Marriam Mossalli: The Middle East's Fashion Ambassador is honored by First Lady Michelle Obama & speaks at MIT
Marriam Najeeb Mossalli’s career as a fashion editor and luxury consultant has made her an established name in the international fashion industry. And with her invitation to the Celebration of Design Gala, hosted by none other than the United States of America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama; her status as a leader and ambassador for the regional fashion scene in the Middle East became cemented.
In conjunction with the National Design Week in New York, the Celebration of Design Gala was held at the newly redecorated White House in Washington, DC and played host to America’s fashion leaders and executives. Marriam Mossalli was the only fashion industry professional invited from the Middle East. A fashion business adviser, writer, lecturer and entrepreneur, Marriam was recognized as the Founder of Shoes & Drama (www.shoesanddrama.com) and Niche Arabia, Saudi’s leading luxury and fashion marketing consulting firm. “I think it was a revalidation of my decade of work in the field. As the only Arab fashion professional invited to attend, it was an honor to be singled out and recognized by the First Lady herself and my Western peers,” said Marriam. “I’ve always been on a mission, whether its through Niche, Shoesanddrama.com, or personal projects I take on, to be an ambassador for my country and act as a representative for the innate talent that is being produced in our region. Being able to represent the Middle East at such a prestigious event, was an honor, but also an ambition I’ve had from day one. “
Earlier that week, Marriam was invited as a fashion entrepreneur and cultural activist to CULTURUNNERS Public Storytelling Symposium was a joint initiative between Art Jameel, Edge of Arabia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Program in Art, Culture & Technology. It was part of a weeklong gathering of artists, scientists, curators and scholars to develop technologies for cultural collaboration between the Middle East and United States.
The event represented the beginning of a long-term collaboration between the faculty and students at MIT's Art, Culture and Technology Program, and artists and curators invited by the Edge of Arabia and the Freer & Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institute. “While we narrated our individual stories, together we were archiving interconnected artistic journeys between the Middle East and the United States,” she explained.
Through a series of curated artists’ expeditions and collaborations, the CULTURUNNERS project allows for grassroots encounters, linking individuals and communities across physical and psychological borders. At the heart of the project will be the development of bespoke technologies and clothing to support artists in exploring, communicating and archiving alternative and often—unofficial histories of interconnected cultures.
Today, Marriam has emerged as one of the region’s leading thinkers on fashion and digital media. International brands and the media regularly call upon Marriam’s expertise. Her instagram, @shoesanddrama, was recognized in 2014 by Vogue magazine (US edition) as one of the top 15 most inspiring style accounts in the Gulf. In her consulting work with Niche, she acts as a bridge between the industry’s most gifted creative and business talents and shapes strategies for optimal penetration into the unique market segments of the GCC.