MIDDLE EAST

How India and the Middle East Have Influenced Each Other’s Fashion Industries Over the Years

How India and the Middle East Have Influenced Each Other’s Fashion Industries Over the Years

Deepika Padukone in Saudi’s Ashi Studio. Photo: Courtesy of Ashi Studio
When one considers everyday dress in India, the salwar — a pair of loose-fitting, drawstring trousers, and the kameez — a tunic worn with a dupatta — a scarf also used as a head covering — probably come to mind. The roots of this dress style can be attributed to Persia, home of the Mughals, the Muslim dynasty that ruled India from the early 16th to the mid-18th century. The Arabian Gulf played an important role, too. The two regions not only have a geographic proximity to each other, but have been trading partners for centuries. The fact that the word kameez comes from Arabic is one such proof. India has always been known for its textile traditions, and its goods would reach central Europe via the ports of the Gulf. Scientists from the Museum of Natural History in Paris, while examining remnants from UNESCO world heritage site Mleiha, found that the earliest cotton in the Arab world came from Northwestern India, and the oldest surviving pieces of chintz, a calico cloth decorated with woodblock prints that became popular in Europe in the 1600s, was found in Egypt. Textiles, crafts, and silhouettes from India became a source of inspiration, with many of the mirror and metal embroidery forms in Arab dressing traditions influenced by savior fair coming from its South Asian trading partner. In turn, the motifs and decorative forms of this region began to influence embroidery patterns in India. The cultural exchange between the two is ancient and can still be seen today.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wears a dress by Lebanon’s Elie Saab. Photo: Getty
Contemporary Indian designers have been borrowing and showing their appreciation of the Middle East for years. Rohit Bal, known as the enfant terrible of Indian fashion, made the jalabiya part of his design repertoire since his early days in the 1990s. Manish Malhotra, Bollywood’s go-to costumer, designed his 2018 couture collection ‘Zween’ in celebration of Middle Eastern culture. Meanwhile, Indian Gen Z’s favored silhouette is the kaftan. In return, the Middle Eastern region has welcomed Indian designers with open arms; fashion shows and pop-up events are regularly hosted in the region.
Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in Indian couturier Manish Malhotra’s 2018 ‘Zween’ couture collection
When Indian celebrities are looking to make a statement on the red carpet at international events, time and again they turn to designers based in the Middle East. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is known for her love of Michael Cinco and Elie Saab, and Priyanka Chopra has been photographed in Zuhair Murad on multiple occasions. Deepika Padukone, who wore a custom-made Zuhair Murad gown to her wedding reception in 2018, stepped out onto this year’s Cannes Film Festival red carpet wearing an orange, one-shoulder gown by Ashi Studio. It was her most well-received look of the festival. The Paris-based Saudi label has been worn by many well-known Indians including Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and heiress Isha Ambani. “There is a similar aesthetic in terms of taste and culture, and both regions love their glamor,” comments the couturier. Celebrity stylist Shaleena Nathani who styles Padukone, adds, “The region has a strong love of Bollywood, so they have a good understanding of our celebrities and occasions, and this does help. As a stylist, the reason I turn to Middle Eastern designers is because of their cut, it flatters an Indian body.” She chose the Ashi dress as it had drama, something she considers essential when walking the red carpet, and was both sensual and modest. This is a balance Middle Eastern designers have always understood.
Priyanka Chopra wears Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad. Photo: Getty
One such designer is Reema Ameer, who is of Sri Lankan and Lebanese descent. She moved to Dubai 16 years ago, working from her studio at home in Dubai. Nathani notes that both regions have a heritage of craftsmanship and bespoke detailing, an important binding factor between the dressing styles. Nathani recently received much attention in India as actress Neetu Kapoor, the mother of actor Ranbir Kapoor, has been wearing her designs on repeat. “If European clients are more understated and individual in their approach to style, the Middle Eastern and Indian markets prefer a more groomed image. In that vein, there is a shared appreciation for hand-crafted textiles from beadwork to embroidery, which automatically ups the luxe factor, too. My Arab and Indian clients share a love for color and sparkle. I would say that they are both daring in their sense of style, and always open to trying new things.”
On the other side of the Arabian Sea are the Indian designers for whom the Gulf is almost an extension of their own market, with many Indian designers looking to open stores in Dubai, and seeking to make in-roads into Qatar, Kuwait, and Saudi. Designers Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Manish Malhotra, and Suneet Varma all come to the region to host pop-ups, with Mukherjee’s jewelry instore at Dubai-based concept, Bayt Damas. Mumbai-based Anita Dongre, one of India’s most successful designers, who retails on the Ounass platform and has participated in pop-ups in the Gulf, comments, “This is a region where old-world traditions and charms meet cutting-age technology and lived experiences. Like India, there is a value for culture and tradition, but people are also happy to celebrate 21st-century progress and modernity. There is an overlap in both regions’ dressing styles.” Delhi-based Rajdeep Ranawat, who retails in a multi-brand boutique in Dubai’s Jumeriah and who is also part of the Ounass edit, adds, “There is a vast South Asian community living here today, they are bound to visit boutiques and exhibitions for their social wardrobe essentials.” This explains why pop-ups in cities like Dubai, Doha, and Riyadh are now a part of an Indian fashion designer’s calendar. Ranawat says the UAE alone accounts for 15% of his turnover, and that today, many of his clients are Arab. Since Indian designers are open to making customized changes and have a tendency to be more modest in their approach to designs, their fashion is appreciated. “The Middle East is an important fashion hub for Indian designers,” he asserts. Given the historical relationship between the two regions and similarities in approach to dressing, it is a very natural relationship. As both India and the Middle East continue to affirm themselves as leaders in the fashion space, their long-term affection for each other will only help them thrive.
Originally published in the July/August 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
Read Next: An Ode to Pink and India-Middle East Ties: Inside Vogue Arabia’s July/August 2022 Issue

