In a season that celebrates flashy fashion, free-spiritedness, and female empowerment, Level Shoes invited five dynamic and revered women to share their thoughts and feelings of the 70s. Conjuring memories of eclectic style, electrifying dance and the emergence of escapism, the women discuss freedom of expression and its lasting influence on popular culture and fashion.
Inspired by the pivotal decade through the 70s and early 80s which was loudly defined by disco, the women embraced their inner dancing queens and elaborated on how this moment in time paved the way for women today.
Disco with Level Shoes
Patricia Millns – The Artist
Patricia, who has lived in the Gulf region for more than 30 years, is something of an institution within the regional art scene. The charmingly affable artist relives her memories of the 70’s and the emergence of disco with Level Shoes.
“Everything was wrong, and then… then we got Abba and John Travolta, and you had escapism again. The disco ball was the seventies because you could use the fun and the flitter, wear makeup and party with David Bowie in Beirut going round and round indefinitely with fabulous lights bouncing off everywhere and people just moving and having fun without really thinking too much about anything.”
Salwa Katkhuda – The Growth Manager
Salwa, a Jordanian-Canadian strategy and growth manager at Little Thinking Minds started her career working in Silicon Valle. She then decided to leave her job to start working at one of the start-ups that she had initially invested in. Here are her views on women empowerment today.
“I definitely think that it’s still a man’s world and I think women are always going against the wave and trying harder in every situation. In this day and age with all the technology, we still see in cinema and tech that women are oppressed. The media has made it very easy for people to talk about their issues so I think that’s why causes and issues are surfacing and having an impact on the masses way faster than they did in the seventies and I think that’s the way the trend is going to go. The disco era represented freedom, women empowerment, individualism, and self-expression. You finally got to be who you wanted to be without being ashamed of it. It gave people a voice and they did it with style.”
Mariam Al Badr – The Communications Director
Mariam, a corporate communications director at Dolphin Energy is an Emirati national who previously worked at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs. Mariam touched on the importance of being a strong woman in today’s world both as a leader in her business and as a mother of two young boys.
“A lot of times people think women need to be quiet or shy or muted and I think when you’re a very straightforward kind of woman it is appreciated. The most important title that I have is being a mother – that’s where I find my strength and my passion. I was lucky to grow up in a family where my father told me that I could do whatever I wanted to do; I didn’t have any restrictions or felt stifled in any way. It took me a while to grow into my own and to become my own woman and become confident, but I really feel like today, right now, I’m so myself.
Elissa Freiha – The Investor
Elissa, co-founder of a women-only investment platform WOMENA, is changing the face of investment in the MENA region – one woman at a time. Elissa shares her own experience on empowering women through business and entrepreneurship.
“I stumbled into the women empowerment genre and when I did that I understood that there are so many struggles that we as women go through globally and I lived in a delusion before thinking we live in a post-feminist society but we don’t, we have so much more work to do. What’s really interesting is that back in the sixties and seventies there was such a big movement in civil rights and it wasn’t just in terms of women feeling freer and strong but the whole ethnic pride that you got and especially now in 2017 we are seeing such a dramatic re-defining of what it means to be unique and be yourself that we are taking it to another level. When I hear the word disco, I immediately think of an explosion of energy that has come after some real constraint times. I think of colors and sparkles and strength; I just see a lot of energy coming from people”
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Emma Sawko – The Entrepreneur
Health food champion Emma of Comptoir102, and Wild & the Moon lifestyle concept-stores and organic restaurants in Dubai, is best described as a true Parisian with an effortless edge. She radiates femininity, and as an entrepreneur reveals which women she looks up to and whose Rockstar attitude she finds inspirational in addition to level shoes.
“The seventies gave us a lot of freedom in fashion. I mean it was a completely different style that came up. The kind of nostalgia that we would feel from the seventies is not really about fashion for me it’s about the emotions that are missing today. Music and dance are really related in my opinion, they go together, and they bring people together. There are no borders when people dance, it’s all about freedom and you can really express yourself and no one will care. Patti Smith inspires me because she’s a great style icon; she’s a woman that’s strong and fragile, a rocker and a poet, an activist and a gentlewoman.”