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6 Major Sustainability Trends Set To Change The GCC Landscape

Be in the know.

From ‘organic’ to ‘clean’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘free trade’, these are just a few of the trends that have blown up across the consumer sector in recent years – and the fashion, beauty and cosmetics industry is no different. Consumers have become more aware of sustainability issues and their environmental footprint, and more conscious of what they put on, as well as, in their bodies. As such, there has been a rise in demand for sustainable products in the fashion and beauty categories.

Consumers now want to know everything about the production process of their products. From what was used in their making, where those elements were sourced; where the product was made and by whom; whether those people were paid fairly; and if their product is recyclable. The trend is also catching on in the UAE, where the region’s major fashion platform, Fashion Forward, has been increasingly showcasing sustainable collections; and beauty and cosmetics categories such as natural and organic, for example, have been growing at an estimated 12- 15% annually, equating to a total projected industry value of $4 – $5 billion by 2022. These trends are being supported by the UAE government’s own National Sustainable Consumption and Production Plan Framework, which is encouraging the uptake of green products across the entire consumer sector.

beauty trends

With that in mind, what trends can we expect in the coming years, and how will this impact the fashion, beauty and wellness sector? Here are the top trends anticipated to create the most significant waves in the UAE and the wider GCC region.

Curbing Excessive Consumption

The No. 1 trend on the list is the desire to curb excessive consumption. Role models such as David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have had an enormous impact on environmental awareness. People are now more conscious than ever of the non-biodegradable plastic that ends up in our oceans, the old clothes that end up in our landfills, and all-around issues of sustainability, that highlight the need for us as a planet to stop consuming at the rate which we are – current figures show we are consuming 1.6 times the earth’s capacity. As a result, consumers are increasingly considering the necessity of their purchases and turning to more sustainable brands. This is demonstrated in trends such as the move toward second-hand fashion goods sold by retailers such as RETOLD, and the simplification of beauty routines, removing unnecessary products that are no longer seen as providing any value, trends that are expected to grow in popularity over the coming years. For brands, it means they will face a much more competitive landscape and will need to cater to new consumer demands, increasingly embracing principles such as the circular economy.

Outfit Rentals

How many times have you gone out to purchase a new outfit for a one-off occasion, only to then store it away in the back of your wardrobe where it collects mothballs and dust? Those days may be over, as more businesses offer a rental model for special garments, in light of the earlier mentioned trend to move toward less consumption. Across the UAE, there are now plenty of places offering this service, including Designer-24 and SW ONE, which not only rent any clothing but provide customers with access to affordable luxury.

fashion and style trends

Dedicated Clean Beauty

From dedicated clean beauty sections in retail outlets and e-commerce websites to dedicated clean beauty brands, there is likely to be much more variety across the product category in the coming years. From a desire to avoid harsh and toxic chemicals to a greater demand for organic ingredients that are good enough to eat, consumers are demonstrating a preference for such products despite them being more costly. Among the most prominent trends in this category is the rise of ingredients such as CBD, thanks to its medicinal, anti-inflammatory effects (ideal for problematic skin), and the increasing popularity of Korean beauty, which prioritises effective skincare over make-up. Local, popular clean beauty brands include Khadi Natural, Gwyneth Paltrow’s NEOM Organics, and Hoiisa.

Transparent Cosmetic Labels

In line with the move toward ‘clean’, ‘natural’, ‘organic’ and ‘vegan’ beauty, consumers are increasingly seeking clear and transparent labeling to determine what they are buying into when they spend their hard-earned dollars on beauty products. Sadly, many brands make such claims, which, while true regarding some ingredients, do not necessarily refer to all of them. As such, they might contain an organic ingredient say, while the remaining components do not meet the same criteria. A 2017 campaign, Come Clean About Beauty, conducted by the Soil Association, showed how widespread the practice was. Sadly, as a result of greenwashing, the term used for such practices, consumer trust in corporations at an unsurprising all-time low. Consumers now want access to key information that drives their purchasing decisions to be featured on product labels. These include testing practices, ingredient sourcing, and environmental impact. In the future, we are likely to see an increasing number of certifications from industry-wide bodies that can back-up brand claims.