Pictures: Bottega Veneta Celebrates Emerging Middle Eastern Creatives With a Three-Night Majlis in Dubai

Pictures: Bottega Veneta Celebrates Emerging Middle Eastern Creatives With a Three-Night Majlis in Dubai

Carl Gerges. Photo: Augustine Paredes of Seeing Things
Amid the series of star-studded Ramadan events hosted by international brands this month, Bottega Veneta launched its version of a majlis for not one, but three nights. Aptly named ‘The Square’, the structured space was conceptualized by Lebanese architect and musician Carl Gerges, one of the many talents celebrated by the Italian fashion house’s cultural exchange over April 12, 13, and 14, 2022. “The Square Dubai connects the two parts of who I am, music and architecture,” says Gerges. “My input entails linking design, music, and gatherings as a means to push forward a community of artists and thinkers in an architectural intervention.”
Photo: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta
The custom place, rendered in signature Bottega Veneta green, invited small handpicked groups of guests from the local art, music, and fashion industries each night to discover the work of the Middle East’s emerging creatives. “To embrace an emphasis on sharing and togetherness at the time of Ramadan,” Bottega Veneta hosted film screenings, musical performances, storytelling sessions, poetry recitals, and offered cuisines by a number of local talents to its visitors.
Shaima Al Tamimi. Photo: Augustine Paredes of Seeing Things
Yemeni and East-African Shaima Al Tamimi showcased her short film Don’t Get Too Comfortable, which was also screened at La Biennale di Venezia, and nominated for the Orrizonti Award. The film is a letter to her late grandfather, contemplating their pasts and future as Arabs in the diaspora.
Asma Elbadawi. Photo: Augustine Paredes of Seeing Things
Next, poetry was read by Asma Al Badawi, the Sudanese-British spoken word poet known for advocating for inclusivity and diversity in women’s sports, and Mustafa the Poet, the Canadian songwriter whose genre-defying work explores his identity as a Black Muslim artist. Guests were also served delectable dishes made by Solemann Haddad, the chef and co-owner of Dubai’s newly opened restaurant, Moonrise.
Mustafa the Poet. Photo: Augustine Paredes of Seeing Things
After its debut in Dubai, the concept of The Square will travel to a few different cities on varying scales to foster local communities worldwide. According to the brand, The Square’s second installment will take place in Tokyo at the end of April.
Samer Doumet. Photo: Augustine Paredes of Seeing Things
Read Next: The 25 Best Kaftans To Wear for Iftars and Suhoors This Ramadan

Inside Cartier’s Spectacular High Jewelry Exhibit in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia

Inside Cartier’s Spectacular High Jewelry Exhibit in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia

