Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Modesty, dress-codes and 'local taste' : examining abaya-led fashion practices in the United Arab Emirates
Author: George, Lesley
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 6061
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
The focus of this thesis is the abaya, an outerwear garment worn by women in the Gulf. I interrogate how the abaya is made, acquired and worn, and how items and imagery of contemporary abaya design, specifically from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), are produced and disseminated to various audiences. I investigate the motivations, agency and tastes of women who wear abayas and explore how designers operate across the spectrum of production, distribution and consumption. This research evidences the way women mediate between being invested in the ‘traditions’ of dress practices, shaped by habitus, and the re-translation of selfpresentation as modern fashion consumers/designers. To examine this, I explore the cultural implications on design processes that create new localised fashion practices. Through the lens of cultural identity, I analyse competing interpretations of modesty and situated embodiment, discourses on national identity visualised through dresscodes, and innovations enhanced by a UAE dispositif that advocates design and potentially creates space for symbolic abaya-led fashion production. To consider these concepts, my ethnographic approach triangulates interviews, textual and material cultural analysis with observations across selected mixed-gender and women-only spaces to examine abaya-wearing and design practices. No study to date examines the abaya as worn and informed by socialities, materialities and spatialities of design, production, consumption and distributionrepresentation, nor investigates how wearers, designers and influencers co-direct style choice through new consumption practices and imaging regimes that reflect ‘local taste’ and fashion’s multiple modernities. By considering the abaya from a design and designer’s point of view my research offers new insights into fashion and design practices originating from an emergent market outside the ‘West’. Furthermore, this thesis contributes to areas of research concerned with veiling, gender studies, entrepreneurship and the subsequent design/production-distributionconsumption systems, communities and geographies formed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fashion History & Theory