Safi Rabah is one of the incredibly talented designers behind the Juliette N. White label and got his start in the Kuwait fashion industry in 2008, when he relocated there from Tunisia after graduating with a degree in fashion marketing management. He’d just gotten the chance to work with an established Tunisian designer who was working in Kuwait at the time. After working as a creative assistant for two years, Rabah set off on his own, ultimately landing a designing gig at Juliette N. White.
The label is known for its theatrical and bold designs, much like the designs of Rabah’s own design hero, Alexander McQueen. They are gowns meant for the red carpet— which is exactly where they’ve ended up. Rabah and the Atelier has dressed a number of local and international superstars, working closely with celebrity stylists to dream up custom creations for the stars.
Speaking of stars, Rabah counts Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce as his dream clients (and we couldn’t agree more - two iconic queens!). Calling them “the sexiest women in the world,” Rabah enthuses about the gorgeous women's’ ability to make his “dresses more elegant” simply by putting them on.
Rabah and I spoke at length about his other dreams too, like his professional aspirations and goals. Soft-spoken with a quiet confidence that immediately disarms, Rabah is a man with a plan- even if he doesn’t quite yet know what that is.
Wisely, he says of the journey: "You have to suffer, you have to be patient, especially if you are ambitious…and if you want to achieve what you are dreaming of, you will achieve it no matter what.”
That does mean eventually leaving the Middle East for the young designer. Where he is uncertain though he feels a particular affinity for Australia. He sees it as a kind of final frontier for fashion, likening it to “another planet,” a largely undiscovered treasure trove of innovative new ideas.
As for finding new ideas in the immediate present, Rabah says “there is no limit [to finding inspiration] and then pauses before continuing…”life, nature, fabric, texture”. While he does ultimately want to leave Kuwait, he is thrilled with the openness of the culture in the city. He is proud that it is different than many other Middle Eastern cities, citing a woman’s ability to wear “high heels, make-up, shorts— anything she want!”
His realistic, humble and ultimately optimistic attitude is priming Rabah to get anything he wants.