Last week, Cartier presented its high jewelry collection in the historic district of At-Turaif, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. The collection titled ‘Al Thara wa Althuraya’ was presented in partnership with Diriyah Gate Development Authority – a curated showcase of over 200 pieces of beautiful designs (and 40 from the iconic Cartier collection), most of which have never been presented before to the public. The exhibition was an homage to the maison’s longstanding relationship with the Kingdom. “This collaboration is a true honor, and we would look forward to the journey ahead,” said Kalid Lanssari, Managing Director of Cartier, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Cartier’s five style indicators—fauna and flora, geometry and contrast, architecture and epure, cultural explorations, and ludique—are beautifully reflected in the striking designs that are currently being exhibited, and embody Cartier’s signature aesthetic, that of everlasting and timeless designs, and an endless devotion to creating novel pieces.  The maison’s commitment to preserving exquisite heritage sites also falls in line with the venue of the exhibit. At-Turaif’s importance as a major cultural symbol of the Kingdom, of course, is well known in the region. “As a global destination for historical and cultural enthusiasts, the ‘Al Thara wa Althuraya’ exhibition is an ideal complement to what we do, and most importantly, pays respect to Saudi’s rich and diverse history,” shared Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority.

Some of the most notable pieces in the exhibition included Cartier’s Chimera bracelet (made in 1929 and crafted entirely of platinum, and green and blue gemstones), and the infamous Crocodile necklace, made in 1975 for the screen siren María Félix. Created using more than a thousand yellow diamonds and a thousand emeralds, this one is a piece you don’t want to miss out on seeing.

The momentous occasion was celebrated with a special concert by the British Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which was conducted by Thomas Roussel, and was beautifully complemented by Sawsan Al Bahaiti, the voice of Saudi Arabian Opera.

Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, said, “Diriyah is known as the jewel of The Kingdom. We have proven this of late, as we start to host a range of arts and culture programs for the bourgeoning audiences from across Saudi Arabia. This partnership has been a pleasure and we loved welcoming our guests of honor and look forward to the following days.”

Everything to Know About the 10th Edition of Women’s Film Week in Amman

Everything to Know About the 10th Edition of Women’s Film Week in Amman

HRH Princess Basma bint Talal. Photo: Courtesy of Royal Film Commission
Under the esteemed patronage of HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal, a fellow UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, and the artistic direction of Ghada Saba, Women’s Film Week is set in motion for its 10th edition in Amman, Jordan. Honoring the occasion of Women’s History Month, the week of films will spotlight works by and/or about women.
Ghada Saba, artistic director of Women’s Film Week. Photo: Courtesy of Royal Film Commission
Women in cinema—from actors to producers and directors—will present their creative works in the span of five days from Tuesday, March 8 to Saturday, March 12, 2022 at the Rainbow Theatre, Jabal Amman, 1st Circle.
Addressing global issues such as climate changes, sustainability, gender equality, and the roles women play in these fields, the event places women at the forefront of change and peace and security makers of the world. This film week allows for the experience of story-telling which is central to the impact that the world of cinema has on discussing complex issues.
Listed below are the films to be showcased throughout the week:
Tuesday, March 8
Touching on subjects such as climate change, noise and air pollution, and waste management, these two films aim to bring awareness in hopes of decreasing waste.
• 6pm – Bikes Vs Cars• 8pm – Red Soil (Rouge)
Wednesday, March 9
This collection of films calls attention to gender equality in the workforce and the struggle of women in male-dominated industries. Sunú specifically addresses the preservation of culture under the threat of rural development.
• 6pm – A collection of short films such as Tuk-Tuk, Mundo, Women Flying Dreams, and Kano Botanic Gardens• 8pm – Sunú
Thursday, March 10
Losing Alaska fights to maintain cultures and traditions that face threat under the changing weather conditions while From the Kitchen to the Parliament touches on female activism.
• 6pm – Losing Alaska• 8pm- From the Kitchen to the Parliament
Friday, March 11
Presenting further intersectional politics is The Ants and the Grasshopper which highlights racial and gender discrimination in the fight for climate change. Johanna Donhal: Visionary of Feminism is a tribute to Johanna Donhal, one of the first European feminists.
• 6pm – The Ants and the Grasshopper•  8pm – Johanna Dohnal: Visionary of Feminism
Saturday, March 12
Toxic fallout from industrial developments mostly affects those in indigenous and black communities in There’s Something in the Water. The latter discusses justice in the court of judicial law and the extremities of so.
• 6pm – There’s Something in the Water• 8pm – Palazza Di Giustizia and Ordinary Justice
Read Next: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Celebrate Women’s History Month with a Special Announcement

