This weeks student blog comes from Dubai, United Arab Emirates By Nicoline Prendergast

Fashion Design in Dubai – UAE is a very fast pace industry. The interesting part here is the melting pot of all different cultures and ethnic backgrounds; they are holding on to their traditions but are being influenced at the same time by each other and the western world.

Seasons and change of climate are not playing such a crucial role as you would know it from Europe or the US.

Especially here in Dubai, it is interesting to see and explore the design on the “ABAYA” (black long robes the females are wearing), in Kuwait for instance it is very simply and mainly in black with almost no variety in cuts, maybe some applications or expensive Swarovski crystal applications, while here in the UAE, there seems to be no limit.

There is a basic cut, black and long and covering the female body shape. But there seems to be no limitation on creativity and styles. Borders, layers, colorful applications and patterns; baby doll cuts, Kimono cuts etc. and of course different materials, sometimes along with exclusive handmade ornaments and applications with Swarovski crystals or other materials, ribbons, belts etc. These abbayas are mainly all tailor made and individual pieces. Mostly they assemble the “HIJAB”(female scarf) and build one whole united outfit.

Even the males slightly following trends with their “DISCHDASCHA”, mainly held in white, but material changes and here in the UAE also the color, sometimes even short sleeves and interesting borders. In general you may determine the origin of the male based on the DISCHDASCHA worn. Kuwait for example the DISCHDASCHA has a regular standing color as we would know it of a dress shirt.

Due to the change of temperature the Kuwaiti males [are] changing the material in the wintertime to heavier textile and also different colors and styles such as e.g. pinstripes, while during the hot season the DISCHDASCH is always white. Saudi Arabia they usually carry the regular pointy collar while the UAE DISCHDASCHDA doesn’t have any collar at all but they have an a weaved attachments which now these days is usually sprayed with cologne and back in the days had the function of using it against mosquitoes and flies.

Even within the “GHUTRA” (the male headscarf) worn by the males, trends developed over the past few years. While in Kuwait and Saudi it is still worn open and in a traditional way along with the “IGAL” (black flexible ring which was used as a whip from the Bedouins ancestors), the UAE males developed a certain wrapping technique. Along with the Omani males who usually apply the wrap techniques over the little cap they wear underneath, and also use woolen, more colorful pattern “GHUTRAs”, instead of the traditional white or pattern white/red or white/black.