The Arabic fashion show, full of colour, light and vibrant music was an amazing event. It started at 19:00 pm at the Ditsong Museum, Pretoria Central. There were 12 Countries who participated and showcased their traditional clothing: Libya, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Oman, Palestinian, Qatar, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Mauritania. The project brought together Arabic history through a different language – the language of fashion. The core idea of the fashion show was to celebrate the Centenary of Nelson Mandela & Jerusalem (AL-QUDS) the capital of Arab Culture.
Libya opened the show with their garments: the traditional attire for men - a long, white gown worn over a shirt and pants with an option of a black or white Muslim hat and the traditional women’s intricate and complex beaded creation. Studio 05 closed the show with their African/Arabic inspired fusion garments which brought together Arab and Africa cultures and rounded off the show.
Studio 05 brought in six models, representing all races, five females and one male. The different countries brought their own garments and representatives from each region dressed Studio 05 models during the event. The experience and colours were breath taking. It was the second Arab fashion show that Studio 05 was invited to and the garments showed how the perception of decency and modest clothing dramatically changes from one country to the other within the Middle East.
As students of fashion and young designers, it reinforced the truth that clothes reveal so many things about not only individual personality, but also culture, region and the social class of the wearer. The choice of a certain item of clothing can assume a fundamental moral value. For example, some Arab cultures believing that women without hijabs, a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women, are more open minded, but also have fewer morals, while women with a hijab are somewhat more religious and therefore more respectable.
With this in mind, clothes in the Middle East are not only a fashion statement, just like they are in the West, but they also have a stronger social and moral dimension.
Written by: Khashla Mthombeni