From Hendi Sabri to Irina Shayk, What Your Favorite Celebrities Wore to the Red Sea International Film Festival

From Hendi Sabri to Irina Shayk, What Your Favorite Celebrities Wore to the Red Sea International Film Festival

Hend Sabri. Photo: Amina Zaher
Saudi Arabia‘s historic Al-Balad lit up on the evening of December 6 as some of the world’s biggest stars descended in Jeddah for the Kingdom’s first international film festival. The Red Sea International Film Festival‘s opening night was cause for celebration not only for the Middle East’s proud actors and filmmakers, but also global talents who joined in to spotlight the many achievements of Arab cinema. Showing their support, in attendance were Marvel star Anthony Mackie, English actor Clive Owen, American actor Hilary Swank, and Italian actor Michele Morrone. Internationally-followed models Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio, Irina Shayk, Shanina Shaik, and Sara Sampaio also made glamorous attendees, with some donning Arab designers. While Sampaio and Shaik chose shimmering pieces from Lebanese couturier—and Ball of Arabia 2021 co-chair—Zuhair Murad, Ambrosio opted for a white number by Georges Hobeika with a thigh-high slit.
The Arab world’s stars, of course, made sure to match the energy of the historic ceremony dressed in creations by regional designers. Jury member Hend Sabri championed Saudi talent in a bespoke off-white pleated gown by Honayda. Actors Razane Jammal and Tara Emad opted for flowing silhouettes by Lebanese label Harithand, while couturier Georges Hobeika’s head-turning pieces were worn by Saba Mubarak and Rym Saidi. As for iconic actors Yousra and Lebleba, delicate violet gowns doused in embellishment were the order for the day.
It’s safe to say, however, that saturated hues ruled the red carpet last evening. While Mila Al Zahrani opted for a royal blue tulle number, Mahira Abdelaziz chatted with Vogue Arabia in a draped orange Tony Ward, and Saudi actor Ahd Kamel went the emerald route in Jeddah-based Saudi designer Ruba Bahareth. Among the most interesting looks from the evening was Karen Wazen’s sharp black pantsuit, proof that power dressing never fails.
As the evening progressed, guests were treated to a theatrical dance performance that marked the opening of the 10-day festival at the Red Sea Gala Theatre, and also witnessed an award ceremony, where three inspiring women were honored: Egyptian actress Laila Elwi, who has often been admired for her bold choice of roles, French actress, singer, model, and producer Catherine Deneuve, and Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour, who shared a heartfelt speech. Below, we take you through some of the best red carpet moments from the Red Sea International Film Festival.
Rym Saidi in Georges Hobeika and Chopard. Photo: Amina Zaher
Saba Mubarak in Georges Hobeika. Photo: Amina Zaher
Shanina Shaik in Zuhair Murad. Photo: Amina Zaher
Lebleba. Photo: Amina Zaher
Ahd Kamel in Ruba Bahareth. Photo: Amina Zaher
Alessandra Ambrosio in Zuhair Murad. Photo: Amina Zaher
Ali Al Sharif. Photo: Amina Zaher
Elham Shahin in Heba Edris. Photo: Amina Zaher
Hend Sabri in Honayda and Fawaz Gruosi. Photo: Amina Zaher
Irina Shayk. Photo: Amina Zaher
Khairiah in Rubaiyat. Photo: Amina Zaher
Razane Jammal in Harithand. Photo: Amina Zaher
Read Next: This Fashion Sustainability Event in Saudi Arabia Encourages Guests To Swap Designer Clothing
Junior Fashion Editor: Mohammad Hazem RezqCreative producer: Ankita Chandra Local production: Basamat Arabia

From Hend Sabry to Irina Shayk, What Your Favorite Celebrities Wore to the Red Sea International Film Festival

From Hend Sabry to Irina Shayk, What Your Favorite Celebrities Wore to the Red Sea International Film Festival

