Globalization: Fashion influences in Arab Gulf

Khaleeji fashionista

Khaleeji fashionista  in the midst of Dubai City (Photo by Salamah Al Suwaidi)

By Salamah Al Suwaidi

Dubai – Your sense of style expresses who you are through your clothing and how you accessorize. Our clothes express who we are, where we come from and what we do. Women always try to stay “in fashion” and follow the latest trends, but where do those fashion trends come from?

The fashion industry changes frequently. Contemporary trends and styles develop regularly and women in the Arab Gulf are always the first to keep up. Throughout the past few years, following fashionistas has become a common trend. Whether it is a Khaleeji fashionista or an influencer from the West, women in the region are always up to date with the latest fashion and beauty trends.

Thanks to pop culture, globalization and social media, many beauty and fashion bloggers have access to influence people all around the world.

Carli Bybel is not only an American fashion blogger, she’s a makeup enthusiast who also vlogs (video logs) about her lifestyle. Carli Bybel started off her career making makeup Youtube videos and it then moved on to blogging about her fashion sense on her website which then led to her creating her own clothing line with the brand MISSGUIDED.

When it came to her creating her clothing line with MISSGUIDED, she mentioned how every piece in the collection embodies her personal style when it comes to fashion. “I love making a statement with clothes that I wear and I love wearing things that most people wouldn’t think to put together. I’ve always enjoyed inspiring others when it comes to clothing!”

A lot of women in the Arab Gulf follow her makeup style as it is very similar to how women would apply their makeup in the region. On the other hand, even though her fashion sense is very trendy on a popular culture scale, it doesn’t quite meet the Islamic and Arab culture standards. Carli’s collaboration with MISSGUIDED has a lot of form fitting and very revealing pieces which go way out of the Islamic and Arab culture borders. This is understandable considering she comes from a different cultural background.

Another influencer on fashion in the Arab Gulf countries is a half-Kuwaiti half-American fashion blogger, Ascia Al Faraj. She’s most commonly known as Ascia AKF.  Ascia started the path of her career during her last semester in university and according to her a lot have changed in the Arab fashion bloggers community since 2012.

She said, “Most profile pictures of women on Twitter and Instagram were of their eyes or lips.  I remember that girls who blogged back then would crop their heads in pictures so that no one could recognize them.” That didn’t sit well with Ascia and that is what drove her to put herself out there. She was one of the first Arab fashion bloggers to go public and show her face.

Ascia plays a huge role in influencing young Arab women when it comes to fashion, beauty and lifestyle. She has a unique sense of style yet, unlike Carli, it doesn’t go out of the Islamic cultural borders. She styles her outfits conservatively by having a turban or a hijab on as well as wearing outfits that are less form fitting or revealing.

Both fashion bloggers use clothes and accessories to express themselves. With that being said, there is no right or wrong way to express yourself.  Ascia shows women that don’t need to show off their bodies to be stylish and follow the latest trends.  Carli isn’t as conservative as Ascia but it doesn’t mean that she’s wrong, because that’s her expression of her personal style.

Popular culture, globalization and social media play a huge role in influencing people. So even though the Arab Gulf countries are already diverse in ethnic groups, people are mostly influenced by social media and other similar platforms.

The fashion sense and style have changed a lot within the Arab Gulf countries overtime, which means that women now can express themselves with fashion as they like.

How would you express yourself?

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