A firm step from Debonair.
Serial entrepreneur Andrea Balaca is CEO of premium suit brand Debonair by Andrea Blk Boutique. She is partner in Jebal Al Ofoq Trading and also CEO of the brands BLK Boost Digital Marketing and GOLDN Ladies Club — both of which fall under the parent company, Jebal Al Ofoq. BLK Boost Digital Marketing goes all out to help businesses create their brand presence and achieve goals. “Our process,” it says, “is designed to empower your brand and outfit your business with the marketing tools needed to succeed, such as Social Media Management, SEO and Network Marketing.” The non-profit GOLDN Ladies Club attempts to raise awareness and inspire women to be successful and become leaders who influence others positively. It is a private body, and hosts female entrepreneurs from all over the UAE. Balaca is also deeply involved in community service initiatives, and one of her main life goals is to create a movement for education for children in need.
Debonair was launched this year, with a view to combine classic corporate styles and tailored silhouettes, and a self-assured attitude. It won Pret A Porter award at the Fashion Factor Show, which seeks ‘Quality on Catwalk’.
The boutique follows the motto ‘sell the problem you solve, not the product you have’. Balaca solves Gulf Today’s questions with her thoughtful answers
Why does fashion interest you?
Fashion gives me artistic and a creative energy. Just as painting, writing and photography can be used as forms of artistic expression, the creation and wearing of fashion can similarly express creative energy.
What is your “Style Prediction 2025”?
Based on key factors already affecting the fashion industry, profound change over the next years is inevitable; by the year 2025, clothes will biodegrade. Technological advances will make it common to grow what we wear. Our outfits monitor our health and the climate change refugees will spread new fashion influences around the world.
How does Dubai compare with Paris, London or New York as a fashion capital?
In line with its growing cultural influence, Dubai has been touted for some time now as an emerging fashion capital. The names Alexander McQueen or Vivienne Westwood, for example, are instantly associated with London. Dior with Paris and Marc Jacobs or Calvin Klein with New York. Today, Dubai can also boast a growing number of influential brands that it has given birth to — Lebanese designer Nathalie Trad, for example, launched her clutch business in 2013. The brand has come to be a favourite among celebrities such as Olivia Palermo and Sienna Miller. Bouguessa is another of the city’s exports. The abaya inspired brand launched by Faiza Bouguessa is a favourite of Beyonce. Others include L’afshar, Bil Arabi and Taller Marmo.
Andrea Balaca is a serial entrepreneur.
You won an award at Fashion Factor’s Pret-a-Porter event. Can you highlight the qualities of the design you presented?
The collection that entered Fashion Factor was a black and white business attire line. I started to create these models two years ago and launched the online boutique, this year in January. After my father’s death, we created two perfumes as well in his name — Constantine & Sillage.
What does the Andrea Blk Boutique do?
Debonair by Andrea Blk Boutique introduces a vision of an open access to education. It builds on a community and creates a continual development of educational programming and initiatives that are designed to encourage equal educational opportunities for children. Debonair offers a range of tailored work and career dresses that will make women stand out and be laser- focused on success.
Why did you name your power suits for women Debonair, a feature usually associated with men?
The meaning of ‘debonair’ is to be confident, self-assured, smart, gracious, powerful, cultured, with a sophisticated charm. Why cannot it be used for women who have these exact same qualities?
How do you become famous from being merely chic?
That was my first flagship course that I created for all the chic women who had a desire of becoming famous influencers. What does it take to be an influencer these days? Just some random content? What do we actually do to help people and make them follow us? I started from the idea of teaching people around the world how to create their own course, in order to help other people’s lives. And from here, a chic woman who works hard to create something for people in need, has to become famous.
Is Andrea the designer different from Andrea the social influencer? Are they both different from Andrea the entrepreneur?
Andrea the designer is the same as the social influencer and the entrepreneur. First, you have to have the skills of entrepreneurship, leadership; then you must have the talent of creativity, mixed with the passion for networking. I was born in an entrepreneur’s family, and I guess that prepared me for everything that I am today. Everything I do is with passion and I live for this.
You have journeyed from Romania to the UAE — and have lived here for over a decade. How has the trip from the Carpathians to the Khaleej affected you?
That was the best decision I made for myself. I discovered here what safety means, the kindness, the help that the government is giving us, the relations that I’ve built, the business opportunities I have had … here I met my husband as well, and it is a country that I call Home.
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