The Rise of Arab Entertainment and Fashion in the World
By: Yasmina Hage/Arab America Contributing Writer
Over time, whether in the world of fashion or entertainment, Arab trend has become increasingly present on the world stage.
The United States, for example, is actively spreading its style, but now the Arab countries too. In fact, the fashion of the Arab countries is exploding beyond the countries of the Arab world or Africa. It is also spreading in Europe, Asia, and America. This fashion is more commonly called “the modest fashion.” According to the “State of the Global Islamic Economy 2017-2018” report published by Reuters, the “modest fashion” market is expected to be worth $373 billion in 2022, compared to $254 billion in 2016.
H&M, for example, in 2015, has called for the first time for a model wearing the hijab “Maria Hidrissi.” Also, Nike has also introduced hijabs for Muslim athletes in December 2017. Then, Zara and others followed this trend of “modest fashion.”
If the fashion world is becoming more oriental, it is because many Arab countries have a population with a strong purchasing power. Also, because brands have to adapt to the evolution of fashion and new consumer expectations if they don’t want to discredit their image. As a result, haute couture is starting to follow this trend, as well. This is the case of Carolina Herrera, for example, whose evening dresses are covered in sequined silk georgette. Gucci, too, has long silk satin skirts. These pieces were presented during the catwalks at New York Fashion Week. In addition, in 2017, an Islamic Fashion Week was even held in New York.
In this category of “modest fashion,” we see more and more models wearing a hijab. Furthermore, Dolce & Gabbana, for example, has released a spring-summer 2016 collection of hijabs and abayas.
Promoting Arabic fashion
To help fashion in the Arab region become known internationally, there are organizations such as the Arab Fashion Council. It is the largest international non-profit, non-governmental organization. This organization wants to develop a sustainable infrastructure to support the development of the fashion industry in Arab countries. It, therefore, wants to “promote Arab fashion designers internationally, spread fashion culture in the region, and position the Arab world on the international fashion map.”
Today, to promote this fashion, dressmakers are, for example, making clothes with traditional Arab tissues that look like Western clothes. They do this to allow two types of populations to identify with it. It should also be noted that the people of Arab countries are very fond of Western fashion. Therefore, mixing the two offers a more international focus and more success. This is the case of Suzan Farhoud, for example, who has created clothes inspired by the Western and Eastern world. As a result, she “mixes the modern with the elegant.” She aims to be international while creating something suitable for the region. As a result, her creations mix tulle, jacquard, and lace. Also, her creations usually have sleeves, and the skirts are long.
Arab cinema includes films from various countries in the Arab world and therefore does not have a particular style. In the beginning, Arab cinema was mostly an imitation of Western cinema. However, it has and continues to change and evolve over time. In North Africa and the Middle East, film production was rare until the late 1960s, when filmmakers began to receive funding. The generation of filmmakers born in the 1960s to the present day is using Arab cinema to report on issues such as politics, colonialism, tradition, modernity, and social taboos.
One of the reasons that have hindered the advancement of Arab cinema is the lack of investment in the sector. That’s why Arab countries are now trying to invest more to promote this sector. Saudi Arabia, for example, is supposed to inject $64 billion into the entertainment sector over the next years. There is also Qatar, for example, which is investing more and more in the world of entertainment.
In recent years, independent Arab cinema has made a real mark on the international scene. That is to say, Arab cinema written and directed by independent filmmakers has made significant progress on the world stage. Moreover, this progress has also been achieved thanks to a young population, the opening of borders, and cultures.
Netflix, for example, broadcast the film “Masameer” produced by Myrkott with subtitles in more than 30 languages. As a result, the film can be viewed in 190 countries. It is an animation that tells the story of Dana, a Saudi woman with a passion for robots and artificial intelligence, who embarks on a journey to create good in the world using robotics.
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