Rabah Taleb

Kuwaiti women’s dress

Today, fashion houses compete with one another to present what is new in the fashion design field, where the success of many collections derives from, is inspired by and depends on ideas from many sources, including people’s cultures, the history of fashion, forms of traditional dress, former works by designers and even nature. Thus, designers need to understand and be familiar various cultures, if ideas, including the use of symbols, and written words, are to be adapted therefrom for the runway.

Not only did fascination with the Far East culture inspire designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel decades ago, but the Asian demographic has also no doubt been fuelling the business side of the fashion world, especially in recent years” (Tse, 2016). She is also on record saying, “Fashion has always dipped into the Orient for inspiration, reinterpreting the caftan, and using prints that mimic the geometry of Arabesque tiles” (Tse, 2016).

Every country has a culture which is different to that of others, and according to which life is lived in a different way to that of others, extending to, among other things, the traditional dress, depending on the requirements of that environment. Culture also incorporates the role of tradition and its influence on the habits of Kuwaiti people with respect to what they inherited from their parents and ancestors.

The aim of this study is to analyse Kuwaiti women’s dress before and after the oil boom, and explain how, and the extent to which, the introduction of Western fashion affected this. A secondary aim is to create a traditional Kuwaiti woman’s dress (thawb) that will be modern, comfortable, practical and acceptable to contemporary Kuwaiti women. A study of Kuwaiti women’s clothing and its development helps to explain present Kuwaiti fashions.

Email: ryt1e11@soton.ac.uk