the loft

Career Stories: The Loft

It’s my first Career story, yaaayyy!!! I always love to be inspired by career stories, and it’s not new to read one of them, but for me to be around some creative minds, doesn’t happen quite a lot, so I was super excited!

When I was in Jeddah last month and knew about The Loft, an incredible studio for create, design, film making and photograph most of the amazing (fashion and non-fashion) projects and ads I saw around the city. I immediately wanted to meet the three co-founders aka wonder women who make it all happen.

So today, Ruba, super chic talented girl, one of the three musketeers, and a graphic designer, who will talk about her work and how they got started.

Plus I couldn’t help myself taking some images for the sublime studio after the interview, I was so in love with the details that you could find in each office that represent the individual characters in every girl.

First, Where did you grow up?

I’m Lebanese and I grew up in Beirut and i came to Saudi only 3 years ago, Nada is Saudi, she grew up here and Farah is Lebanese but born and raised in Jeddah.

Why did you move to Jeddah?

Simply I got married and my husband works here, like any Lebanese expat we come here for work, and Nada is from here, and Farah family all moved here since the war in Lebanon.

How did you got together?

Me and Nada used to work in the same place when I first came, Nada was actually friend’s with Farah’s sister since school times, and Farah went to New york to study film making for 2 years and when she came back, coincidence brought Farah and Nada back together and they became friends again. Nada and I was frustrated with our jobs and we wanted a solution for that, it was just convenient, Farah didn’t know what to do in Jeddah with her film making degree because it could be very limiting, Nada has just taking fashion photography course in London, so we all felt like we have potential but we don’t know where the outlet would be, so we decided to start something together which is The Loft.IMG_0213What did you study and where?

I studied graphic design in AUB (American university of Beirut), Nada studied graphic design in Dar Al-Hekma, and Farah studied film making in New york film academy.

When you were growing up, what was your dream job?

It was either design or diplomacy. I actually had a cousin that was a source of inspiration for me, he was one of the first graduates of graphic design in the Middle East because AUB had the first design program in the region, I was into arts in school but I didn’t know how to translate that in college, when I went to graphic design, like most of us, I didn’t have an idea about what exactly I would be doing then, I just knew that it’d a satisfying creative outlet, something I wanted to do for living, but I really didn’t know what are the possibilities or the potentials of such a degree.

The discipline is relatively new to the region, people are getting more and more familiar with it but at the time, it wasn’t very common I think, up till now people have misconception what a graphic designer does.IMG_0186For those people how would you explain your job?

Graphic design is visual problem solving, every grief you’re faced with a problem that you need to execute and find a visual solution for it and it’s up to a designer to be creative enough.

What was your first job?

Was early on back when I was in school, mostly it was ushering. There was an office like a visitors bureau in our school because our school was part of the AUB so they share the campus. What we did is any guests that come to the school they come to us and we work as tour guys so we take them through the campus introduce them to the buildings, the history behind each building, we also hosted a lot of events (concerts, conferences, theater, etc..) and we used to usher these events so we’d help the visitors be seated, take care of the organizations of the events, so we watched a lot of free concerts hahah, the pay wasn’t great but we’ve got to see a lot of concerts for free…

Lucky you, I was paying in my city for these concerts!
IMG_0225From your prescriptive, Where the Arabic fashion industry is heading? Since you’ve worked with many from the region…

I think like any thing else, there’s a lot happening some are experimenting, some people claiming something that they’re not but at the same time, there are a few names that are upcoming with very clean creative minds and they’re orienting there brands in a very great way…

Like Whom?

From the clients that we’ve worked with, there’s Sutra, Reem Al-Kanhal and there’s Abaya brand here which is local and I don’t think the brand aims to expand internationally, Shehana, she’s very consistent in the quality of her collections, she invests in her fabrics, the photo shoots that she sets up, she’s very open to ideas and wants to improve, she’s consistent in the timing, for instance, what happens is a lot of local brands are not too serious about it as a business, it’s more of a hobby than it’s an actual business for them…

May be it’s just a business for them and they’re not that passionate about it.

I don’t want to be too judgmental about it, I think there’s a certain guidance that is lacking in the structure of it as a fashion brand, what they are trying to say as a brand, what does your brand represent. Every fashion brand wants a variety between one collection and the next but there’s a general spirit or a general creative direction to every brand that needs to stay consistent so there’s a certain education behind the creative directing behind every brand that’s can be improved and as well as the marketing, sometimes when you take pictures on your own, you’re hurting your brand if they are really bad quality images that says a lot about your brand, I think people are taking it lightly when you invest in a well art directed and a well styled fashion photo shoot, you’re not spending so much money because at the end of the day it’s an investment and if you want your brand to have a certain standard, you need to invest in that, a huge part of achieving statements in your fashion brand, is through investing in fashion photography.

I don’t know why it pop up in my head, Zara, I mean I love the brand, and it’s not a high fashion brand but in the same time, they really know the power of the image and how that would affect their name,

Yea I think Zara is a good example.IMG_0221

What’s the biggest challenge of your job?the-loft_fashion-paradoxes-photos-1

I think is ironically making the client take what he paid for. Because a lot of
times the client would come and he has something in mind and what I’d like to educate my clients of is that we offer you consultation and advice and we don’t just execute a design that you have in mind, so you pay a price for design/photography/film, because you get the full service, if we’re talki
ng about fashion for instance, you come and show us your collection, we study this collection, and research the inspiration and come up with an art direction suitable for both, the spirit of the collection, while being true to the brand as well, and we style it accordingly, always keeping in mind what’s trending, so there’s a lot of things to consider when we’re putting together a photo shoot for instance, when we still have clients coming to us and telling us I want to do this and this and that, if you are set on doing this and this and that, you could get any photographer that knows technically how to operate a camera, and you’d be able to achieve that, in The Loft for example, there’s a fee for art direction, there’s a fee for styling, there’s a fee for photography and it’s not just about clicking images  -As much as we appreciate those who technically know how to operate a camera- but I think what makes us different is that we represent the whole package, it’s a full study… so we’re here to help you and that what you’ve paid for.

“Every fashion brand wants a variety between one collection and the next but there’s a general spirit or a general creative direction to every brand that needs to stay consistent”

What do you enjoy the most in your job?

The actual design. I love when I get the brief and we’re agreed on everything and have a clear picture of what that clients needs and designing it, the part before all the feedback and the technicalities of the logos… that process is my favorite.

IMG_0215What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?

More than one I guess, one is always be well rounded, a designer is not about your ability is to illustrate or to paint, it’s about your ability to find a creative visual solution, any time you have a new project research it very well, backup your work with strong concept, something inspiring, always stay on the outlook for anything new that’s going around, make sure that what’s your deigning has not been done before because the design achieve is really huge so at any point you might be repeating something that has already been done, always make sure that what’s your doing stands out in a certain way, there would be similarities between few things going around but each one has to have unique character at the end of the day. And finally always be in the outlook for inspirations, it’s very important to go to inspiring events, be around inspiring people, have inspiring conversations around various things, don’t have to be technical design things but and it’ll all eventually lead to richer design.

What’s your dream for your career?

My dream is The Loft to be recognized regionally and internationally hopefully, and to increase the portfolios of the loft not only through the clients projects but through designing projects that we do in our own, like personal initiative projects.

There you go, Big thanks to Ruba, and more to come with an inspiring interviews, kisses to you all!


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