Drafted By Shannon Little:
Have you ever met someone who says they feel like the luckiest person on the planet?
Well I have…his name is Jamal Abdourahman, Founder and Producer, of Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW). Jamal has so much gratitude for life itself and for the life he has created for himself, that he is continually striving for bigger goals, imagining greater things and pursuing his dreams, while helping those around him achieve their goals.
Although Jamal has been in the Fashion Industry for 20 years and he always had an interest in fashion, he did not initially have an interest in the fashion business. His first goal and plans were to go into Political Science.
However, because Jamal always had such an entrepreneurial mindset, his first job was being an organizer of shows, and a promoter of parties and events.
Initially the parties were thrown in the Night Club scene, but that was short lived and quickly parlayed into fashion shows.
By the mid-90’s Jamal was promoting “Trunk Shows” – where he would buy clothes at the wholesaler and then resell them at shows which were held at special venues such as the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel, Restaurants, The Vancouver Public Library and other Hotels around the city.
In 1999, he planned to do a four-city tour in Asia, and while he was in Paris, France in October 1999, as luck would have it, his trip coincided with Paris’ Fashion Week.
Jamal used this time to have discussions with the designers in Paris about his upcoming Asian tour, while collecting show guides, information, invitations and everything he could possibly absorb about Paris’ Fashion Week.
The wheels were turning faster and Jamal’s creative ideas were expanding exponentially and in August 2000, Jamal and two friends got together and decided to create Vancouver International Fashion Week.
After the first year, Jamal’s partners returned to China, and he continued with his vision of bringing fashion and Vancouver to the center stage. In 2002, Vancouver Fashion Week was born with Jamal Abdourahman as the Founder and Producer.
This kind, passionate, and driven man, is never completely satisfied and is always striving to make the show better for the artists.
In the beginning it was about building the show to make it what it is today…now Jamal says it is about exposing the Canadian talent, the designers, the artists to the world. To help see them grow, see their work in International Global magazines like VOGUE, ELLE, and GLAMOUR etc.
“I feel fortunate to help contribute to their success and future, because it is a long road.” ~ Jamal Abdourahman
Jamal feels so fortunate to have had the ability to travel all over the world and to know how amazing Vancouver is, and the opportunities that Vancouver and Canada provide for everyone. Twice a year, every Spring and Fall, through VFW he continues to make strides to bring others from all over the world to Vancouver, so that the Global artists can be celebrated as well as emphasizing the promotion and exposure of Canadian artists.
VFW is a platform to celebrate the diversity of Vancouver and Canada.
Jamal is a relaxed and down to earth man, who chooses his battles wisely, however, he expressed that he can be competitive when he needs to be. I would attest that this mindset is what has made Jamal such a successful businessman in an industry that is challenging, but extremely rewarding.
His goals for the future of VFW are to continue to make them two of the most important shows in the industry, for the designers, buyers, media and public. In the next five years Jamal plans to keep building and improving the show, which in turn, he hopes will make 40 plus Canadian designers recognizable names.
Jamal always knew he wanted to be successful and achieve great things in his life. He always believed in himself and has always been very grateful for the support he has received from the community in the city of Vancouver and the industry globally, that have helped to make the show what it is today.
The following quote, “success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life. It’s about what you inspire others to do” ~ unknown, epitomizes Jamal’s reputation on a personal and professional level.
His desire to give back, to help others reach their goals and dreams while still achieving his, emphasizes his compassion and understanding of how challenging life can be, and yet “it is one of the most beautiful compensations in life that we can never help another without helping ourselves” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. So for this reason, I would have to agree with Jamal and say he is definitely one of the luckiest people on the planet.
Vancouver Fashion Week 2015 is occurring March 16th – 22nd at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza. This Industry Event is open to the public.
For more information please check out the website: vanfashionweek.com
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