Hend Sabry. Photo: Amina Zaher
Saudi Arabia‘s historic Al-Balad lit up on the evening of December 6 as some of the world’s biggest stars descended in Jeddah for the Kingdom’s first international film festival. The Red Sea International Film Festival‘s opening night was cause for celebration not only for the Middle East’s proud actors and filmmakers, but also global talents who joined in to spotlight the many achievements of Arab cinema. Showing their support, in attendance were Marvel star Anthony Mackie, English actor Clive Owen, American actor Hilary Swank, and Italian actor Michele Morrone. Internationally-followed models Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio, Irina Shayk, Shanina Shaik, and Sara Sampaio also made glamorous attendees, with some donning Arab designers. While Sampaio and Shaik chose shimmering pieces from Lebanese couturier—and Ball of Arabia 2021 co-chair—Zuhair Murad, Ambrosio opted for a white number by Georges Hobeika with a thigh-high slit.
The Arab world’s stars, of course, made sure to match the energy of the historic ceremony dressed in creations by regional designers. Jury member Hend Sabry championed Saudi talent in a bespoke off-white pleated gown by Honayda. Actors Razane Jammal and Tara Emad opted for flowing silhouettes by Lebanese label Harithand, while couturier Georges Hobeika’s head-turning pieces were worn by Saba Mubarak and Rym Saidi. As for iconic actors Yousra and Lebleba, delicate violet gowns doused in embellishment were the order for the day.
It’s safe to say, however, that saturated hues ruled the red carpet last evening. While Mila Al Zahrani opted for a royal blue tulle number, Mahira Abdelaziz chatted with Vogue Arabia in a draped orange Tony Ward, and Saudi actor Ahd Kamel went the emerald route in Jeddah-based Saudi designer Ruba Bahareth. Among the most interesting looks from the evening was Karen Wazen’s sharp black pantsuit, proof that power dressing never fails.
As the evening progressed, guests were treated to a theatrical dance performance that marked the opening of the 10-day festival at the Red Sea Gala Theatre, and also witnessed an award ceremony, where three inspiring women were honored: Egyptian actress Laila Elwi, who has often been admired for her bold choice of roles, French actress, singer, model, and producer Catherine Deneuve, and Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour, who shared a heartfelt speech. Below, we take you through some of the best red carpet moments from the Red Sea International Film Festival.
Rym Saidi in Georges Hobeika and Chopard. Photo: Amina Zaher
Saba Mubarak in Georges Hobeika. Photo: Amina Zaher
Shanina Shaik in Zuhair Murad. Photo: Amina Zaher
Lebleba. Photo: Amina Zaher
Sara Sampaio. Photo: Amina Zaher
Tara Emad in Harithand. Photo: Amina Zaher
Ahd Kamel in Ruba Bahareth. Photo: Amina Zaher
Alessandra Ambrosio in Zuhair Murad. Photo: Amina Zaher
Karen Wazen and Elias Bakhazi. Photo: Amina Zaher
Ali Al Sharif. Photo: Amina Zaher
Elham Shahin in Heba Edris. Photo: Amina Zaher
Hend Sabry in Honayda and Fawaz Gruosi. Photo: Amina Zaher
Irina Shayk. Photo: Amina Zaher
Khairiah in Rubaiyat. Photo: Amina Zaher
Razane Jammal in Harithand. Photo: Amina Zaher
Read Next: This Fashion Sustainability Event in Saudi Arabia Encourages Guests To Swap Designer Clothing
Junior Fashion Editor: Mohammad Hazem RezqCreative producer: Ankita Chandra Local production: Basamat Arabia

10 of Princess Diana’s Best Fashion Moments in the Middle East

10 of Princess Diana’s Best Fashion Moments in the Middle East

Princess Diana. Photo by Anwar Hussein
Though Princess Diana‘s legacy extends far beyond fashion, she is arguably one of the biggest fashion icons of the 20th Century. When she was only 25 years old, Princess Diana made two trips to the Middle East. The first trip to Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia and the second in March 1986 that included Kuwait and the UAE.
Diana developed a “very glamorous regal style” for overseas trips by donning outfits paying homage to the host nation. During a trip to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, she wore a dress emblazoned with gold falcons, an emblem of Kingdom.
Ahead of what would have been her 60th birthday on July 1, we look at some of her best ensembles from royal tours in the Middle East over the years.