sustainable fashion

Transparent Fashion Labels

The transparent labeling trend is not exclusive to the beauty industry and is now extending to fashion. Across the sector, consumers similarly want to know about the quality of materials used in their garment production, and the labour practices adhered to in their making. This is particularly the case after events such as the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh, in which over 1,100 people died, which was providing garments to major fashion retailers. Industry stakeholders are increasingly pushing major fashion retailers to disclose more information about their supply chains, with tools such as The Fashion Transparency Index, which addresses social and environmental policies, practices, and impacts. This drive is seeing more fashion lines launch dedicated sustainable lines, which focus on the reduction of their ecological impact. However, there is still much to be done in terms of transparency of the supply chain when it comes to workers’ rights, fair labour, and health and safety. For too long fashion brands have avoided addressing such issues due to the complexity of global supply chains. However, consumers are mounting pressure on them, and it is hoped that transparent labeling in this regard will become more widely adopted in the future. 

Alternative Eco-Friendly Materials

With the rise in concerns over sustainability, manufacturers are seeking alternative materials that can be used to produce garments with a lower carbon footprint, including being less water and fertiliser intensive. Among the most innovative alternative materials being used are algae, pineapple leaves, and Koba. Algae, used to make fibres and dyes, is drawing particular attention from the sports industry for athleisure garments and has also attracted the attention of H&M. It is entirely bio-degradable, as well as having multiple environmental benefits. Pineapple leaves meanwhile, once a widely used material, can be used to make fibres, as one company, Piñatex, is doing. (The leaves which it is made from would otherwise be discarded as waste.) As bioengineering benefits from more research, we will likely be seeing newer alternatives to traditional materials in the near future.

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Around the World with Eid Al-Fitr

Celebrate the fast, differently

Eid al Fitr and Eid ul Fitr are different spellings of the same Arabic phrase which means “festival of breaking the fast”. “Eid” is the Arabic word for “festival” or “holiday”, and it is used to refer to both Eid ul Fitr and Eid al Adha, another important Islamic holiday that commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to (PBUH) Allah’s command.

This is a time when Muslims come together to offer prayers, exchange gifts, and share meals with their loved ones. It is also a time to reflect on the values of Islam, such as compassion, generosity, and forgiveness, and to strengthen ties with family, friends, and the community.

Eid’s Global Significance

Eid is one of the most significant and widely celebrated festivals in the world. It is an occasion that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, and is a time of joy, celebration, and giving thanks. The significance of Eid is not just limited to Muslims; it is also recognised and celebrated by people from different cultures and religions around the world.

The significance of Eid varies across cultures and countries. In some countries, such as Egypt, Eid is celebrated for three days, while in others, such as Turkey, it is celebrated for four days. In some countries, such as Indonesia, Eid is known as “Lebaran” and is celebrated with traditional foods, such as Ketupat and Rendang. In other countries, such as Pakistan, Eid is a time for new clothes, henna designs, and special desserts, such as sheer khurma.

One of the most important aspects of Eid is the act of giving. Muslims are encouraged to donate to charity and to give gifts to friends and family members, especially to children. This act of giving is a way of expressing gratitude for the blessings that one has received throughout the year and is an opportunity to share those blessings with others.

Another important aspect of Eid is the gathering of family and friends. Muslims are encouraged to visit their relatives and loved ones during Eid and to strengthen ties with them. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, it is customary to visit the graves of loved ones during Eid and to pray for their souls.

Eid is also a time to forgive and seek forgiveness. Muslims are encouraged to forgive those who have wronged them and to seek forgiveness from those whom they have wronged. This act of forgiveness is a way of purifying one’s soul and starting anew.

