The Middle East has always been at the crossroads of culture and fashion, but even this region has recognized that now is not the time to step into the spotlight. With tensions running high in Israel and Hamas, the boundaries of what defines ”stylish” have been stretched to the brink and fashion has put its events in the region on hold. As emotions and violence continue to rise, the fashion industry’s thoughtful reprieve is a welcome reminder that lives and safety come before the clothes on our back.
1. A Subtle Shift in Middle Eastern Style: The Impact of War
The Middle East has always been characterised by its stunningly ornate traditional style of dress, but for many young people living through war and displacement, the days of donning elaborate garments are slowly coming to an end. Many have exchanged their voluminous traditional gowns for more practical, westernised garments. This subtle shift in style speaks to the reality of war, and the immense struggles many are grappling with on a daily basis.
This transformation has not been a straightforward shift away from tradition. Despite making more pragmatic choices when it comes to clothing, Middle Easterners recognise the immense cultural significance of traditional dress. As a way of connecting with the region’s rich heritage, many young people are still wearing pieces of traditional clothing, albeit in a more modernised format. Instead of wearing long robes in entirety, it has become increasingly popular to couple traditional garments with more contemporary pieces. This hybrid style of fashion has become an important part of many people’s identities, helping them feel connected to home.
- A subtle shift in style: Middle Easterners are trading traditional garments for more practical, westernised outfits.
- Adapting to war: This change reflects the reality of the social and economic turmoil resulting from war in the region.
- Honouring tradition: Through hybridising their style, many young Middle Easterners are still paying homage to their culture’s traditional dress.
2. Finding Balance in a Troubled Land: Crafting Modest and Sustainable Events
Events can be incredibly powerful forces of change in a troubled land, yet sustainability and conservation is necessary for that land to stay healthy. Crafting modest and sustainable events can be a challenge, but there is no room for giving in to the pressure of grandiosity. To find the balance between event capacity and environmental health, it is important to begin with the end in mind.
Start by determining the outcome you wish to have from your event. This will then inform the scale and scope of the event production. From there, you will need to find solutions that minimize environmental impact. Consider these elements to make your event more sustainable:
- Switch to environmentally friendly and recyclable materials
- Use locally sourced and organic food when possible
- Purchase energy efficient lighting
- Reuse decorations from previous events
- Enlist green transportation options
- Partner with green sponsors and suppliers
By incorporating these strategies into your event planning process, you will have the power to craft an event that is grand yet sustainable, and ultimately more meaningful for the land it inhabits.
3. A New Wave of Peace-Promoting Design: Collaboration Over Competition
Designers have started to approach their practice with a more open mind, breaking away from traditional notions of success and working towards more altruistic goals. They are striving to foster beneficial collaborations over a competitive atmosphere. This new attitude of collaboration opens the door to peace-promoting design.
One of the major benefits of this cooperative design is the potential for mutual enrichment and constructive conversations. As designers collaborate across realms, they are able to develop new ideas and perspectives, combining tech and social intuition. Additionally, the power of collaborative design can bring about some long-needed peace through creative understanding. By offering a bridge between worlds, designers are able to listen to opposing ideas and find common ground.
4. Considering a Sustainable Future: Investing in Positive Change in the Middle East
As countries all over the world face the consequences of a changing climate, the Middle East in particular must capture and renew its focus on the need for sustainability – now more than ever.
- Reducing Duty on Renewable Energy and Investing in Smart Technology
As the region faces an energy crisis due to unrest behind its major oil and gas exports, governments have begun to implement policies that can be seen to be looking towards a secure post-carbon future. The UAE for one, has made strides in this area by introducing solar power into its energy mix, while Saudi Arabia has lowered the cost of solar panel supplies to its citizens. Both of these initiatives are critical steps in transitioning away from an unsustainable energy source. Furthermore, by investing in smart technologies and other sustainable energy resources, Middle Eastern governments are putting in place an effective support system, that will not only give citizens access to energy, but also provide employment opportunities and transform their quality of life.
- Encouraging Investment in Sustainable Practices
Middle Eastern countries have the potential to become global leaders in sustainability and biodiversity conservation. Through investment in renewable energy sources, water conservation projects, eco-friendly transportation, and green building initiatives, the region can help develop an economy rooted in the long-term protection of its people and their environment. Governments, businesses, and individuals must be willing to collaborate to achieve this and should cooperate in a transparent and sustainable manner to foster sustainable development. By doing so, the Middle East will be able to secure a better and prosperous future.
As the conflict between Israel and Hamas persists, so too does the uncertain future of fashion events in the Middle East. With the realization that such events may require radical reconsiderations amidst the civil unrest, designers may have to take an innovative approach to hosting. In any case, it is clear that the newest trends in fashion will inevitably be subject to the unrest of the region.