1986
Photo: Getty Images
As part of her Middle East tour in November 1986, Princess Diana is seen wearing a white evening gown in 1986.
1986
Photo: Getty Images
Princess Diana with HRH Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in November 1986.
1986
Photo: Getty Images
Princess Diana is seen at the Palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said in Oman, during her Middle East royal tour in November 1986.
1986
Photo: Getty Images
Princess Diana is pictured here visiting a Bedouin Camp in the desert on her Middle East tour in November 1986.
1986
Photo: Getty Images
Wearing a black and white evening dress designed by the Emmanuels, Princess Diana attends a dinner given by the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia on November 17, 1986
1986
Photo: Getty Images
The Princess of Wales is seen wearing a Catherine Walker outfit while a trip to the desert during a visit to Saudi Arabia in November 1986.
1989
Photo: Getty Images
This is from the Prince and Princess of Wales’ official visit to the Arab States in the Persian Gulf, March 1989 where Princess Diana is seen wearing a Catherine Walker suit and a Philip Somerville turban hat on arrival in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
1989
Photo: Getty Images
At the Islamic Museum in Kuwait in March 1989, the Princess is seen wearing a red and pink outfit designed by Catherine Walker.
1989
Photo: Getty Images
The Princess of Wales in Kuwait in March 1989 during her royal tour of the Gulf.
1992
Photo: Getty Images
Princess Diana pictured at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt in May 1992.
Read Next: Princess Diana’s Statue Arrives at Kensington Palace Ahead of its Unveiling on Her 60th Birthday

“Either we all win or we all lose” – Read Gucci’s Powerful Message to the Fashion Industry

“Either we all win or we all lose” – Read Gucci’s Powerful Message to the Fashion Industry

Photo: Gus Van Sant/Courtesy of Gucci
From hacking Balenciaga for its 100th-anniversary collection to launching a new homeware line, whatever Gucci does, the world sits up and pays attention. And with the Italian fashion house now officially the most popular luxury brand among gen-Z consumers – which also happens to be the demographic that’s most concerned about a company’s values – Gucci doesn’t take its status as a megabrand lightly.
“[Brands] should lead by example,” Marco Bizzarri, Gucci CEO and president, tells Vogue via video call of the company’s commitment to lowering its environmental impact. “We have decided to use our platforms and our voice because of the awareness of the Gucci brand worldwide. Like any other company or industry in the world, we need to understand it’s not even a choice – we just need to do it.”

Reducing environmental impact
The brand is clearly making strides in the right direction, with its first Gucci Equilibrium Impact report revealing it has managed to achieve its 2025 target – to reduce its environmental footprint by 40 per cent compared to 2015 – four years early, achieving a 44 per cent reduction relative to growth. The brand’s greenhouse gas emissions, which includes emissions in its supply chain, also fell by 47 per cent in relation to growth – not far off its 2025 target of a 50 per cent reduction.
Will Gucci now be setting a more ambitious goal as a result? “We don’t win any prizes for reaching the objective earlier,” Bizzarri – who confirms that Gucci has also reduced its footprint in absolute numbers, despite the brand growing – responds. “We are working continuously in terms of using new materials, renewable energy, and technology to change our processes. I think it’s important that we continue in that direction, and set targets going forward that are more and more ambitious.”
It’s worth remembering that Gucci has actually been carbon neutral across its own operations and its supply chain since 2018, by offsetting any emissions it can’t reduce or avoid — with Bizzarri encouraging other companies to do the same as part of the Carbon Neutral Challenge in 2019, when he appealed to CEOs for faster action to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. “I’m not a great believer in targets for 2050 because it’s something I cannot control; I don’t want to give this kind of burden to my successor,” the 58-year-old explains. “By 2050, I’m going to be 90 – the company has to do what is possible [now].”
Other eco-initiatives
Circularity, too, is increasingly a focus for Gucci – as shown by its recent partnership with luxury resale site The RealReal and the launch of its Off The Grid collection in 2020, a unisex range made entirely out of organic, recycled and bio-based materials. “Working on this project was very interesting because I would say my job [is], above all, experimentation,” Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele told Vogue at the time. “The project has become a symbol for the new era.”
Investing in ecosystem restoration and protecting biodiversity is also crucial when it comes to helping our planet, which is why Gucci launched its Natural Climate Solutions Portfolio in January to conserve critical forests, restore and protect mangroves, and scale up regenerative agriculture projects. “Apart from the fact that investing in biodiversity and nature is good, as a whole, for our company, it is very much related to what we do,” Bizzarri explains. “We rely on what comes from nature.”
Despite all the brand’s achievements to date, Bizzarri’s biggest hope is that others in the industry ramp up their eco-initiatives as well. “There isn’t a winner,” he concludes. “Either we all win or we all lose – it is extremely important we remember that.”
Read Next: Fashion’s Obsession with the Ocean is More Than Just a Trend — It’s a Call to Action
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk

