Top fashion trends for 2020

The buzzword for fashion in 2020 will undoubtedly be sustainability. (Getty)
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Updated 03 January 2020

Top fashion trends for 2020

  • From durable denim to shimmering sequins, these are the looks that will dominate the year ahead

MUMBAI: The buzzword for fashion in 2020 will undoubtedly be sustainability. Everyone from comedian Hasan Minhaj to Anna Wintour — fashion’s ultimate last word — is talking about how we all need to be more mindful of our fashion consumption. A recent United Nations study revealed that the industry is responsible for about 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and 20 percent of all wastewater, and consumes more energy than the airline and shipping industries put together. The way we currently consume fashion is literally killing our planet. Of course, that doesn’t mean we are going to stop shopping — nor is fashion going to stop pushing new styles. But as we start a new decade, fashion will have to establish a new order — one in which consumers realize that less can be more. There will be other major trends in 2020, as we reveal below, but this will be the year’s defining one.

The new power piece

Borrowing from a man’s wardrobe will never go out of style. But this year, it’s one of the most traditional and often-ignored silhouettes that is set to become a woman’s best friend: the waistcoat. Whether you’re wearing it with a suit, as suggested by Burberry (pictured), with a high-slit skirt à la Gucci, or taking your cue from Celine and giving it a boho twist by pairing it with jeans, a tunic-style shirt and some layered neckpieces, the waistcoat is a true investment buy.

Jungle fever

Conde Nast have become the first media company to sign the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.  The industry is acknowledging its contribution to the current climate crisis and also celebrating the beauty of nature, be it Marni’s ode to the wilderness (pictured), Carolina Herrera’s ‘Super Blooms’ or Dior’s “inclusive garden” at Paris Fashion Week. And the most Instagrammed moment of the year’s Spring/Summer 2020 runway collections was Jennifer Lopez in palm-print dress by Versace. The 50 year old style icon wore a redux version of a dress she wore 20 years ago to the Grammys, and showed that palm print is back, and stronger than ever.

The big bag theory

2019 was all about micro bags. For 2020, we’re pleased to say, it’s time to roll out the super clutches and oversized totes because the big bag is back. (Finally, we can carry more than our keys and a credit card again…) Leading the way is the brand of the moment, Bottega Veneta (pictured). From large pouches and giant crossbodies, these are bags you can carry your office in.

Keep it short

There’s a pair of shorts to suit every woman this year — from hotpants to baggy shorts, you can’t go wrong with this silhouette. Heritage labels including Hermes (pictured) and Salvatore Ferragamo are favoring the high-cut style, while Tod’s, Max Mara and Bottega Venetta give their nod to the more-modest Bermuda shorts.

The Nineties are back

With consumers looking for trans-seasonal pieces that offer longevity, fashion is looking back to the 1990s, the decade of minimalism. Tank tops, easy dresses, and the white shirt — all staples of the time — have now become high-fashion pieces, as seen at The Row, Gabriella Hearst, Prada (pictured) and Bottega Veneta.

Get crafty

As ‘slow fashion’ comes to the fore, the industry is going back to focusing on its arts-and-crafts roots, with crochet becoming increasingly influential. But this is not your grandma’s crocheting — this is a new high-fashion style. Stella McCartney’s lace-y look and Isabel Marant’s Brazilian vibe (pictured) are two great examples of how this traditional art is being updated for 2020.

Bling it on

It’s 2020 and time to shine. Fashion is celebrating the new decade with sequins, turning simple silhouettes such as tuxedo jackets and slip dresses into elevated classics. Seen on the runways of shows by Saint Laurent (pictured) and Ralph Lauren, this is an effortless way to shimmer and shine.

The new trench

Of course Burberry went strong on this outwear staple--- it was this label that first brought made the trench a statement piece. But now many brands are putting their twist on in- be it Michael Kors by adding seriously exaggerated power shoulders to this this classic style or Oscar de la Renta’s floral laser-cut details (pictured) for a feel of feminine ease.

Denim deluxe

In keeping with fashion’s more-relaxed attitude in 2020 (and the penchant for long-lasting clothing) it’s no surprise to see denim — particularly jeans — reclaiming their place in women’s wardrobes. From skinny-fit to flares, a pair of well-cut jeans is a must-have this year. Seen on the catwalks at Chanel, Celine (pictured) and Bottega Veneta you cannot go wrong with denim in 2020.

Go bright or go home

Everyone needs that one fun addition to their look and what better to add some vibrancy that with fluorescent colors? From Valentino’s neon-yellow tiered gown to Jeremy Scott’s puffy technicolored cocktail dresses (pictured), it seems color is the way to make an evening statement next year.


