Interview: Raza Beig
Raza Beig is good at many things. Being CEO of the region’s largest fashion retailer, Splash, is just one of them, as the shelves groaning with industry awards in his Jebel Ali office attest.
But, aside from all the business accolades, which range from career development and talent management recognitions to awards from glossy magazines, the charismatic Chairman of the region’s favourite value fashion chain is famously talented at organising a party – which is exactly what he’s concentrating on right now.
The bi-annual Splash fashion shows are legendary in Dubai’s social scene, and tickets for the event are the most fought-over in town. Welcoming hundreds of Splash customers of all ages to see the cream of the new season collections, along with some of the biggest fashion bigwigs, socialites and industry experts from across the region, Raza’s fashion shows and no-holds barred after parties were created to celebrate the things he loves most in his life – fashion, his Splash family, and good, old fashioned fun.
“I love bringing everyone together and throwing a good party” he reveals. “And the new season fashion shows are a great reason to celebrate. But it’s not all about showcasing the collections. It’s letting your hair down, courtesy of Splash, that makes me happy.”
Well known for hosting parties at home for his employees with disarming regularity, while his personal soirees are far more than intimate little gatherings – there are hundreds of guests, rather than dozens – this season’s Grand Splash fashion extravaganza is set to be the brand’s biggest and best yet.
With the theme of Rock and Roll, The Rock’n Fashion show – which is split into three separate events; one at 5pm for students and under 18s, one at 7pm for a lucky audience of hand-picked Splash customers and the glittering VIP show that kicks off at 10pm – is hosted at the hottest venue in the city each year – this time, it’s the turn of the uber-glam Madinat Arena, and has taken an army of dedicated Splash staff months to organise.
“Aside from around 200 production staff working on the technical side, there are between 150-200 Splash staff working on the nuts and bolts of the show itself.” Raza explains. “It’s a massive, massive project. It’s very time consuming, extremely taxing and very stressful. But it’s worth all the sleepless nights and drama. After every show, I’m on a high for days!” But, how did it all begin? “We wanted to give something back to the Splash customer, and a giant fashion show seemed a great way to do it” says Raza.
Calling on the best people in the business to help him achieve his fashion dream – which many people say are the best-produced fashion shows in the city bar none – Raza never sets his standards any lower than exceptional. Working alongside his fashion show ‘partner in crime’ Bong Guerrero, who Raza cheekily says “will work with him until he messes up” the pair decided they were going to show Dubai exactly what the Splash fashion brand were capable of doing. “We wanted to create the biggest and most exaggerated show in the region” says Raza. “For me, I need to push the boundaries. It has to be the biggest, the boldest, the best. I suppose that makes me a little like Sheik Mohammed!”
True to his plan, the Splash fashion show has grown year on year to become one of the most hotly anticipated events on the fashion calendar. “I feel responsible for giving people a great night out” says Raza. “I want to ensure everything goes to plan. I want to make sure everything goes well, and the audience has a good time.”
And, what is he most excited about on the eve of his next fashion spectacular? “There are so many components of the show that make me excited. But if I told you, it would spoil the surprise.”
However, there is one thing Raza will reveal he is really looking forward to, “Choosing my outfit.” He says. “It’s a Rock and Roll themed fashion show, so I’m maybe going to wear something velvet, a little bit glam rock. But I just can’t wait to see what else everyone is going to wear – that is the most fun thing about it!“
And, while Raza may be one of the most successful men in the business, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t stick to his brand’s fashion principles. “Even if you have money, it’s not right to spend a ridiculous amount on an outfit you’re only going to wear once” he says. “Fashion is all about having fun, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to look great every season.”
Raza’s top 5 places
Marina Walk For shisha and more!
Zuma For chilled out dining – the food truly is fantastic.
Mall of the Emirates It’s my favourite place for shopping in the city.
Ibn Battuta Mall This can’t be beaten for a relaxed night at the flicks.
Dubai’s Nightclubs Which always let me in, without question!