Why adidas’s New Full-Cover Swimwear Collection Offers a Lot More Than Modesty

Why adidas’s New Full-Cover Swimwear Collection Offers a Lot More Than Modesty

Asma Elbadawi. Photo: Courtesy of adidas
adidas has unveiled its first full-cover swimwear collection offering a wider choice of versatile apparel for women. The range is designed to support the needs of those who find limited choice in swimwear and is informed – via community engagement and global insights – by those who expressed a need for full-coverage swimwear for cultural reasons, or those just looking for greater choice via a broader range of technical apparel to suit their needs in the water.
This is a collection especially needed for Middle Eastern women. A YouGov survey commissioned by adidas this year reveals that only 12% of women surveyed are completely comfortable wearing a swimsuit at a public beach or pool. Body shame and lack of privacy are the two main reasons women do not feel comfortable in their swimsuits. Additionally, 59% of women aged 18-42 surveyed in the UAE agree or strongly agree that the “media creates an unattainable body image for female swimmers.”
Photo: Courtesy of adidas
“At adidas we believe that nobody should be prevented from enjoying the benefits of being in and around the water. We are constantly looking at ways to diversify our product offering for all women and our Full-Cover Swimwear Collection is rooted in that mentality,” says Sybille Baumann, Senior Product Manager of adidas Swimwear.
Hence, the multi-piece collection includes swimsuits that offer coverage from neck to ankle. This piece features press studs inside the top at hip height and along the outside of the fabric on the legs to connect the two and offer an adjustable fit as required, preventing unnecessary movement of material in and out of the water. It also features thumb holes in the sleeves for optimized fit. In addition, singlets with sleeves, and a swim hijab featuring a specially crafted adjustable inner cap to provide the perfect fit and to prevent it from slipping while swimming complete the collection.
The quick-drying range is made of chlorine-resistant fabric that features Econyl® regenerated yarn as part of adidas’s ongoing commitment towards sustainable design.

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The Beyond the Surface campaign, part of Watch Us Move – adidas’s broader initiative to create more space for women in sport – celebrates the power of water and its ability to defy restrictions, bring renewal, and accept everyone unconditionally. It is fronted by Sudanese-British Asma Elbadawi, basketball athlete, spoken-word poet, and sport inclusivity activist, who created a poem to celebrate her relationship with the water and the confidence it can bring to all women. She is known to have petitioned and succeeded in convincing the International Basketball Association to remove its ban on hijabs and religious headwear in the professional sport.
Dareen Barbar. Photo: Courtesy of adidas
“Sport never judges you, that is why we love it, and I am passionate about finding ways to ensure we can provide a level playing field for all,” Elbadawi says. “Sadly, that is not always possible, but gone are the days where sport apparel needs should be a barrier to entry, especially when it comes to being in and around the water. This is a project that is close to my heart, and I am incredibly proud to support a campaign that will remove barriers for women across the world to enjoy swimming.”
Elbadawi will feature in the campaign alongside Lebanese amputee athlete Dareen Barbar, Liuba Novikova, Queen Owie, and Tracey Massoud.
Dareen Barbar. Photo: Courtesy of adidas
The 18-strong piece collection will be available from June 10, 2021, on adidas.com, in black, aqua blue, and burgundy red in sizes 2XS to 2XL. Each item is sold separately and can be combined into one look or used as individual items.
Read Next: The Future of Sport is Her as adidas Puts Women at its Core

Middle East’s First Jewelry Line with Lab Grown Diamonds Launches Collection with Lebanese Entrepreneurs

Middle East’s First Jewelry Line with Lab Grown Diamonds Launches Collection with Lebanese Entrepreneurs

