A Chat with…..Mohamed Kashif Joosub – Chief Photographer/Managing Director, Light House Studio Al Quoz

1.     The studio works on a concept of `combining work with pleasure’, offering an amiable environment. How did the concept assume shape?

The concept is simple, yet very effective and powerful, I make sure that my staff enjoy what they do, by doing team building exercises such as Karaoke nights, BBQ nights, and fun photoshoots, which brings the best out of them, keeping them motivated, and this reflects through our excellent customer service.

2.     What is the USP of your studio that gives it a distinctive edge?

It is the tools that we offer, from having tied up with the best quality photographic and video brands, and having a young vibrant creative team which have specialized skills, and giving them the opportunity to unleash their imagination, and this is why we are known as the best in the market.

3.      Can you elaborate on your production services and how is it customized to suit individual client requirements?

Every client wants something different, fresh or new, and there is no job that is too small or too big that cannot be accomplished. Our photo and film crew cater to corporates, commercials, weddings, fashion, products, and personal shoots. We work on the clients budget, sharing ideas and advising them how we can structure the project to suit their needs. Saving a bit for your client, will always makethem come back.

4.     What value-add on comes with the studio rental package?

Studio rental is for individual photographers or agencies that need to hire out the space, and with this comes, the studio (3,000 sq ft), which has infinity curves, spacious and modern make-up area, large dressing/changing room, complimentary soft drinks, water, tea/coffee, and high speed WIFI internet. We are currently running asummer promotion, which includes studio lighting and backdrops with the studio rental.

5.     Studio rental, photography, photography equipment rental are some of the services you offer. Which is most sought after in a market like Dubai?

Each category has its own cliental, and since we service all of them, we gain market share from each one, and there isn’t any that supersede the other, as it works on seasons. E.g. During the winter its wedding season, and also photographers like shooting outdoors, so then the equipment rental and photography gets busier, but during summer, the studio hire is more popular for shoots.

6.     Staying abreast of technology is a challenge, with particular reference to contemporary photography. How do you ensure your studio offers the best?

We have to keep upgrading equipment, and increasing our knowledge on new technologies. We monitor International trends, and see what the market demands.

7.     Do you also offer training to amateur photographers who are shutter-happy?

Yes, we do conduct workshops and offer internships. We give them the opportunity to take their photography skills to the next level, by guiding them with the tools and how to operatethem, and allowing them the freedom to create their own style.

8.     How different are the requirements of this region versus certain other parts of the globe, for instance the West?

This region is a bit more sensitive and moderate, and we have to make sure we respect the culture and religion. We do cater to the Islamic community, by having our own dedicated female team that do the filming, photos and editing.

9.     Can you elaborate on any of the recent corporate events that your outfit was involved in?

We recently worked on the Arabian Travel Market event at Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, where we filmed the event and had a photobooth, which we had taken instant photos and printed, then put in a frame and given to the guests. We also covered events for Chanel, Coca Cola, Damas, Bloomingdales and Emirates.

10.  How has the response been so far to all that your studio offers?

Business is excellent, and is expanding rapidly. We recently branched out in the video and film industry, which has shown a phenomenal growth and we expect to recruitmore people very soon.


A Chat with Indian Fashion Designer Aanchal Chand

1.     What should the fashion label `Aanchal Chanda’ mean to those with good sartorial tastes?

“Aanchal Chanda” label is characterized by sensuality, femininity and strength of a woman; from very early on when I started developing the brand, my approach was to empower women and develop a brand that not only makes them look good butonly encompasses their strength and attitude that is reflected on their fashion presentation. Women wearing Aanchal Chanda are about individualism and are driven with determination to overcome any challenge.


2.     More about your line, designs, styles, hues etc.

My line is all about comfort, playfulness and glamour. The focus of every piece is colours and embroidery with lovelysilhouettes. When I was deliberating my new line, I wanted to bring comfort to the collection whatever I came up with needed to fit that focus. I opted topursue and focus to design beautiful kaftans, tunics, jalabiyas and short dresses that offer comfort and style.  When I started the line in 2009 in New York, I launched with a capsule collection of vibrant colour dresses that aimed to provide comfort and glamour simultaneously with the essence of easy to wear. This was extremely vital – to give it a signature style, I added intricate detailing of embroidery. This has now become a trademark of the brand across the collection. The style has remained true to its original concept, feminine aesthetics, flirty silhouettes and ethnic embroidery with bright and rich hues. Because the brand is diversified I’m able to cater to different markets – every season we produce collection for New York, Paris and Dubai and each market has different style preference – for the Middle East I usually combine traditional influences with modern energy that dwells in the region.



