UAE designers on how culture and modesty are reflected in their Ramadan collections

There’s been an overwhelming consensus within the fashion industry, that modesty is currently on-trend. The movement ­heralds layered looks, maxi lengths and overall ­coverage when it comes to skin. This, fortunately, coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, and even though it may take place in the middle of the summer in the Emirates, it’s a time to cover up while looking stylish and glamorous.

Global e-tailers, recognising the spending power of the Middle East, are cleverly targeting Ramadan-fashion-hunting ­consumers. London-based luxury e-commerce site Net-a-Porter has sent tailored newsletters promoting glamorous modest-wear to its Middle East-based customers, and high-street portal Asos.com even has “The Ramadan edit” at the top of its drop-down menu at present. While international brands may be readily available, Ramadan is a great season to support local fashion labels, which tend to thrive at pop-ups and exhibitions leading up to, and during, Ramadan.

Traditionally, the international fashion ­calendar revolves around two seasons: spring/summer and autumn/winter, with some brands offering cruise and resort ­collections in between the two main ­seasons. But in the Middle East, the month of Ramadan calls for an entirely new season – one which regional fashion designers are quick to capitalise on, creating capsule collections dedicated to the holy month.

It makes sense; dressing up during ­Ramadan is part of the culture ingrained in the Emirates. “You always want to look your best in Ramadan,” explains Emirati designer Yasmin Al Mulla. “It’s the month where you meet the people who you haven’t seen since last Ramadan.”

The designer, who has created a range of delicately embellished kaftans for her label, YNM, says elegance is key during Ramadan. “Some people have got this wrong image, that the holy month is about wearing clothes that are very loose or ugly, but being modest is on trend right now,” she explains. While Al Mulla creates skirts, tops and separates for her spring and ­autumn collections, she concentrates solely on kaftans for Ramadan, making sure that the designs are still cohesive with her ­feminine, easy-to-wear aesthetic.

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