Reem Kanj, Aya Ahmad and Natalya Kanj. Photo: Courtesy of Fyne Jewellery.
Fyne Jewellery, the Middle East’s first contemporary fine jewelry brand created in Dubai using the highest caliber, conflict-free lab grown diamonds and responsibly sourced 18K gold, has launched Stargazing, an ethereal collection co-designed with founders of talent management agency Ego & East, Reem and Natalya Kanj. True to the name, every piece pays tribute to the stars and the sky, offering forward-thinking design – in line with the Kanj sisters’ minimal aesthetic.
“Our design process was very much organic: Reem and Natalya had a few inspired ideas and we worked closely together to design an effortless, intricate five piece collection. My favorite design from the Stargazing collection is the Zenith Diamond Body Chain – it’s very eye-catching but alludes a subtle sexiness to it as well. You immediately feel more confident as soon as you put it on,” Lebanese diamantaire and Fyne founder Aya Ahmad told Vogue Arabia.
Photo: Courtesy of Fyne Jewellery
Ahmad was first drawn to the world of lab grown diamonds for their innovative and inclusive outlook challenging traditional practices in the industry of mined diamonds. According to Ahmad, sustainability, now a necessity rather than a choice for brands, starts at the design stage; she believes that there is no use in creating a collection from recyclable and eco-friendly materials if new ‘drops’ are churned out every week, which is why Fyne is a made-to-order brand that designs season-less collections meant to last for generations.
Photo: Courtesy of Fyne Jewellery
Ahmad believes that sustainability in fashion is undoubtedly related to feminism. “The more we learn about global warming and its relation to consumerism, the more we see that it’s not a gender-neutral issue,” she says. “Particularly in the fashion industry, the statistics speak for themselves: 80% of garment workers are female, producing clothing for females, as women spend far more on clothing than men. What’s more, most of these women are operating in unsafe conditions and experiencing gender-based violence and harassment. This is all the knowledge we need to stand up for women, not just in the fashion industry, but against other rights violations globally.”
She added, “Because of the female nature of this issue, it’s no wonder that women are at the forefront of the sustainability movement. In fact, evidence suggests that females in the top executive and political positions are far more likely to prioritize sustainability and climate responsibility than their male counterparts due to their compassionate and empathetic nature. This shows that feminism directly benefits the earth, in ways more than one.”
Aya Ahmad. Photo: Courtesy of Fyne Jewellery
Ahmad says that her heritage plays a role in her jewelry design. “I come from a beautiful village in the South of Lebanon where we have ancient olive trees, a mountainous landscape that connects to the Mediterranean sea, and limestone houses built four decades ago, passed down through generations. The poetic landscape of this nature and the generational architecture fuel so much of my creativity, inspiration, and design aesthetic! They remind me that the earth needs to be preserved, not only for nature, but for people to continue to live and thrive. It’s this core value that pushes me to consciously create, always designing jewelry with sustainability in mind,” she added.
Natalya Kanj. Photo: Courtesy of Fyne Jewellery.
Reem and Natalya Kanj say that it’s key for them to utilize their platforms as influencers and businesswomen to ensure that their audience is excited and aware of the concept of sustainability and environmental issues, such as plastic pollution and climate damage.
“By sharing knowledge on the subject relating to isolated issues, such as the fires which devastated the Amazon rainforest in late 2019, or suggestions on how to maintain a more sustainable life through daily small changes, we perpetuate the subject in a relatable manner, hopefully offering a space for someone to grasp the issue and feel emotionally connected to it enough to make a change. We feel that highlighting and promoting fashion and beauty brands with sustainability at their core is a great way to remind everyone that what and how we shop have an impact on the planet,” they told Vogue Arabia.
Reem Kanj. Photo: Courtesy of Fyne Jewellery.
The Kanj sisters offer advice for aspiring jewelry designers who want to incorporate sustainability in their designs and promote it effectively.
“There are so many brands and companies using key words such as ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainable’ to simply greenwash themselves with no real steps or methods to actually contribute in a positive way. We would suggest that designers aim to truly understand how they can make changes to become more sustainable for the long term and implement these within the brand’s DNA. They can then educate their consumers on the difference they’re making and why it’s important in their social media content and marketing strategies,” they told Vogue Arabia.
Read more: Your Guide to Achieving Effortless Elegance This Summer

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