Meet Yasmine Kenawi: The Rising Creative
The fashion industry in the Middle East is lucky to be the birthplace of phenomenal talents. Ever since the spotlight was cast on some gifted stylists, brilliant creative projects are taking place one after the other. The Egyptian talent, Yasmine Kenawi, caught everyone's attention with her visionary work both inside and outside the region. After graduating high school, Kenawi moved to New York City to study fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Not long after, she decided to take her passion a step further and turn it into a legitimate business. She has worked with stars like Lara Scandar and Malak El-Husseiny, utilized the most sought after brands and trends, and created celebrated projects. The highly passionate and fashion forward stylist Yasmine opts for marking her name on an international level with her singular taste. Keep reading for an exclusive scoop about the shining stylist and creative director who's name you'll definitely hear more often.
What is one thing that most people may not know about you?
The one thing that people may not know about me is that I've played tennis for almost eighteen years and my grandfather was and still is the only professional Egyptian tennis player to reach number eleven in the global tennis tennis rankings.
Where did you grow up?
At the age of ten, I moved to Khobar, Saudi Arabia and lived there for eight years. However I was always back and forth between there and Egypt. At sixteen, I moved to Houston for two years, then New York City for college. So I would say that I grew up between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
When did you start getting into fashion?
Wow. My parents knew I would work in the fashion industry ever since I started walking. At age four, I would prepare a runway show with all my mom's clothes, accessories, and heels and I would strut down a red carpet for my family to watch. So I guess I've known it my entire life.
How would you describe your fashion taste?
I would say classy, chic, trendy, colorful, athletic (I love nike sneakers), contemporary, and unique.
What are five fashion items that you can’t live without?
My Nike sneakers, Fendi bag, pointed toe heels, high waisted pants, and some really unique sunglasses.
What’s one project that you’ve worked on that you would consider your favorite so far? And why?
It's really hard to say which project would be my favorite. There's always a certain aspect of each project I do that I fall in love with. However, I would say that my favorite would be the editorial I worked on with for Radical starring Malak El Husseiny. I particularly like that one because I actually dreamt the entire project in my sleep. The next day, I woke up and set up the shoot and made it happen. I did the styling and creative direction and it turned out exactly how I planned, so I think this one will stick with me the most. I feel like it challenged me as a stylist and creative.
Who inspires you most from the fashion industry?
Anna Katsanis, a fashion stylist based in NYC. She's super cool, genuine, and extremely creative. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology like I did and is always humble and ready to help any emerging stylist in the industry. I message her on Instagram for advice and she's always there with an answer. Another stylist I'm always inspired by is Tonne Good, Vogue's fashion director. She's a genius!
What are some challenges you faced when you first started your career?
There's always different kinds of challenges. I considered myself extremely lucky since I already had a few connections in Egypt that were able to help me build my name. However, when I first started I was barely making more than 1000 Egyptian pounds. It was really hard to deal with certain people and the New York City to Egypt transition was not easy. There are still certain challenges I face right now that ties to professionalism and business conduct in Egypt, but I never let it bring my business down and always strive for a solution.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Honestly, I started practicing yoga and working out more often. This helps destress my body and keeps me very positive. Also, I learned how to deal the right way with people. I believe in my work and myself and never let anyone stop me from doing that.
What’s your goal as a stylist and creative director?
My goal is to have as much international exposure as possible. I don't want to stick to the MENA region forever. Expanding is definitely a long-term goal of mine.
What’s next for Yasmine Kenawi?
Whats next? Definitely working on more creative shoots and challenging myself. I really like to think out of the box and my goal for the rest of the year is to really focus on that.
Exclusive Grail Content Youmna Halawa, Contributing Editor