Turkey’s fashion bloggers reach out to Arab world

Turkish fashion gurus and bloggers at an event. AN photos by Menekse Tokyay
Updated 18 April 2018

Turkey’s fashion bloggers reach out to Arab world

ANKARA: Turkish fashion bloggers are proving a big hit across the Arab world as growing numbers of Muslim women seek new ways to express themselves while remaining true to their religious and cultural values.
Wafa Alkhalifa, from Riyadh, has followed Turkish blogger Gulsum Elkhatroushi on Instagram since they met in London last year at a shopping mall.
“I couldn’t take my eyes off her hijab, it was so elegant. So when I asked her where she bought it from, I learned that she was a fashion blogger and at the same time a designer,” Alkhalifa told Arab News.

Elkhatroushi, who is married to a Libyan, is one of the most followed fashion bloggers, especially among conservative women, and has 244,000 followers on Instagram. She is mostly followed by the young and wealthy. “One-third of my followers are from the Arab world and the Middle East. One of my dreams is to set up a branch in that region — which is a big mystery for me — to get closer to my female audience,” she said.

“My fashion concept is to conserve the inherent characteristics of cultural roots and incorporate it into fashion trends. I think Arab women are very successful at this.”
The popularity of Turkish soap operas has helped to promote Turkish fashion and bloggers. Meanwhile, a Turkish magazine, Ala — dubbed the “Vogue of the Veiled” — has offered creative interpretations of Muslim-conscious fashion since 2012.
Turkey’s expanding middle class, youthful population and digitalization of the retail sector has made fashion an increasingly important industry.
The Turkish e-commerce market is set to grow by 17.3 percent this year, according to Statista, an online business intelligence portal. The Turkish e-commerce market was worth $6,605 million in 2018, similar to Saudi Arabia’s at $6,128.2 million, it said.
Gamze Biran, a 30-year-old blogger, said her 124,000 online followers include many Arab women who choose clothes to make them feel better regardless of fashion trends.
“I have a strong audience in the Arab world. I’m glad they like my style and are inspired by me. I get nice feedback about the accessories and foulards (scarves) I use with my clothes,” she said.
“I think that Turkish fashion bloggers are increasingly reaching out to the Arab world and the Middle East because there are many common religious and cultural values. We resemble each other in terms of body shape and beauty concepts.”
Saudi Arabia is Turkey’s third-biggest export market in the Middle East for clothing, worth $169.5 million in the first half of 2017, according to the General Secretariat of Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporter Associations.
Turkish bloggers face competition from Kuwait, Lebanon and Dubai, including Huda Khattan, Hanadi Diab and Najla Kadour, but have carved out an important niche.
Hurrem Ahu Kalfa, who has a Turkish father and Saudi Arabian mother, is a blogger and organizer of fashion events for wealthy and devout women in Turkey. She has 229,000 followers on Instagram.
“For the past couple of years, I have been selling my modern-style hijab caps on Instagram,” she said. “I have many clients within Turkey and abroad, including from Gulf countries.”
Shahad is a young Saudi who recently started to follow Kalfa on Instagram. “The reason I follow Turkish fashion bloggers is that I like Turkish fashion and Turkey in general,” she said. “Following Turkish television was also influential in my decision.”


It-girls gather as influencer Rania Fawaz weds in Dubai

Rania Fawaz celebrated her nuptials in the presence of family and friends. Instagram
Updated 14 December 2019

It-girls gather as influencer Rania Fawaz weds in Dubai

  • On Friday, UAE-based influencer Rania Fawaz got married to her longtime partner Sammer Sommers in Dubai
  • The stylish guest list included everyone from Layla Kardan to Ola Farahat

DUBAI: On Friday, Dubai’s it-girls gathered at the Desert Palm Resort wearing their glittering best for Iraqi influencer Rania Fawaz’s wedding to her longtime partner Sammer Sommers.

The 24-year-old, who got married at a lavish ceremony over the weekend, celebrated her nuptials in the presence of family and friends, which included the likes of fellow it girls Dima Sheikhly and Hala Abdallah who both wore Rami Kadi gowns, Ola Farahat, who chose Aden Fashion, and Fatima Almomen who showed off a Romani design at the palm tree-lined resort.

Fawaz tied the knot wearing two different wedding gowns designed by her mother, Zeena Zaki. For the first look, the new bride looked to “Sex and the City” lead Carrie Bradshaw’s fictional Vogue couture spread for inspiration. 

She wore a strapless gown that featured a frothy, floor-trailing skirt and was paired with long, white gloves and a veil as she walked arm-in-arm with her new husband into the extravagant venue. 

The fashion influencer then switched into a second look, which comprised of a corset top paired with a billowing, tulle skirt to dance the night away with her loved ones.

“For everyone asking, both my dresses are from the greatest woman and designer ever @zeenazaki. More to come!! (sic),” Fawaz wrote on Instagram, alongside a video of her and her new husband making their grand entrance in a video post that she shared with her 818K followers. 

“Dress number one inspired by Carrie Bradshaw. couldn’t ask for a better person to design this beautiful masterpiece!! I love you @zeenazaki, you made my dream dress come true,” she captioned another series of snaps. 

As for her hair, the newly-married Instagram blogger opted for a sleek updo. Meanwhile, UAE-based makeup artist, who is of Jordanian descent, Mohammed Hindash was tasked with readying the bride for her big day. 

Also at the jam-packed nuptials was UAE-based crooner Layla Kardan, who serenaded guests with a live rendition of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” 

The stylish guest list also brought out Rene Borisova, Alanoud Badr and Enjy Kiwan. 

Ahead of the wedding, Fawaz and Sommers made things official at an intimate gathering surrounded by close friends and family. For the pre-wedding celebration, the blushing bride chose a white ensemble that consisted of a white, ruffled blazer and matching skirt from Dior. 

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It’s official Mr. & Mrs. Sommers

A post shared by Rania Fawaz (@raniafawazz) on

Fawaz and Sommers got engaged a little over one year ago.