The mother of Arabic calligraphy? Exploring Kufic script

Kufic script is one of the most recognizable and exquisite scripts of Arabic calligraphy. (Getty)
Updated 30 min 3 sec ago

The mother of Arabic calligraphy? Exploring Kufic script

  • Saudi Arabia has declared 2020 as the Year of Arabic Calligraphy
  • Developed centuries ago, the Kufic script is considered one of the oldest forms of Arabic calligraphy

DUBAI: Practiced for hundreds of years, Arabic calligraphy is being acknowledged on a grand scale in 2020.

Saudi Arabia has declared 2020 as the Year of Arabic Calligraphy, and UNESCO has registered Arabic calligraphy on its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

“Like many of my colleagues, I was thrilled that UNESCO recognized its historical importance for the heritage and culture of Islamic lands,” Prof. Tanja Tolar, a specialist in medieval Islamic art, told Arab News.

The word Kufic is derived from the southern Iraqi town of Al-Kufa. (Getty)

“Many consider calligraphy as quintessentially Islamic, the cultural identity of the Muslim world,” said Tolar, who teaches the history of Arab painting at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

“If you ask any student of Islamic art what attracted them to the study of this subject, they often specify the beauty of Arabic calligraphy.”

Kufic script is one of the most recognizable and exquisite scripts of Arabic calligraphy. It is so revered and foundational that medieval Egyptian encyclopedist Al-Qalqashandi once declared: “The Arabic script is the one which is now known as Kufic. From it evolved all the present pens.”

Developed between the seventh and 10th centuries, the Kufic script is considered one of the oldest forms of Arabic calligraphy.

The Kufic script was notably used for writing Qur’anic manuscripts. (Getty)

According to scholars, its name is derived from the southern Iraqi town of Al-Kufa — a powerhouse of Arab scholarship and cultural learning in the medieval era — where this script was created.

For a long time, the Kufic script — which reached its peak by the ninth century — was notably used for writing Qur’anic manuscripts.

Its leaves would have been initially produced from calves’ and goats’ skin, also known as parchment.

The elaborate script also touched the surfaces of coins and inscriptions on tombstones and buildings.

Tolar said one of the earliest examples of the Kufic script can be found in the form of a 240-meter-long Qur’anic inscription in Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, dating back to 692 AD.

Stylistically, this bold, angular and rather strict form of calligraphy is characterized by short vertical and elongated horizontal strokes.


This form of calligraphy is characterized by short vertical and elongated horizontal strokes. 

“An angular script such as Kufic is so popular because it’s clear to read,” said Tolar. “We need to remember that often text was written to be read out loud, and legibility was of high importance. The writing gives a specific uniformity to the visual appearance of the script.”

Because of its signature elongated style, this kind of script was usually carried out in a landscape format, where verses dominated the space in a well-ordered fashion.

“Qur’ans in Kufic are organized in blocks which would see words of the text break between the end of one line and the beginning of the other,” said Tolar.

A famous example that demonstrates the Kufic script in its classical sense is the Blue Qur’an, a sumptuous ninth-century manuscript that was probably produced in Tunisia.

Elongated verses painted in gold have been set against an indigo-dyed parchment, creating a magnetic contrast.

Historically, calligraphers used the reed (or kamish) pen as a key writing utensil, dipped in black or red ink.

A famous example that demonstrates the Kufic script in its classical sense is the Blue Qur’an. 

On executing the perfection of this time-consuming form of writing, Tolar said the calligrapher would need to embody “patience, discipline and stamina. The hand needs a lot of practice to produce all letters the same way.”

Saudi calligraphy artist Abdulaziz Al-Rashidi is a great admirer of the aesthetics of this script, as one can see in his detailed and contemporary works.

“When I was 7 years old, it was the pen that I admired, not exactly calligraphy. I didn’t know anything about calligraphy, but from a distance I loved watching calligraphers write,” he told Arab News.

Al-Rashidi studied the intricacies of Arabic calligraphy at Madinah’s King Abdul Aziz University for four years under the supervision of notable calligraphy professors.

“You can’t imagine the state of happiness I was in when I held my first pen. I’ve learned that you need to practice daily and can’t execute this kind of art without having patience,” he said.

Coin with Kufic inscription. 

“For example, if you were to write the head of the ‘waw’ letter, you’ll encounter 15 rules of writing it. And if in a second your mind drifts away, you’ll lose its shape — it’s done.”

As with any art form, the Kufic script evolved over time. Helpful linguistic markers were introduced, and numerous styles of the script emerged in Iran, Andalusia and North Africa.

“In general, the Kufic script was the first of Arabic calligraphy. It has more than 500 types, some of which have remained, disappeared and are being developed,” said Al-Rashidi.

Due to the arrival of more cursive Arabic scripts, use of the Kufic script declined in the 12th century. But “it never lost its visual appeal,” Tolar said.