Reasons behind rapid change of fashion in GCC

Green embroidered cloak

Green embroidered cloak (Photo by Marwa Al Marzouqi)

By Marwa Al Marzouqi

Dubai – She was sitting in a coffee shop, enjoying her drink, when she saw a woman passing by, wearing a long cape jacket. She was inspired. After finishing her coffee, she searched for a similar jacket and ordered it online. Two days later, she received the cape jacket and was finally satisfied.

There are many different reasons why fashion is changing throughout the years in the GCC. The intercultural influence is one of the strongest reasons, because women always try to adapt what would make them feel beautiful. Social media is also one of the reasons that deliver other fashion traditions from the foreign countries that could have a strong impact on changing the fashion in the GCC.

Fashion is one of the very important aspects of the world, especially for women. Fashion is everywhere. Fashion has always been there, and it is what we have been living with.  It is also a thing that keeps changing every now and then.  New ways and new trends come up and people like to follow it and stay stylish. “I try new trends every day,” Reema Al-Banna, owner of the fashion brand Reemami, said.

Throughout the years, fashion has changed a lot, especially in the GCC. Women are getting more and more certain about what they want to wear, how they want to wear it and why.  So, fashion nowadays is different than how it used to be in the past.  Because the GCC has people from many countries with different cultures, they embrace other culture’s fashion as well.  “Traditions should not be tampered with because they have been inherited from our grandparents and great grandparents, but they do need to improve to adjust with the world,” a young Emirati student from University of Sharjah said.   Diversity affects the thinking of the people and their behavior. Women in the Arab world used to have a unique style in the past, and the industry was more conservative than today. Therefore, they were somehow hiding their passion for fashion under their Abayas.  Now, even their Abyas are brighter and much colorful.

Social media also has a very strong influence on the fashion in GCC. Nowadays, there are so many beauty influencers not only from the Western world, but also from the Arab world, who really influence the behavior of women and their styling awareness. There are fashion influencers who are called ‘fashionistas’.  People follow these fashionistas on diverse types of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. They imitate them in many ways whether it’s the way of dressing, wearing makeup or other things that they do. As movies, magazines and other media reached the Arab world; they are getting more exposed and adopting the fashion sense from the people all around the world, especially the western world.

Today, women have even made their Abayas fashionable in ways that makes them feel elegant and comfortable.  Using social media is modernizing fashion promptly, taking what makes them trendy in a decent way.  “I don’t believe that every fashion trend works for everybody. Instead, I think that people need to dress more according to what suits them, considering their age and body shape, among other things. I like to think that I wear clothes instead of letting them wear me,” Shimaa Elsayed, public relations fashion specialist, said.

This is how the fashion is changing rapidly in the GCC and especially in the UAE, where they have more than 200 nationalities.  Also, it is estimated that the fashion style will keep changing in the upcoming years, because of the communication, the use of social media and other technologies.


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