Country #7 in the Fashion Around the World Series….The United Arab Emirates (because I’m here)!

I’m going out of alphabetical order, but there’s no time like the present, while I’m here in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to write about the amazing fashion statements surrounding me. This is a true melting pot of people’s from every nation on Earth. Plus it’s West meets East with twists of the absolutely finest Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Indian flare. 

The UAE is a federal absolute monarchy at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian/Arabian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia, and sharing maritime borders with Qatar and Iran. While there are almost two million Emirati citizens in the UAE, there’s over eight million expatriates.

There are seven emirates (or provinces). The official religion is Islam and Arabic is the official language, although English is used in business and education. Emiratis are multi-lingual.

 The UAE’s oil reserves are seventh-largest in the world, while its economy is the most diversified in the Gulf Cooperation Council, with Dubai being an important globally cultural city. With all of it’s amazing attributes though, the UAE is still sometimes criticised for its human rights record, especially over the use of Sharia in some parts of its legal system. So what do you witness as an expat in the UAE? While there might be that troubled sector of society, which you can actually find in any country on Earth, there’s a bustling society of men and women walking hand and hand, and families enjoying the warm weather beaches and desert, and shopping in the amazing malls, souqs, and other areas throughout the UAE, and especially in Dubai. 

Although some women cover in the traditional black abiya, you will see every variety imagineable of long flowing silk gowns. And just like the abiyas vary greatly, so do the traditional hijabs (head coverings). 

Point blank, it’s fascinating to see the many forms of conservative fashion in the UAE. But don’t think fashion ends there….it’s also a center for high-end designer fashion, which is anything but conservative in appearance. 

The UAE is a collage of people wearing anything from colorful Indian Saris to the grunge look! It’s fun to watch, and to be a part of. Hassan (gentleman pictured below with head scarf) invited me to share a meal and Moroccan tea with his lovely daughter Ayha, and friends Ahmad, wife Najlia and baby Tahla. I couldn’t help but ask him about his own fashion choices. He told me that his headdress signifies he’s from the UK, but that other red and white checked head scarves for men show they are from Jordan. Still, Hassan said the men just like to be a bit fashionable as well, and so just as a Western man might change the style of tie he wears to work each day, so the Eastern men change their head scarves. And they’re not just stylish here, they are hospitable, cordial, friendly and fun-loving. Everyone should live life like an Emirati for a day at least once in their lifetime!! Good friends, great food, and beautiful fashion.

In the UAE, you never know who’s who. Ahmad is Egyptian, Najlia is Syrian, and while Hassan is of UAE origin, both he and his daughter are UK citizens. And me, I’m an American living in the UK and just in Dubai on business like so many others. There was no way I could leave here without doing a little bit of shopping myself. Check out my Jordanian long flowing jacket.I can’t  wait to wear it over a beautiful long summer dress just like to the ladies do it here!


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