“Our blog reflects our personal taste and we try to fuse as much of the West that we’ve grown accustomed to from our travel with our Middle Eastern roots.”

 If you are a fashion lover; you have most probably browsed through the fashion- based, interactive website “Imperial Twist”, a platform that merges social media and fashion in an attractive yet simple layout that embraces a Western flare infused with an Oriental feel. 

Lama El Khalil and Dima Kronfol have always been fashion enthusiasts and have made their way to becoming connoisseurs of the niche fashion industry. They are the creators of “Imperial Twist” - the blog; which focuses on all things fashion, beauty and style. Their journey within the social media and fashion industries started out as a mere Instagram page, a way to pass time between classes, until they launched the blog in October 2014. Both El Khalil and Kronfol are of Lebanese origins and have lived in London and Beirut; they consider the two cities of major influence to them and their work. 

The creators’ motivations lie in their passion for their field and their admiration of the attention to detail that brands put into their pieces. Their main policy is to only include articles, items or concepts that they believe in, without succumbing to outside influences or pressures. Their blog aims to reflect their personal tastes. They don’t work to try to please everyone, but rather include items they truly admire and would like to expose to their audiences. This in itself is what makes “Imperial Twist” a unique blog; the fact that the creators focus on what they like rather than what is “in style” or commercial, and therefore sets them apart from most online fashion websites that tend to repeat themselves. 

The authors’ main work focuses on editorial facets for the blog, with items and brands they believe in and love.  Their aim is to provide an insightful and fun blogging experience for those in the Middle East who are interested in global and local fashion. The creators stress on differentiation being the key to their success in their field, asserting that each blogger has a different perspective on fashion and beauty; they try to include as much of their personal styles in the blog whilst maintaining a professional tone. 
Lama expresses: “Differentiation is key, and we emphasize on it over and over again!  It is the best lesson we can pass on! In terms of advice, always do things whole heatedly and believe in what you write, publish and share with others.”

“Imperial Twist” – the blog, entails several categories: “Outfits”, which mainly focuses on styling; “Dab and Splash”- the beauty section; “Lusting Over” – entails the items they don’t own but would love to wear; “Twist Tunes”, a monthly updated playlist of tunes; “Twisting Playground” which is a segment that encompasses anything that can’t be categorized in the aforementioned sections; and finally a section for “Collaborations”, that comprises of “Imperial Twist’s” associations; such as their work with one of the biggest multi-brand stores in Lebanon. Their most recent and fruitful collaboration is with the internationally acclaimed leather crafter Nour Hammour, which led to the creation of “Imperial Twist’s” original “TWSTed” jacket. The minds behind the blog also drop a teaser for an upcoming project that will launch in a couple of months: “All we can say is we’re super excited to give life to something that we’re designing from scratch.” 

Lama and Dima buy most of their clothes and accessories from abroad, although they do love high-end luxury brands, they prefer to find cool, trendy, and niche boutiques instead of doing their shopping at the commercial establishments that tend to become too monotonous. They usually find the pieces they want by referral, or by using Google to search for an item they fell in love with on some celebrity. “Anyone is sure to find tons of these niche brands if they put in the effort to search properly,” they explain.

The authors feel truly fortunate to be able to pursue their passions full time; but just like any other job it does have its pressures, they have to always be on top of current events that are related to their stream of topics and themes on the blog. They have to post regularly, which entails always having fresh and new material, twice a day; most of which should be pre-planned. Things got more complicated for them as they launched the blog since it’s a much more detailed platform. This insinuates that they need to keep up with all facets of the website. Consequently, their biggest efforts go into keeping up and staying relevant. At the end of the day though, they would always choose blogging as a way of life. 

Lama and Dima admire the local fashion and jewelry industries and expect that it’s an upcoming market. The creators’ favourite bloggers are Tala Samman from “Myfashdiary” and Kandee Johnson from “Kandeel” because of their unique ways of doing things whilst reflecting their own tastes clearly. They believe that bloggers and designers are definitely more recognized and praised internationally and regionally rather than locally. However, they express their concerns for our society, which lacks refinement when it comes to praising craft, art and social media. On a lighter note though, both bloggers have hope that the younger generations are more interested generally so in a few years they expect that we’ll be where we want to be, locally speaking.

 The creators take a lot of inspiration from Beirut and apply it to international wardrobe and brands; this leads to mash up of cultures that creates a style that is niche and merges the local with a bit of things that people are used to in the international fashion industry. Our blog reflects our personal taste and we try to fuse as much of the West that we’ve grown accustomed to from our travel with our Middle Eastern roots. It is this mash-up of cultures that distinguishes “Imperial Twist” from existing bloggers in the industry.

We asked Lama and Dima to let us in on their favorite shopping spots in Lebanon, they recommended: Piaff Boutique and Pop Up Concepts in Clemenceau; Aura in Mar Mikhaill district; and Plum and Boutique 1 in Downtown Beirut. They also let us in on their favorite places to dine in style: Gilt in Saifi Village, MJs, Prune, and A cote in the Mar Mikhail district, and finally Cocteau and Metropole in Downtown Beirut. 

If fashion lies in your range of interests, “Imperial Twist” is a blog that is certainly worth checking out. With facets that range from a monthly updated music playlist to fashion, jewelry and make up “Imperial Twist” offers its audiences a unique experience that mainly focuses on the creators’ tastes in the brands they believe in. “Imperial Twist” is a wide and practical online platform that is bound to keep you wanting more. Follow the “Twsiters” who are exploring the world, one store at a time!