If you were inspired by last summer’s #EmpowerYourVision campaign starring Ascia, Nour Arida, Mariam Yeya, Fatima Almomen and Tamara Al Gabbani as a message of female empowerment, or awed by the cinematic celebration of Arab identity and a simultaneous statement about social reform in the region in The Arabian Eye, you have Chérine Magrabi to thank. “It’s about being relatable to what the region is going through,” Chérine acknowledges, “whether it’s female empowerment at a time where things are changing, and our voices are being heard with the first campaign, or The Arabian Eye campaign, which is about embracing where we’re from, and reminding ourselves that Arabism is about our art, our culture, our music, our cuisine, and there’s so much we should be proud of.”
The result is a soul-stirring 60-second video that explores the ideology of ‘Al Ourouba’, a term which encompasses the very essence of shared Arab values, heritage and culture to present one empowered vision of Arabia, starring Salma Abu Deif, Hala, Leena al Ghouti, Muhanned Al Hamdy, Mr. Moudz, and Abdulla Al Abdulla. "The cast members were from all over the region and it was just a great celebration of Arabism in the most contemporary way.”
The Creative and Communications Director of the leader in vision care and eyewear in the Middle East descends from two generations of eye surgeons to the King of Saudi, and is the sister of the company’s CEO Amin Magrabi, which gives her a unique insight into the family business, not unlike Margherita Missoni and Delfina Delettrez of the fashion dynasties Missoni and Fendi, respectively.
“Heritage is really the strength that Magrabi has that other retailers can’t really claim,” Chérine declares with a great deal of pride. Everything that we do is based on what we’ve learned through the generations before us, whether it’s through my grandfather and my father and my brother today, they are all visionaries.”
On being a third-generation Magrabi in eyewear and vision care, Chérine reveals, “The advantage you have, of course, is that you’ve grown up surrounded with that experience, yet we feel as if we are watching from afar – we’re experiencing it but we’re taking a step back.” She muses, “I think it’s about looking at the business from a distance and really imagining where the brand could go, being a bit more daring than our parents and looking at it from a different angle. That’s also an advantage, because you grow with it, so you know it but you also see how it could evolve.”
One core value of the family business that Chérine is determined to uphold is the power of giving back and the desire to leave a legacy. This is why the philanthropic efforts of the Magrabi Foundation, and the CSR initiative Vision For All that runs during Ramadan – where with every sunglasses or eyeglasses purchase Magrabi will donate an optical frame to children and the elderly in need – remain so important.
For a homegrown company founded in 1927 that now boasts 180 boutiques throughout the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, Magrabi is certainly continuing to change the game. But what does Chérine’s father, who founded the company, think about how Magrabi’s moved with the times? “My father is very proud,” she beams. “He’s a risk-taker himself, and for his time he was always very modern and forward-thinking. I would imagine if it was my father running the business today at my age, he would’ve done this, but probably better.”
And what of the legacy that she’d like to leave? “I would like to be remembered as someone who had a voice,” Chérine admits. Grazia has a feeling she’ll be remembered for far more than that