My West London Life

Rasha Khouri

May
24

Founder of online east-meets-west fashion store Dia (formerly Dia Diawan) Rasha Khouri reveals her fave designers, fashion era and latest discoveries

Where do you live and why?

London is my home, but I find myself on a plane quite regularly, scouting new talent for Dia.

What inspired you to start Dia and how long has it been going?

My background was banking in the city – primarily following the luxury goods sector. I noticed that there was very little attention paid to non-Western fashion. Yet I knew through my work, travels and general interest in the sector that there was a lot of talent out there. Many of the top designers who dress celebrities come from a non-Western background: Elie Saab is Lebanese, Hussein Chalayan is Turkish and Body Amr is originally from Oman. On the other hand, most Western e-commerce sites – from Net-A-Porter to Matches – don’t cater primarily to a customer base outside of Europe and North America. So I decided to dive in. We started by building a website that talked about fashion.

What does dia mean?

In Arabic, it describes a shimmer. In Hindi, dia signifies a dazzling personality. In Spanish, it represents the day. It is rooted in the Greek word for wholeness and is embedded in a multitude of words such as dialect, and diamond. Dia celebrates the diverse and the elegant.

Who are your customers?

Whether they are style-savvy shoppers or global nomads who stumbled upon our beautiful collections as they scoured the boutiques of Istanbul, Beirut or Sydney, they are constantly searching for an alternative to mainstream fashion.

Who are your fave Middle Eastern designers?

If I were to say one particular designer at the moment I would say Asudari, who is based in London.

Any fave London designers?

We stock some great designers based in London: Rana Salam, Domakaya, Hassan Hajjaj (designer of Momo’s t-shirts) and Mimi Bijoux.

What should we be wearing this season?

I am still hung up on the casual ‘80s look: the boulder shoulders, the metal studded accessories, the patterned leggings. All of it, but not all at once of course!

Where were your last three travel destinations?

Beirut, Kuwait and Istanbul. Istanbul was particularly special this year as I was invited to Istanbul Fashion Days, their first Fashion Week promoting local designers. I made some great discoveries there: Asli Filinta who makes fantastic scarves; OYE, whose bathing suits we’ll be introducing this summer and Kismet, who makes the most beautiful pendants reworking the evil eye motif with encrusted diamonds and precious stones.

What do you miss when you’re away?

My closet – I’m not a big fan of living out of a suitcase, so coming home and having everything folded back neatly in my closet makes me happy.

What’s in your west London black book?

My local gastropub, The Abingdon [54 Abingdon Road, W8]; my local Middle Eastern grocer on Napier Road [W14], breakfast at Kensington Square Kitchen [9 Kensington Square, W8], a cup of tea in the cafe in Holland Park, and my absolute favourite boutique: Butler and Wilson [189 Fulham Road, SW3].

What’s on your west London cultural hit list?

My favourites are Rose Issa’s gallery [269 Kensington High Street, W8], and the Gate Cinema [87 Notting Hill Gate, W11].

What’s your fave local Middle Eastern restaurant?

Chez Marcelle [34 Blythe Road, W14] is a one-woman show. Marcelle’s offers the yummiest home-made Lebanese cooking. It takes a while to get your food, but well worth the wait.

www.dia-boutique.com

John Ferry

November
1

An ex-city boy who launched a fitness business in 2016, John Ferry tells us why 'bad and conflicting information' can be detrimental to your lifestyle and gives us some insider tips on how to achieve those health and fitness goals without falling for fad diets or succumbing to drastic measures

1. Who is John Ferry?

I’m an ex-city boy who spent 16 years working in London, Hong Kong, and Singapore. I returned to my home to Queens Park in 2016 to start a fitness business. I’ve been a PT since then and recently moved into online trainer space to focus on weight loss coaching for women.

2. Why the

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Derek “DeCutter” Clement

October
16

Derek 'De Cutter' Clement, a renowned celebrity hairstylist, Afro hair care expert, and entrepreneur, was one of the UK's first black British hairstylists to have a West End Salon. Formally known for his dedication to black hair, which started in the early 80's, he worked with the legendary Splinters (one of the 1st Afro Hair Salons in the West End) which enabled him to style celebrities such as Billy Ocean, Patti Labelle, The Three Degrees and many more.

When you did you first develop a love for hairdressing and how did you get started?

My journey essentially started in the late ‘70s and onwards, and actually, hairdressing found me. The day that steered the wheel of destiny for me was when I accompanied my girlfriend to the hairdressers and while seated… Read more →