UAE Eid Al-Fitr Celebrations

Eid al-Fitr is one of the most significant celebrations in the UAE, marking the end of Ramadan and a month-long fast from sunrise to sunset for Muslims. The festival is celebrated with much joy and enthusiasm, with families and friends coming together to share food, exchange gifts, and greetings, and participate in a range of traditions.

The day typically starts with a special Eid prayer, which is held at mosques and prayer grounds across the country. After the prayer, families often visit each other’s homes or gather in public spaces to enjoy traditional foods such as dates, sweets, and other delicacies. Children are often given money or gifts by their elders, and many families dress up in their finest clothes for the occasion.

In the UAE, there are also many events and activities that take place throughout the Eid al-Fitr period. These include traditional markets, food festivals, and cultural performances, as well as fireworks displays and other outdoor activities. Many shopping malls and other venues also hold special events and promotions during this time.

Overall, Eid al-Fitr is a time of joy and celebration in the UAE, with people of all ages and backgrounds coming together to share in the festivities and express their gratitude for the blessings of the past month.

Eid Celebrations Around the World

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated in various ways around the world, often reflecting the local cultural traditions and customs. Here are some examples:

Indonesia: In Indonesia, Eid al-Fitr is known as Lebaran. The celebrations typically last for one week, during which people visit their relatives and friends, and seek forgiveness from one another. Special food is prepared, including ketupat (a type of rice cake), rendang (spicy meat dish), and opor ayam (chicken in coconut milk).

Egypt: In Egypt, Eid al-Fitr is known as Eid el-Fitr. The celebrations last for three days, during which people wear new clothes and visit family and friends. Special dishes are prepared, including fata (a bread and rice dish), kahk (a type of biscuit), and maamoul (a sweet pastry).

Turkey: In Turkey, Eid al-Fitr is known as Şeker Bayramı (Sugar Festival). The celebrations last for three days, during which people visit their relatives and friends, and give candy or small gifts to children. Special dishes are prepared, including baklava (a sweet pastry) and güllaç (a dessert made from thin layers of pastry soaked in milk).

Malaysia: In Malaysia, Eid al-Fitr is known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Celebration Day). The celebrations last for one month, during which people visit their relatives and friends, and seek forgiveness from one another. Special dishes are prepared, including lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo), rendang (spicy meat dish), and ketupat (a type of rice cake).

United States: In the United States, Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslim communities across the country. Many communities hold special prayer services, followed by communal meals and other festivities. In some cities, there are even public celebrations, such as parades and street fairs.

Iceland: In Iceland, Eid al-Fitr celebrations are unique, in part, because the Ramadan fast is performed in a way that is not to be seen anywhere else in the world. Iceland’s midnight sun phenomenon means that during Ramadan many Muslims fast for up to 22 hours a day! Muslims in Iceland do have the choice to break their fast based on the timings of sunrise and sunset from the nearest country, or of Saudi Arabia, however many have iftar when the sun breaks above the Icelandic horizon. So when Eid al-Fitr comes around, the celebrations are magical. The capital city of Reykjavik has a few mosques where the joyous merrymaking takes place and guests come laden with food inspired by Indonesian, Egyptian, and Eritrean cuisines to celebrate this holy day.

Morocco: In Morocco, Eid al-Fitr festivities give center stage to the country’s colourful culinary dishes. Where other countries focus on gift-giving and more commercialised displays of celebrations, Moroccans, after their morning prayers, hold low-key foodie affairs with family and friends. Lamb, couscous, and prunes feature prominently in meals throughout the day, followed by traditional cookies and pastries.

These are just a few examples of how Eid al-Fitr is celebrated around the world. Regardless of the specific customs and traditions, the holiday is a time for joy, forgiveness, and a renewed commitment to one’s faith and community.

Eid is a significant festival that is celebrated around the world by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is a time of joy, celebration, and gratitude and is an opportunity to reflect on the values of Islam, such as compassion, generosity, and forgiveness. It is a time to strengthen ties with family, friends, and the community and to express thanks for the blessings that one has received throughout the year.

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