Kids fashion in Bahrain

Do you have a budding Stella McCartney or Marc Jacobs in the family? Discuss this article

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Do you have a budding Stella McCartney or Marc Jacobs in the family? Or maybe the next Mossy or David Gandy is even now striking a post in front of their bedroom mirror. Yana Foraki told us about TOFO’s plans to turn their dreams into reality.

What is TOFO ME?
TOFO is an acronym for ‘The Official Fashion Organisation’. It’s a children’s fashion campus concept that I first thought of for the UK. However, since moving to Bahrain, I remodelled the concept slightly and it’s working well.

Where did the idea come from?
There are many fashion educational institutes worldwide. I wanted to create something that wasn’t so formal but nonetheless was attractive to parents and children for its practical and fun values. Our proactive workshops stimulate interest and awareness in our children not just for traditional fashion topics but we also involve them in design, drawing, stitching, make-up and many other fun and interesting aspects of the fashion world.

How long has it been running now and what has the response been?
We opened at the end of January 2013 and the last two months has seen exponential interest. Some of our workshops are at total occupancy and we are planning some expansion to accommodate newcomers.

What classes do you offer and what are the qualifications of the teachers?
Our workshops include: fashion design, sewing, textiles, modelling, styling and more. Again, we prefer to be less formal in our approach. Our workshops are delivered by industry-qualified individuals at degree level for their particular skill or expertise. For example, our cutting and sewing workshops are delivered by our qualified Master Cutter and seamstress. Other expertise includes celebrity stylist credentials and much more.

What sort of things can students hope to make/produce when they come to classes?
The different workshops are highly practical. From T-shirt printing to embroidery and jewellery to all kinds of accessories. Whatever the children make, they get to take home when it is finished. The complexity of the pieces depends on age, ability and the individual’s personal choice. We prefer not to restrict all children to prescribed pieces and rather encourage individuality which after all is a core factor in the world of fashion.

You’ve also recently announced kids’ modelling classes, is there much call for this in Bahrain?
Our modelling workshops were the first to be fully-booked. Maybe Bahrain is not the centre of the fashion world but encouraging and helping children to get up there on the catwalk is a tonic for all sorts of self-confidence-related issues. Building a child’s self-confidence through modelling to an audience obviously helps in other vocational pursuits such as the performing arts. In real-life building self-confidence from an early age can only be a good thing for our children.

What do you teach and how?
For the modelling, we begin with the ‘behind-the-scenes’ aspects such as styling, make-up and hair. We get them started but after a time, the children work on each other in preparation for the photo-shoot. The children get to know themselves as much as each other. They also have a high degree of interaction and we encourage them to understand that beauty comes in many shapes and sizes and colours of skin tone.

Anything else to add?
Yes. Our fashion birthday parties are becoming very popular. Parents are opting away from traditional birthday party situations and looking for something new to keep 20 or 30 children fabulously involved and entertained for several hours on their child’s birthday.

Our children come from all walks of life no matter nationality, religion or social standing. It’s great to sit and watch this interaction sometimes and imagine if adults could ever be the same. All-in-all, TOFO is a fun, proactive experience. And, for me to be involved with inspiring learning and planting the seed of confidence in children on a daily basis is very self-fulfilling.

Kids’ stuff

Kids’ parties launched at Aroma
Youngsters can meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Tom and Jerry and Dora the Explorer at the weekly kids’ party at Aroma Café in Seef Mall. There’s also face painting, balloon twisting and other fun and games every Friday from from 3-7pm.
Call (17 582 711)

St Christopher’s year five and six students perform their interpretation of Hans Christian Andersens’s old-time favourite the tale of the ugly duckling – make sure you take your tissues. It’s on Monday, June 17, and Tuesday, June 18, in the main school hall at Saar. Tickets, priced BD4, are available from the campus box office.

Book it now
Registration is now open for the Life-Fit kids’ summer camp which will run at Riffa Views International School from July 7 to August 22.
Contact (17 692 424/33 001 261) for info.

By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,

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