TIME: March 24, Friday, 16:30
LOCATION: Hall 3
Maria Gold Knudsen - Head of Editorial & Style Content, Ounass.com
Ramy Assaf - Founder, Zbooni
Paul McGregor - Lecturer, London College of Fashion
Abdo Chlala - Vice President of Mobile Division, Samsung (MENA)
Moderated by Louise Nichol, Editor-in-Chief, Harpers Bazaar Arabia
How will regional designers fare as online retailers establish a stronger foothold in the region? We will explore how smaller designers can benefit from these platforms.
Maria Gold Knudsen
Head of Editorial & Style Content
Hailing from the Scandi style clutches of Denmark, Maria Gold Knudsen - Head of Style & Editorial Content at Ounass.com - began her sartorial career as a stylist in Copenhagen. Eagerly working her way through various coveted fashion editor and stylist roles, at key Nordic and Australian print publications, Maria quickly learned the importance and vast potential of the digital retail stratosphere.
In 2011, Maria took her first step into e-commerce, taking the position of Online Style Editor - quickly ascending to Style Director - at Net-A-Porter’s London office. It was during these pivotal years that rising competitor, Farfetch was fiercely disrupting the e-commerce fashion market with solid innovation, acquiring some of the industry’s brightest talent at rapid speed. Among them would be Knudsen, joining the brand in 2014.
Coming from Southern California, and now based in Dubai, Ramy has a background in both tech startups as well as venture capital. . At MEVP, he helped operate the region’s largest independent technology venture fund. Most recently, he has re-joined the startup world along with his co-founders, on a first of its kind Chat Commerce platform called Zbooni.
Tailored for merchants who rely on Instagram as a storefront, Zbooni helps these merchants automate their sales process - providing payment and delivery solutions integrated into Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Focusing on emerging market trends - Zbooni aims to help the regions up and coming designers and artisans enter into the digital age of commerce.
London College of Fashion
Paul is the Founder of MFM (mensfashionmagazine.com) and guest lectures on online retail and marketing at The University Arts of London and Regents University. Having been featured on the likes of GQ, Esquire, Vogue and The Huffington Post Paul helps fashion businesses increase their income online. Paul got started online 7 years ago launching his first online business 'Brighterman' which specialised in selling men's accessories. The online market is growing at a phenomenal rate with no signs of slowing and Paul helps clients understand the importance of using an online platform for your fashion brand. Paul got started online at 19 after losing his Dad, pushing Paul to leave his full time job and start an online business. He left his full time job just 2 months after he lost his Dad, wanting to make something of his life. Two years later he got asked to present at an event called The Fashion Colloquia at The London College of Fashion. He presented on the ‘Future of Menswear’ and got asked to present the following year alongside being asked to teach a short course on Social Media Marketing. He also has had the pleasure to consult and work with some exciting fashion brands and digital businesses. Advising on brand strategies and digital advertising, helping businesses is something he enjoys equally to helping individuals through the magazine.
Vice President of Mobile Division
Abdo Chlala is the Vice President of Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Headquarters.
Chlala is responsible for the mobile, tablet, and wearables portfolio; retail, channel, operator and enterprise sales; as well as marketing, content development and product launch activities across the region.
Prior to his current role, Chlala held the title of Chief Marketing Officer, where he was tasked with developing the marketing strategy for a variety of Samsung products and overseeing branding, consumer and marketing insights as well as public relations.
Before joining Samsung, Chlala was the Marketing Director at Procter & Gamble (P&G) NearEast. During his tenure, he drove the Hair Care category to be the fastest growing in the Central Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa regions.
Harpers Bazaar Arabia
Louise Nichol, 38, has over 15 years’ experience as a fashion journalist, and has lived in the UAE for the last decade, working as editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and, previously, Grazia Middle East. Throughout her career she has interviewed designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Donatella Versace and Alber Elbaz; celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker, Charlize Theron, Keira Knightley and Sofia Vergara; as well as retailers including Sir Philip Green and Sir Stuart Rose, giving her a unique 360-degree view of the fashion industry. While spearheading international fashion publications, Louise is passionate about celebrating Middle Eastern women, ensuring that Harper’s Bazaar Arabia is the essential multi-media platform for style with substance across the Gulf. She is mother to four-year-old daughter Leo, two-year-old son Fox and six-month-old son Kit.