A Time of Fashion, Editor’s Letter, May 2013

You may be surprised to learn that Kuwait boasts a thriving fashion scene. Less glitzy and more conservative than Dubai and Qatar, its buzzed-about neighbors in the Persian Gulf, the tiny emirate—smaller, in fact, than New Jersey—is a devout yet tolerant nation where the sight of women cloaked in traditional Muslim dress is more common than palm trees. Behind closed doors, however, all bets are off—or so I learned on a four-day visit there in mid-January.

At a private house party hosted by Fahad Al Hajiri and Alanood Al Sabah, the glamorous couple that owns Octium, the Kuwaiti jewelry brand profiled in this issue’s Designer Showcase, I glimpsed more of-the-moment duds than I’d seen since my last visit to New York Fashion Week.

Form-fitting dresses with peplum skirts, skin-tight leather pants, and knee-high boots crafted from gold python skin—Kuwaiti women are eager consumers of the latest designer fashions. They are also, bar none, the most magnificently bejeweled people (men included!) I have ever seen.

Here at JCK, we can relate to the Kuwaitis’ passion for fashion. Consult our annual preview of fall trends and our brilliant, color-coded accessories still life to bone up on style pointers for the months ahead.

You’d do well to complement our insights with those gleaned by watching some of television’s most popular shows. As contributor Ari Karpel reveals how the jewelry-wearing heroines on Revenge, Scandal, and The Carrie Diaries are influencing how women adorn themselves in real life.

Then turn to senior editor Rob Bates’ lucid report on the at-times-confusing world of fair trade labeling, a must-read for anyone who hopes to integrate sustainably and consciously produced gold into his or her showcases.

Left: one of Fahad and Alanood’s fashionable friends; right: the more conservative approach, seen on the Kuwaiti seaside

Elsewhere in this fat-as-a-phone-book issue, we offer what can best be described as a jewelry business starter kit: From contributor Martha White’s feature on the nation’s best jewelry training programs, to staffer Stephanie Schaefer’s timely article about the online crowd-­funding sensation Kickstarter, to senior ­editor Emili Vesilind’s useful primer on what to look for in a public relations firm, to contributor Amanda Baltazar’s instructive guide to succession planning, the issue contains essential information on how to start, fund, promote, and, ultimately, transition out of the jewelry business.

If the book weren’t so big, I’d suggest you lug it around the JCK Las Vegas show, which kicks off its third year at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the last day of this month. At the least, consult contributor Kristin Young’s feature on what retailers are planning to buy at the show before you finalize your own shopping strategy.

If we cross paths at the show, please let me know what you think of our work. If there’s anything we value more than a sixth sense for fashion, it’s feedback!

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