Jeanette is an incredibly gifted stylist and all-around human being; quite frankly she's one of the best we've seen. Here’s a bit of her story.
I had always loved fashion and beauty, and after high school I started working overseas in humanitarian work. I worked as a director of volunteers in Jordan, so when people first arrived my job was to make sure they understood basic Arabic, how to take a taxi, and how to shop the markets…
But the first thing I would do is take them shopping. I would assess their wardrobe, where they were working, and let them know that if they wanted to be effective in this environment they had to change how they dressed. They were all expats, and they didn’t know how to contextualize to the Middle East.
I did that work with more than a hundred volunteers a year, and the Arabs noticed. There’s a small percentage of women in Arab countries who can afford Louis Vuitton and other designer labels but they love their designers and they love dressing to the hilt and they took notice and wanted me to work with them. It was always about more than fashion—people understood that this was about image, about status, or about being effective in your work.
Wardrobing here is less about image, it’s about saving time and money and wanting to look and feel good. And we’ll talk more about that later…(see next week’s Blog)
I’d say what I’ve learned is that nobody—not here, not in the Middle East, not in refugee camps—wants to dress in rags. We all feel better when we’re dressed in clothes that we feel good about. That is something common. And there is something about getting dressed in the morning, about brushing your hair—it’s a ritual, no matter who you are or where you live-that expresses value.