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Dress to impress: making waves in the desert

Photographer Alim Khadimi's FLOGANZA DUBAI celebrates fashion, femininity and fearlessness. And it looks great on Instagram.

By Sofia Serrano

Social media platforms have become a powerful tool for creative concepts to flourish. This is the story with FLOGANZA DUBAI. The concept consists of having a professional photoshoot with signature dresses in different locations (the desert, Burj Al Arab) with the final outcome being glamorous pictures to keep as souvenirs.

FLOGANZA DUBAI has drawn a lot of attention from the public, gathering followers and coverage from influencers and the press. Having experienced it myself, I can understand all the buzz around this concept.

My day as an amateur model made me feel glamorous and allowed me to express my artistic side creating beautiful images that look like they could be found in an haute couture magazine.

The shoot with the dress provides a memory not only of a visit to the desert but a transformation into a ‘Beautyfly’, as Alim Khadimi, the creator, calls his muses. Alim is a French professional photographer who turned his passion for fashion into a business idea. He comes from a corporate background, having worked for many years as a sales manager for big multinationals. He moved to Dubai in 2011 to explore the region and to work.

Alim Khadimi

Alim began in 2019 with an Instagram account sharing landscapes of Dubai, “Dubai Photo Escape”, dedicated to tourist and fashion photography. On one occasion he photographed a woman with a long dress in the desert, resulting in the images that inspired the concept of FLOGANZA DUBAI. After this moment of epiphany, Alim started to create a concept revolving entirely around the aesthetics of the movement of fabrics on the female figure in the desert. The concept evolved to an experience completely specialised in this type of photography.

The experience has grown and now FLOGANZA DUBAI has more than 99,000 followers on Instagram. Alim’s strategy comes from a deep desire to give a first-class experience to women to make them feel confident and beautiful. Alim says the majority of his clients are very shy (some are mothers who barely have time for themselves) but with a bit of guidance, they start showing confidence as they realise they can create beautiful images and start to feel great in their skin.

“It is more than a photoshoot, it is an experience that brings emotions, to feel beautiful and to feel more confident. We can feel the happiness of our ladies and that makes us proud of what we do,” says Alim.

FLOGANZA DUBAI offers packages that include pick-up and transport to the location, shooting and drop-off. There are options that include hair and makeup for those who desire the complete package. Today, the concept has branched into different options, including photoshoots for children, couples, sisters and individual with three different dresses: the Signature, the Glam and the Modest dress, sensitive to more conservative clients.

The marketing strategy that worked for Alim included having some influencers on board. He says that at first, the team would approach influencers, but they would refuse as the concept was still new and people wouldn’t trust it. However, it took one big name, Myriam K., to change perceptions. Other big names that have chosen this experience include, Magali Berdah, Milla Jasmine, Lena Mahfouf, Rym Renom, Paola Locatelli and Sarah Lopez. These influencers created awareness, especially within the francophone community.

The influencers who helped boost FLOGANZA DUBAI with the Arabic community (who often opt for the Modest and Glam Flying dresses) included Rahaf Elshami, Mai Ibrahim and Hind Medhat Farouk.

These were strategic moments that made FLOGANZA DUBAI’s social media presence grow, and today the Beautyfly community keeps growing.

In my photoshoot I was picked up from work with a friend and taken to the desert a few kilometres outside Dubai. Once we arrived, Alim picked us up in his 4×4 and gave us a small dune bashing ride to get to the location.

Once there, I was given the dress that I previously picked when booking the experience, the Bali Signature Flying Dress – a backless style that comes in many colours and is also the most popular one. I changed inside a foldable little tent and then Alim’s assistant helped me wrap the dress to be Beautyfly-ready. We had the photoshoot in the sunset, and at first, Alim suggested basic poses.

As I felt more comfortable, I started exploring more poses and Alim encouraged my creativity (I had told him I had a background as a dance instructor), giving me space to explore my artistic side. Trying to pirouette in the sand with metres of silk is no easy task but after a few trials we came out with some interesting compositions. The shoot took around an hour and we finished with a small teaser and a testimonial to the camera. This was a happy memory I will take from my time in the desert.

Video and photo credits: Alim Khadimi

FLOGANZA DUBAI has become an international sensation, among French speakers and other communities around the world. Alim says some of his clients travel exclusively to live this experience, taking home beautiful memories and unique photographs. Also, Alim has had many clients who have chosen this experience to commemorate major milestones including marriage proposals, anniversaries, honeymoons and maternity shoots.

Alim says he is constantly innovating to be ahead of the competition. The challenges he sees don’t come from other photography concepts but from rival experiences such as helicopter rides, safaris, boats or jet skiing. The attraction of his business, Alim says, is that this is a concept that is 100 per cent dedicated to the beauty of women. There are not many experiences in Dubai with this specific vision and target audience. He continues to innovate and will soon unveil the latest additions to the FLOGANZA DUBAI experience. I wonder if the next addition will allow me to spin better, or maybe if red is the next colour in season.

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