Traditional Saudi ‘wazarah’ inspires Western fashion giants

Traditional Saudi ‘wazarah’ inspires Western fashion giants
The trending ‘mini-skirt’, left, comparing to a ‘wazarah,’ right. (Photo courtesy: Twitter)
Updated 01 February 2018

Traditional Saudi ‘wazarah’ inspires Western fashion giants

Traditional Saudi ‘wazarah’ inspires Western fashion giants

JEDDAH: A woman’s skirt that was designed and released by a global clothes brand has caused a stir on Twitter in Saudi Arabia over its similar appearance to a traditional “wazarah” worn by men in Saudi Arabia and other Arab and South Asian countries.
The trending “mini-skirt” features a slightly different tying of the waist to make it look more feminine and is sold by Zara — one of the main brands of the Inditex group, among the world’s largest fashion retailers — in the UK for £69.99 ($100).
In its original version, the skirt is known as a “wazarah” or “fotah” in the Middle Eastern region and it is known as a “lungi” in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somaliland, Nepal, Cambodia, Djibouti, Myanmar and Thailand.
The Saudi designer of the contemporary luxury label, Hindamme, Mohammed Khoja, told Arab News, “This is an interesting piece by Zara, and clearly inspired by the traditional Arab undergarment otherwise known as a wazarah. I personally feel it’s a good thing that our traditional garments are influencing Western fashion giants such as Zara and appealing to a more global clientele as for a long time it’s been the contrary.”
Khoja added, “At the same time I also feel that their design team should acknowledge this reference; that would’ve made it 10 times more appealing rather than simply calling it a mini-skirt.”
Many people from Saudi Arabia tweeted about the design, making fun of its expensive price: @lll__Vll tweeted, “We can get a three-meter ‘wazarah’ for SR5 and you want us to pay £60?”
Another sarcastic commenter said: @arwagraphy, “For those who are upset with the price, you need go and ask the very first designer of ‘wazarah’ to sue the store (laughing emoji).”
The wazarah can be found in Saudi Arabia in local stores for SR10 ($2.70), with a variety of options in color and quality.
It is a type of sarong and a traditional garment worn around the waist. It is particularly popular in hot and humid regions.
Depending on local tradition, the wazarah is worn by men. They are tied or fastened in various ways and can be used in different cultural activities, ranging from normal daily life to elaborate wedding ceremonies.
For daily use, a simple “double-twist” knot is most popular, where two points on the upper edge of the lungi are brought together and twisted around twice, with the ends tucked in at the waist.