Alumni Spirit | Dreaming and doing, at the same time

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For Inès Bensalah, fashion is a form of expression like any other. The clothes you choose to wear symbolize the way you decide to show yourself to the world. Which is why this young woman mixes colors and blurs borders to create herself a made-to-measure costume. Sensitive artist, fairy tale princess, fashion designer and business woman, she is all of those personas. Self-taught in design and creation, not to mention business, she has still taken the time to slip in a little Corsican sunshine before taking the fashion industry by storm.

Conquering the world

Inès Bensalah has long imagined herself in an international career. Literature baccalaureate with honors in hand from the Jeanne d’Arc in Bastia, high school, she left her native Corsica to settle in Monaco, a city-state which reaches out the to the world. She obtained a BBA in Marketing & Communication specialized in luxury at the the International University of Monaco (IUM) in a multicultural environment, where faculty and students total no fewer than 70 nationalities between them. Lectures based on learning through experience and taught entirely in English equipped her with the skills she needed to launch her career:

IUM lecturer are not just lecturers, they are people who have had careers outside academia and give students the benefit of their experience,” she explains.

A key year

The year was 2019. Inès Bensalah had not yet graduated but she started a business with her brand Inessa Creations and met president and founder Federica Nardoni Spinetta, president and founder of the Fashion Council of the Principality of Monaco. A few weeks later, the Council, which brings together fashion professionals and Monaco designers and brands, recognized Inès with its “Emerging Made-in-Monaco Award” and rolled out the red carpet for her during the Monte-Carlo Fashion Week. Since then, nothing seems to stop the young designer, busy working on projects and catwalks. Even the Covid-19 pandemic couldn’t dent her motivation and joie de vivre.

“I created the collection in a month because I was in the middle of exams at IUM. Actually, I had in mind to go to the US but all my dreams came true in Monaco!”

Other people’s tastes

Becoming a Monaco fashion figure did not prevent her from continuing to focus on others and engage in a many nonprofits, just like she did as a student. Inès Bensalah is head of the youth center at Monegasque Red Crossadviser to young designers at the CMM and member of the nonprofit Women World Leaders Monaco under the patronage of Her Serene Highness Princess Stéphanie of Monaco. She also works in several universities to provide personal development training and coaching and take part in conferences.

A doer by nature, Inès Bensalah knows that nothing defines us better than our actions. She is very aware that everyone creates their own life. : “There is no age for success. In Monaco, I have witnessed the importance of the part played by young people, keen to take up the torch.”

Added to that are the many examples to follow, such as Olivier Rousteing, who joined Balmain as studio head and became one of the youngest artistic directors in the world two years later.

You ar(t) the creator of your own life

A true fashionista, Inès Bensalah has been drawing from a very early age. However, her sketchbooks are not just trend boards, she also scribbles a sort of life business plan in them. Should you be indiscreet enough to check her to-do list, you will see that the designer has already managed to tick off a number of goals, such as appearing in the highly selective Forbes Monaco 30 Under 30 !

With her Inessa Creation, brand, this multi-skilled artist offers ready-to-wear luxury as well as unique garments influenced by her ecologically responsible values. She has worked with large fashion houses to recover fabric offcuts, thereby avoiding overproduction and especially, waste.

Inès Bensalah’s creations are like customized paintings, which often turn into performance art. Having identified the colors that speak to her patrons, she offers live painting sessions on haute-couture garments.

“If people trust me, it’s because I trust myself. Today, I’m lucky enough to be doing something where I’m the captain of my own ship: nobody controls my creativity!” she enthuses.

Stories to tell

For super observant Inès Bensalah, everything around her is a source of inspiration. Her designs are inspired by painters like Gustav Klimt and stylists and high-fashion designers such as Thierry Mugler and Karl Lagerfeldand also many high-level sportspeople:

“All athletes live and breathe their sport, never mind the sport—martial arts, F1, football… I admire their determination and mental rigor,” she explains.

Doing everything it takes to achieve their dreams is therefore a perpetual quest, akin to combat. A fan of sportspeople who stick with it to surpass themselves, our designer is constantly on the alert, ready for the next move to deploy her strategy. . In fact, this period when projects came thick and fast coincided with Inès Bensalah shedding her teenage years and taking herself in hand, as an adult.

“I think I even lost a little weight then. I felt a lot lighter. This wasn’t stress-related, it was more a case of feeling I had taken flight,” she says. Nice symbol!

Her advice is to “Launch yourself into space and build your parachute on the way down!” ”

The wording is deliberately exaggerated and it paints an accurate picture of how we steer our own lives and need to believe in ourselves. Inès Bensalah has never liked the easy stuff, she is ready to climb mountains.

Because she absolutely loves anything to do with challenges, she tucks Marvin Gaye’s song, Ain’t no mountain high enough” at the heart of her playlist. Ain’t no mountain high enough by Marvin Gaye, into her playlist, reminding her that nothing is impossible.

“I think that anything can be achieved, that everything is possible. Everyone has a flame burning for something, you just need to identify it. And you need to have faith, work hard and find the way to meet the right people.”

Il faut y croire, travailler dur et se donner les moyens de faire les bonnes rencontres.

Inès Bensalah

Alumni I.U.M.

Updated 8 November 2023