concept smart, but to be honest you don’t need me to tell you that, the statistics speak for themselves. Four years later and Dubai StreetStyle not only boasts Instagram followers of over 400K, but its high level of engagement is the more telling of its success. Lama sums up her strategy in just a few words, “at a very early stage I started to discover very fashionable women I did not know about before. Everyone liked the idea and they were part of the success”. The operative word being ‘everyone’, her inclusive concept guaranteed that everyone would be on board to push for its success. “I believed that high engagement will push for natural growth of the account” and that is exactly what happened.
Another thing that happened was authenticity… Fashion is really a double-edged sword, it can at once be the most telling of a person’s originality, yet it can just as well be perceived as a contrived or fake attempt at originality. You look at an interestingly dressed women on the street, some may see her as original and true to herself, and others can just as clearly see someone that has tried too hard to be unique.
What shifts the balance from contrived to authentic is consistency, if you keep seeing the same thing you will eventually be convinced that it is true and original. This is what Lama did. “I tried to be genuine in my posts and to post simply for the beauty of the fashion statement and give credit. So I decided to make it the most up to date fashion platform of new real faces.” Lama’s consistency in what she posted created an authentic page of real fashion that people flocked to, trusted and most importantly felt was attainable for them personally, ‘hell maybe she’ll feature me some day’ is what goes around in her followers minds. There is almost a sense of camaraderie and inclusiveness that is appealing to many.
It’s actually this consistency that we asked Lama about, for four years now Dubai Street Style has churned out posts that are as varied in content as they are consistent in style. These four consistent years allow for Lama to gauge changes in the fashion landscape. Ultimately if she is doing the same thing for four years she is able to see clearly the changes that are happening in fashion. Dubai StreetStyle serves as a barometer for fashion in the region, and proves invaluable to businesses in the region. Lama believes “fashion involvement is a story…it changes with time but always follows the main idea. I love chic and elegant looks”.
Again, Lama is smart.. Her model in time has attracted business opportunities that few can compete on. How many Instagram accounts do you know that have done the same thing for four years straight, an account that is not dependent on a single person, has a substantial number of followers and high engagement ? Not many…
Her four years in the business have also made us curious about the fashion landscape and the changes over the past few years. We specifically asked Lama about the differences between regional and international fashion, given that she covers both. This is what she had to say :
The gap is getting smaller everyday. The main guidelines are the same but with slight differences due to the awareness and high taste of the regional ladies, and also due to the internet and social media.
Not only does she cover international and regional fashion, but her presence in multi-cultural Dubai means that she is able to see the cultural influences of so many different nationalities on fashion. Creating a Dubai fashion flavor which is unto its own. In Lama’s opinion this mix has created a “fashion style that is feminine, romantic and elegant. Topped with a touch of luxury all the time.”
A quick glance over the Dubai StreetStyle Instagram page and you can see that the style of the posts can only be Lama’s personal style, chic and elegant across the board. Of course we couldn’t help but ask Lama about a few of her favorite things, the new J’adore Dior handbag collection, the Naked eye palette #1, and of course La Creperie restaurant in Beirut and Ill Borro in Dubai. As for her favorite quote, not one but two, ’dress to impress’ and ‘what goes around comes around’… Telling don’t you think of all that she has seen in photos over these past four years…