3.     What inspires your designs?

My inspiration comes from women, nature and everyday life. We are surrounded by nature’s beauty and it’s my appreciation that is reflected in my collection. I must say that this is the primary inspiration for my line; my muse has always been a woman on -the-go, modernwoman who juggles a demanding career and a hectic lifestyle. Today women’s role is diverse and fashion has become an outlet of expression – strong, dynamic and powerful.


4.      More about your other shows / exhibitions?

I started showcasing at fashion shows and exhibitions in New York – that’s where I launched the brand and the collection. I was lucky to receive encouraging feedback from eth market and we now stock in the city which is a great blessing. I have also exhibited in Paris, London and Dubai; these fashion capitals have become prominent venues for my brand and I’m hoping to reach to other markets as well. In February 2012, I’m looking at opportunities to showcase at Pure London, during the London Fashion Week and this is yet another milestone for Aanchal Chanda’s fashion line.


5.     What are the basic dos and don’ts with your designs?

The most important element is to be comfortable so if the dress fits you wear it with pride and confidence. Aanchal Chanda is about creating your own style, blending colours and accessorizing. One should be able to follow and adapt individual styles and charisma and this is very important. Mixing colors with different styles is an art and one should be careful when doing so, although it could be dubbed creative but it can alsocome out totally wrong. It’s important to be comfortable first and that’s what the brand brings, a collection that is easy to wear. A fashion statement isabout combining a dress with accessories that compliment that final look and that is what we recommend to the fashionistas.


6.     How affordable is your fashion line?

The brand has different line extension which makes it affordable to own an Aanchal Chanda label. The idea behind this was to ensure that every woman is able to own a piece from my collection. The pieces are well priced across the board and this is primarily because we wanted to cater to wider reach. We never wanted the label o be too pricey and deter women from purchase so it was with great care that we maintain quality at areasonable price. We are not a high street fashion brand but maintain an affordable prce tag.


7.     How is the fashion scene in New York? Is it hugely different from the Middle East?

Each city has a different dynamic and that is reflected in fashion as well. The cities bring their own unique points of view when it comes to fashion, style and attitude. New York is about energy, trend setters and the city’s vibrancy that can easily be felt the minute you land. The city combines its creative lifestyle and dynamic across the board. The Middle East is still very much influenced by culture and like Dubai, a cosmopolitan city; fashion is very much influenced by the dynamic of different backgrounds. Fashion in this region is a way of life with women exposed to so many different local, regional and international brands.  Women here have great taste and appreciation for craftsmanship and uniqueness of the product and this is a perfect setting for any fashion brand.


8.     The AM to PM wear is a new concept. Kindly elaborate.

Aanchal Chanda’s label is about the woman –on-the-go, it is in line with todays’ lifestyle where women are exposed to different functions and events throughout the day. Each piece can be tagged as AM TO PM wear, because the outfit can be worn during the day, whether to work or shopping as well as they work well for evening events whether its dinner or red carpet. The pieces can be dressy with appropriate accessories. The label creates chic, glamorous and elegant prêt line that is ready to wear that minute you pick it off the rack. The colors are the main attraction along with the exclusive rich embroidery and craftsmanship.


9.     A dress can truly bring out the power of women as your Press release states. Please explain in greater detail.

Aanchal Chanda label is about combining all the feel good factors for women. The line takes into consideration the various elements like colours, cuts and embroidery and encompasses these into a dress. Instead of differentiating and categorizing them, I embrace the factors andapply them into each garment making each outfit a statement in itself. I tend to use bright, rich and deep colours in my pieces which are complimented by feminine and fun cuts with bold prints and extraordinary embroidery to create a unique outfit. Aanchal Chanda brand is about attitude and the label delivers that.


10.  What lies in the road aheadwith regard to your label?

ForAanchal Chanda, the mission is to continue building the brand across emerging markets as well as expand distribution in the existing channels. It’s important to continue creating awareness of the collection as well as the brand and its portfolio in several markets. As a brand Aanchal Chanda has grown tremendously over the years and we are determined to maintain the outreach. We are looking at brand expansion in markets that have limited variety and we will be targeting islands like Malta and Tahiti as we establish the brand in new markets. The brand has plans to develop different line extension but above all we are looking also looking at opportunities to empower women in India and are working to expand the production team, giving women employment opportunities and encourage them to work and be independent.  


Aanchal Chanda stocks at Mumbai Se, Sauce, Candella, Graffika

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