Modest fashion revolution in Dubai is set to change the clothes game

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The Modist is known for its creative designs.
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The Modist is showing off its designs at the event.
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Talabaya is known for its modern designs.
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An outfit designed by The Room.
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The Modist is popular across the region.
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Zaw Fashion is known for its bold color palette.
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A flower-printed dress by Zaw Fashion.
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A design by The Hijab Lee.
Updated 29 March 2018
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Modest fashion revolution in Dubai is set to change the clothes game

Disruptive is a loosely used and oft-misused term these days. Everyone likes the label as it is almost a badge of honor in this digital age, but not all those who use it necessarily qualify for it.
But the very first Pret-A-Cover Buyers Lane event isn’t one of the pretenders. The six-day celebration of modest fashion taking place at City Walk Dubai from March 28 to April 2 is turning the traditional format of fashion weeks on its head, by leveraging digital technology.
“We’re trying to be revolutionary,” says Alia Khan, chairwoman of the Islamic Fashion Design Council, which is organizing the event. “We felt that the fashion-week model presented a lot of issues for the industry which weren’t being addressed. Designers weren’t getting proper exposure, orders weren’t getting placed, and people weren’t able to connect with their work in a meaningful way. We wanted to create a base for engagement.”
And they are doing just that with a high-definition projection system that will showcase 90-second videos by each of the participating designers, to make for an immersive 360-degree experience. The multi-platform hi-tech projections include water curtains for holographic effect and LED screens to ensure a striking effect, which in turn gives designers a much more creative, powerful platform to bring their brand to life, rather than a standard one-time catwalk show.
According to Hatem Alakeel, one of the leading regional designers participating in the event, it will enable a stronger, closer connection between designers and their clients.
“It’s a large investment for a designer to do a show, so at the end of the day you want to ensure there’s a return on investment,” he says. “The cool thing about this event is that we have full control over the creative execution. For me it’s ideal, as I get to control my social media, my video, my merchandise … We can have our work live-streamed in an area that has traffic and visibility, and then people can actually come and see and feel the clothes at the pop-ups.”
Not just limited to digital versions of catwalk shows — which are taking place at 7-9pm each night — the bustling event includes a range of activities aimed at consumers as well as to facilitate business-to-business networking. Luxurious pop-up shops by the designers will allow customers to instantly buy what they see — a direction in which the global fashion industry seems to be moving — and there will also be placements in partner stores, as well as VIP shopping sessions and special sales.
The placements and pop-ups in partner retail stores — which includes big names such as Bloomingdale’s and Le-BHV/Marais and Galeries Lafayette — also benefit the mainstream outlets by driving traffic, and creating awareness among consumers about their modest fashion offerings.
“We’re cognizant that retailers also need to be supported,” said Khan. “So, we hope our new strategies will do away with the old way of doing things, and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement.”
This sort of disruptive approach to conducting business will manifest in other ways too. Panel discussions and seminars will be replaced by short, on-the-spot interviews between designers and influencers, which will be live-streamed; and facilitations of one-to-one meetings between retail outlets and more than 30 participating designers.
The repertoire includes a truly global mix, from regional labels such as Toby by Hatem Alakeel, to brands from the UK, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Malaysia, the US and Australia. The diverse range of offerings includes couture, sportswear, kidswear, and accessories; even beauty brands such as halal luxury skincare is on offer. Modest fashion retailers such as The Modist and Fashion Valet are also involved, bringing their selection of international designers into the mix.
From a designer’s perspective, the event, which is supported by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, provides a platform unlike any other. “I think it will create a new standard and raise the bar for designers,” Alakeel said.
And it is about time that the bar was raised, as the modest fashion industry prepares to come into its own. The estimated $250 billion industry is projected to grow exponentially to be worth almost $370 billion by 2020, according to a Global Islamic Economy report.
Commenting on the evolution of the industry, Khan said: “There’s always been a huge demand for modest fashion, but it’s only in the past four or five years that it has really started taking off. Now the mainstream fashion industry is realizing the potential, and asking themselves, why aren’t we a part of it? And to be frank, it all started thanks to social media, when bloggers and influencers started talking about it.”
It seems quite appropriate, then, that an industry that has had life breathed into it by something as new-age as social media is leading the charge in digitally revolutionizing — indeed, disrupting — how fashion is experienced and consumed.


MTV VMAs was a shocking event, for the wrong reasons

Updated 22 min 46 sec ago
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MTV VMAs was a shocking event, for the wrong reasons

NEW YORK: With most of music industry’s top acts absent — from Beyonce to Bruno Mars — the MTV Video Music Awards lacked star power and felt flat, and some of the winners turned heads — for the wrong reasons.

Exhibit A: Camila Cabello beat out Drake, Mars, Cardi B, Ariana Grande and Post Malone for artist of the year.

“I can’t believe this is for me,” Cabello said Monday onstage.

Neither can we.

Cabello achieved the unthinkable later in the show when she took home the top prize — video of the year — for “Havana.” Cabello’s song was a No. 1 hit and of the video of the year nominees, “Havana” was the second-most viewed clip behind Drake’s “God’s Plan.” But that’s partly since “Havana” was released last year while the other videos came out this year.

