QLG aims to bring a new level of luxury to Qatar.
The QLG, wholly owned by Qatar Foundation, came about as a result of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser's vision of creating a luxury brand embracing education and providing an opportunity to foster local and international talent.
Group CEO, Gregory Couillard explained that the venture has been in development since 2008, with the company being officially registered last year.
"I would say from day one, a very strong accent has been put on the educational side," he said, adding "we have people coming out of universities, but where can they apply for a job in Qatar? We have been brought in to create these kinds of industries."
With three strands to the group, including fashion, hospitality (food and beverage) and development, the organisation aims to bring a new level of luxury to the country.
The fashion and hospitality branches are already active, explained Couillard, who said that consumers will begin to notice the presence of the group and its brands from the end of this year.
Set to open a restaurant with a Michelin three-starred chef by the end of 2011, the food and beverage branch of the company is expected to open at least two more restaurants in 2012, he said.
Remaining tight-lipped about the identity of the chef, Couillard promised that the chef in questions is "a very famous one."
On the other hand, the fashion division, dealing with four areas, including shoes, leather goods, jewellery and ready to wear items, is situated in what Couillard described as their "unique" facility in Qatar.
Housing highly advanced technology being operated by some of the most experienced experts in their respective fields, the current location is producing prototypes which will eventually be created at a production facility elsewhere.
The development branch will be looking into the possibilities of acquiring both brands and production facilities in the future to nurture the QLG's growth, explained Couillard, saying: "It will help us to acquire the brands if we feel they fit in with our philosophy."
"This is quite unique," he said, adding "I don't not know of any other place in the region or worldwide which is dealing in all four areas, transforming dreams into reality all in one place."
Artistic director for the QLG fashion is Stephane Rolland, a renowned designer and the youngest member of the 12 houses of haute couture in Paris.
With his expertise on board, the QLG is hoping to create a brand that will be unique and recognisable throughout the world, explained Couillard.
And the CEO said that he expects the "Qatari-ness" of the brands to be intrinsic.
The fact that the process of design and creation is taking place in Qatar means that the brand will inevitably be influenced by the local culture, whether catering for the international or regional markets, he explained.
"Basically, my dream would be the creation of very strong brands, with each of them possessing such strong DNA that this question is not relevant anymore," he said.
Couillard explained that the QLG currently employs two Qataris as workshop technicians, and will be starting its Qatarisation project next month, helping to foster local talent.
"We have people who are very entrepreneurial - this is something very important that we want to keep in the future," he said.
Although nothing has yet to be finalised in terms of brand identity, or even the number of brands the group's fashion department will eventually create, one thing is for sure; each division of the company will place luxury, craftsmanship, expertise and know how at the very top of their agenda whatever they do or wherever they go.
Gulf Times Newspaper 2011
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