Sofia Guellaty is the Senior Editor of Style.com/Arabia. The Tunisian beauty is quickly becoming the reigning queen of fashion in the Middle East. One can only describe her as an Arabian bubbly approachable Anna Wintour. Along with her team she introduced a sharper than usual approach in critiquing new collections or projects, a process that shocked some but was welcomed with open arms by others. In a couple of years, her work with Condé Nast has not gone unnoticed. She now writes a monthly column at Vanity Fair France.
Luxury Shoppers interviewed Sofia about her job, being a fashion editor, and luxury…
You are the senior editor of Style Arabia, How did you land this dream job and how did working for Condé Nast change your life?
I believe in setting ambitious goals for yourself, I always knew where I wanted to go and I made sure to take the right path to get there. I started interning at fashion houses at the age of 16, writing as a freelancer for French magazines at 19, founded my own publication (Unfair published in Abu Dhabi) at 23, and took it from there, I guess.
With apps like Instagram, everyone fancies themselves an editor, do you think that the role of a fashion editor lost part of its luster and exclusivity?
It’s not about who will get the best shot from the front row, or who will retweet a photo from an event, an Editor is someone who knows fashion history, understands the fashion market, is an excellent writer and/or an excellent stylist. Being an Editor is a full time career and it takes years to be a good one. Our job is to translate what is seen on the runway and in the street, beyond the clothes, beyond the product. I am not worried at all by the democratization of fashion commentary; I believe that it teaches Editors to learn how to become more approachable or more elitists ( if they choose to go that route). If you are asking me if I think that Instagram celebrities or the majority of bloggers are Editors, then my answer is: absolutely not!
Describe a typical day of work...
We use an Editorial Table to fill in the posts. Every morning I approve ideas from the team, or assign articles. Then, I read their articles and make my comments, I also write my own features and work with our publisher on special projects. I usually never have a lunch break and carry on until late at night. Being the Editor of a website can be quite exciting and exhausting at the same time but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I truly love my job.
You always support up-and-coming Arab designers, who do think is the most accomplished of the new talents?
I have my list, and it constantly changes, but my radar has been set on Nathalie Trad, Reem Al Kanhal, Madiyah Al Sharqi and Wadha Al Hajri for a while now. I believe they have the potential of transforming our market for the better.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love watching very stupid TV shows; it calms my mind after a stressful day and gives me a deep knowledge of pop culture. I am also passionate about History; I adore documentaries, visiting monuments, and learning about ancient times. In reality, when I am not at work I turn into a massive nerd.
What are your favorite cities, and your favorite hangouts in each one?
Istanbul is beautiful, a walk in the old city, a visit of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia completed with a bit of shopping at the Souk and a dinner on the Bosphorus is ideal. I lived in Paris for ten years so I call it my second home. New York is always so much fun, Jaipur is magical, but my heart belongs to Tunis and my favorite place to hangout there is the small white and blue town of Sidi Bou Said.
What does luxury mean to you?
Luxury is the art of making raw materials become magical under expert hands. Luxury is elegance with soul, intelligence with grace, rarity with generosity, and most of all a qualitative experience.
Article by Felwa Alhudaithy