It was the night’s most shocking moment, and MTV seemed to send a message: You’re punished for not showing up and rewarded for attending.

Grande won best pop and Post Malone took home song of the year. Drake, the most successful musician of the last year, didn’t win a single award. Beyonce, Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar were restricted to technical honors like editing, art direction, cinematography and visual effects. And Gambino picked up best direction, choreography and video with a message for his heralded video “This Is America.”

The show hit another low when Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B and DJ Khaled won best collaboration for “Dinero” — a song that has peaked at No. 80 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart — besting the record-setting hit “Meant to Be,” by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line, and Mars and Cardi B’s anthemic “Finesse” remix.

Then there was the Aretha Franklin tribute, a moment Madonna made, well, all about Madonna.

The pop icon rambled and rambled about the early struggles in her career, finally informing the crowd that she sang Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at an audition that became a breakthrough for her.

“None of this would have happened without our lady of soul,” she said. “She led me where I am today ... I want to thank you Aretha for empowering all of us. ... Love live the queen.” It wasn’t clear if Madonna meant Franklin, or herself.

At least MTV did played a clip of Franklin, who died last week, singing “I Say A Little Prayer.”

The VMAs, at Radio City Music Hall in New York, also lacked oomph with its performances throughout the night: Grande was a bore during “God Is a Woman,” but added some excitement when she was joined by her mother, grandmother and cousin onstage at the end of the performance. Travis Scott, whose album is No. 1 for a second week, had strong energy while onstage, but the performance felt like it belonged more to singer James Blake, who is featured on Scott’s album and performed just as long as Scott during the segment.

There were a few highlights. Maluma, the Colombian singer who was nominated twice in the best Latin category, did have an exciting performance as he danced onstage with gyrating dancers. And Lopez started off slow — Kylie Jenner and Scott’s unamused faces perfectly captured the vibe — but she hit a strong stride when she sang old smashes like “Jenny from the Block,” “I’m Real” — where Ja Rule joined her onstage — and “All I Have,” which showed the skilled dancer’s vocal range.

But Lopez’s speech was more stirring than her performance: She was emotional as she thanked her children and beau Alex Rodriguez onstage when she earned the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement.

She was teary-eyed and looked at her “two little angels,” as she called them, and said, “I stand here stronger and better than ever ... so thank you Max and Emme.” She called Rodriguez, who filmed her performance with his phone, “my twin soul.”

“My life is sweeter and better with you in it,” she said.

Cardi B, who gave birth last month, won three awards and said people told her she was “gambling your career” when she decided to become a mother.

“I had the baby, I carried the baby and now I’m still winning awards,” she said.

She also seemed to take aim at Nicki Minaj, who while promoting her new album last week said other musicians have hired fans to listen to their music.

Cardi said she’s been blessed with fans “that you can’t buy,” looking into the camera and shouting an expletive.

Minaj won the first televised award — best hip hop — and checked comedian Tiffany Haddish for dissing girl group Fifth Harmony, now on hiatus.

After congratulating ex-Fifth Harmony member Cabello on her five nominations, Haddish said sarcastically, “Hi Fifth Harmony.” When Minaj accepted an award moments later, she looked to Haddish and said, “Don’t be coming for Fifth Harmony because Normani is that (chick).” Normani currently has her first hit apart from the group with the Khalid-assisted “Love Lies.”

Minaj, who has been a trending topic this week after she madly tweeted about why her new album debuted at No. 2 behind Travis Scott, also provided the first bleeped moment of the night when she told the audience to listen to her Apple Music radio show this week to hear “who the (expletive) of the day award is going to.”

There was just one political moment, orchestrated when Logic was joined onstage by young immigrants wearing T-shirts that read, “We are all human beings” to protest the Trump administration’s separation of migrant children from their parents after they illegally crossed the US-Mexico border. The rapper, best known for the suicide prevention anthem “1-800-273-8255,” wore a T-shirt that read, “(Expletive) the wall.”

There was one posthumous winner: Avicii, who died in April, won for best dance for “Lonely Together” alongside Rita Ora.



THE WINNERS’ LIST
Video of the year: Camila Cabella, “Havana”
Artist of the year: Camila Cabello
Song of the year: “Rockstar,” Post Malone featuring 21 Savage
Best new artist: Cardi B
Best collaboration: “Dinero,” Jennifer Lopez featuring DJ Khaled & Cardi B
Best pop: “No Tears Left to Cry,” Ariana Grande
Best hip hop: “Chun-li,” Nicki Minaj
Best Latin: “Mi Gente,” J Balvin and Willy William
Best dance: “Lonely Together,” Avicii featuring Rita Ora
Best rock: “Whatever It Takes,” Imagine Dragons
Video with a message: “This is America,” Childish Gambino
Song of summer: ““I Like It,” Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin
Best art direction: “Ape----,” (The Carters) Jan Houlevigue
Best choreography: “This is America,” (Childish Gambino), Sherrie Silver
Best cinematography: “Ape----,” (The Carters), Benoit Debie
Best direction: “This is America,” (Childish Gambino) Hiromurai
Best editing: “Lemon,” (N.E.R.D. and Rihanna), Taylor Ward
Best visual effects: “All the Stars” (Kendrick Lamar and SZA), Loris Paillier
Push artist of the year: Hayley Kiyoko