Harper’s Bazaar Arabia is bringing in a new lead editor with a design-laden background.
Salma Awwad will next week take up the role of editor in chief of the fashion magazine, one of the only U.S. fashion titles in the region. She succeeds U.K.-born Louise Nichol, who spent about nine years at the title and ended her tenure with the March issue. Before that, the title was led by founding editor Rachel Sharp, who is Australian.
So it appears that Awwad is the first native of the region to lead the magazine in its nearly 12 years of existence, having been born in Kuwait to Egyptian parents who raised her in several places across the Middle East. She received her education in North America, and eventually went to The New School’s Parsons School of Design.
Before veering into media, Awwad had a stint in beauty marketing for L’Oréal and Narciso Rodriguez in the Middle East and worked for a few years in New York as a women’s wear designer for Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren. Then came a few years as a fashion editor and stylist with ITP Media Group, a Dubai-based media company, which Hearst works with to publish its handful of Middle East editions, including Stylist magazine and Arabian Business, and the Condé Nast brands publishing in the region. For the last three years, Awwad was head of design and strategy at Sawwad Fashion, a fashion label and consultancy she founded.
With all of this work in fashion in North America and Arab states in the Middle East, Awwad is eager to bring her experiences to the pages of Bazaar Arabia. The magazine prints 11 issues a year, but has a number of subbrands as well, like the biannual Bazaar Bride and Bazaar Junior, and the quarterly Bazaar Interiors and Bazaar Art.
“Taking the helm of the Middle East edition of one of the world’s most prestigious fashion brands is an enormous privilege,” Awwad said. “Having lived and worked in the industry across the USA, Canada and the [Gulf Cooperation Council], I have witnessed firsthand how Arab women are now leading the way when it comes to innovation, style and self-expression.”
She added that her focus as editor will be “championing their stories, visions and aspirations.”
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