By Sana Panjwani
On a platform that gives food the position of prestige and unwarranted filters, fashion now rules as queen.
Instagram is the platform for fashion, style and beauty. A quick click and a few tags is all it takes now to reach people worldwide, and fashionistas all over the world have taken rightful advantage of this.
With the Middle East rising among the fashion capitals of the world, take a look at a few Arab fashionistas who have garnered quite a bit of success through Instagram. Unlike traditional celebrities, these women have gained fans first, and then fame.
1. Anum Bashi, @desertmannequin
Based in Qatar, Anum Bashir has a penchant for “All Things Fashion. All Things Art.” Bringing together the worlds of art and fashion, Bashir is the Communications Officer for Qatar Museums, chaired by Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassabint Hamad Al Thani by day and a style curator by night. She uses her fresh and vibrant blog, Desert Mannequin, to passionately discuss everything and anything related to art and fashion, mixing her two passions to produce her very own unique signature style which she shares with the rest of the world.
2. Dalal Al Doub, @dalalid
Dalal Al Doub is a fashion and beauty blogger from Kuwait, who uses her sleek style and fashion know-how to incorporate her hijab into her #ootd (#outfitoftheday). She also uploads video tutorials in Arabic which, due to their numerous views, have made her one of the Arab World’s ‘it’ beauty icons.
3. Hadia Ghaleb, @hadiaghaleb
Based in Egypt, Hadia Ghaleb is one of the country’s “most sought-after fashion social media personalities.” As the founder of Ghaleb Production House, she is not only a stylish athlete and fashionista, but an entrepreneur as well.
Her motto in life is “wearing, seeing and capturing art,” which she passionately lives by as she promotes healthy living, fashion tips and quick videos and tutorials.
4. Jess Narjess, @jessnarjess
Based in Tunisia, Jess Narjess is a fashion and lifestyle blogger who runs a French lifestyle blog: Mon Journal Pas Tres Intime (My Not So Intimate Journal). Her Instagram account covers everything from beauty and travel, to art and fashion.
5. Marriam Mossalli, @shoesanddrama
Marriam Mossalli is the founder and Editor-in-Chief at ShoesandDrama – an indie fashion blog that aims to bring “fashion reporting back to its purist form.” Based in Saudi Arabia, Mossalli pairs her luxury consulting company with her regional reputation as a fashionista to spearhead collaborations between local designers and international brands.
Described as a “pioneer in presenting international fashion through a Saudi eye, as well as becoming a voice and platform for regional talent,” Mossalli was the sole fashion industry professional invited to the Celebration of Design Gala, hosted by the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, and was recognized was recognized by Vogue magazine as one of the top 15 most inspiring style accounts in the Gulf in 2014.
6. Nadia Aboulhosn, @nadiaaboulhosn
New York-based fashion blogger and model Nadia Aboulhosn has been described as a “fashion ambassador in the plus-size world, [who] not only captivates her followers with her stylish taste, but inspires them with her positive outlook toward life.” In 2010, she started her own blog in an effort to use it as a platform for self-expression, and has successfully captured the attention of many publications such as: Refinery 29, Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and LOOK. Recently, she launched her own Capsule Collection, and said: “I’ve been waiting years for this. To be able to create something and see other people wearing it.” When asked to describe her style, Aboulhosn only responded with one word: “Fearless.”
7. Nadya Hasan, @thefierce_nay
This Dubai-based Emirati blogger’s Instagram account is peppered with her vibrant, chic and elegant style that “thinks, breathes and lives fashion”.
Ranging from casual lazy day looks to glamorous cocktail outfits, Hasan’s effortless style effectively “demonstrates that you don’t need to show a lot of skin to look like a total knockout.” According to her blog: The Fierce Diaries, Nadya says “the idea [is] to fuse a fashionable statement and unique style into the Arab world of fashion.”
8. Rita Dahdah, @riri_dada
Rita Dahdah identifies herself as a Lebanese personal style and lifestyle blogger, copywriter and stylist. Based in Lebanon, she is currently a freelance English copywriter who runs blog: Blog to Blague, where she gives her take “on the silly little things and stereotypes happening around us every day in the hopes that some readers might laugh … and that some might see things from a new angle.” When it comes to fashion, Dahdah says: “I love fashion but I am not obsessed with it … and I can’t always afford to buy everything I like. Boohoo, I don’t care, because that’s how I started getting creative with styling my old clothes in new ways. Inversely, I can never wear the same outfit or dress twice and I shop every week. This is probably why I’m broke five days per month and can’t change that if my life depended on it.”
9. Ruba Abdulhadi and Badea Jaber, @shopelmuda
This Palestine-based duo have launched their own online shopping site, El Muda, where “classic chic meets modern edge.” “We work together to outperform ourselves, create and deliver fashion and top-notch service to the Middle Eastern customer,” they said. They use their Instagram to share pictures of the “latest must-haves” while at the same time sharing their own fashion experiences.
10. Sheikha Dana Al Khalifa, @theoverdressed
Bahrain’s very own princess is also a part of the fashion movement. Calling herself an “overdressed islander,” Sheikha Dana Al Khalifa shares images of her clothing, jewellery and fashion events. Along with managing her Instagram account, Sheikha Dana also runs her own blog, where she comments on and promotes her favorite designers.
Since the launch of her blog in 2009, she has become one of Bahrain’s hottest fashionistas.
11. Tala Samman, @myfashdiary
Based in Dubai, Syrian fashionista, blogger and fitness fanatic Tala Samman runs myfashdiary.com, a popular fashion blog covering everything from fashion and beauty to food and travel. The website is, according to Samman, “a celebration of what I love in fashion, beauty, travel & food. You won’t be seeing anything negative because I don’t blog about something I don’t genuinely love” Samman is also a Huffington Post contributor, a former Fashion Editor for Conde Naste Middle East and a Flywheel Dubai ambassador. When it comes to fashion and style, Samman says, “fashion is what others declare is in. Style is what you declare is in.”
12. The Hybrids, @ascia_akf & @ahmad_asb
The Hybrids are Ahmad and Ascia Al Faraj, a Kuwaiti-based husband and wife “fashion dream-team.” They call themselves The Hybrids because of their half-half ethnicities – Ascia is half-Kuwaiti and half-American while Ahmad is half-Kuwaiti and half-Latino.
Together, they run their own fashion blog in their spare time, with Ascia quickly becoming a fashion icon for all hijabi women, proving that the hijab is not a deterrent in achieving fashion but an added, sophisticated bonus.