By Elton Gomes
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its simply a drone modelling dresses on a runway. Yes, you read that right, a fashion show in Saudi Arabia went viral after it drones with attached dresses on the runway. Twitter was abuzz with videos of drones carrying the dresses along the catwalk at the Jeddah Hilton this week.
— CNN International (@cnni) June 8, 2018
A spokesperson for events at the hotel told CNN that the display happens every year at the hotel bazaar for Ramadan. The spokesperson added that the company decided to use drones instead of mannequins “to bring a change.” Ali Nabil Akbar told BBC Arabic that the showing of dresses via drones was “suitable for Ramadan.”
“The idea is that we want to add things that are simple yet beautiful,” Akbar said.”Even the décor and set-up of the hall was organized beautifully, everything involved innovation.”
The fashion show’s organisers told local news site The New Arab the drones were used for the first time in Saudi Arabia, and that the technique was employed to ensure that the fashion show was appropriate to Ramadan.
Saudi Arabian abaya brand Vogueaholic’s designs were showcased during the show. Hanen Aljawharji, the designer helming the brand told Insider that using drones was part of the show’s technology theme.
What the public said
However, the move was highly criticised by Arab fashion elites who compared the dresses to ghosts. Several social media users were also quick to slam the use of drones.
Other users termed the fashion show as “sad and disturbing.” While others simply called the show “scary.”
The use of drones in fashion
The use of drones at the fashion show in Saudi Arabia may have caused outrage, but the drones have been used instead of models on the runway several times in the past.
In February 2018, Dolce & Gabbana opened its fashion show in Milan with drones hovering above the ramp. Blurring the line between man and machine, a report in the Cut stated, “being human is so last season.” Dolce & Gabbana’s show was about a singular focus on fashion as guests were requested to switch off wifi and other electronic devices.
Saudi Arabia held its first fashion in April 2018. Although the event was held with a lot of restrictions, the move was applauded and held a lot of significance for a deeply conservative country like Saudi Arabia. Models and makeup artists were also ecstatic for the inaugural Saudi episode of the Arab Fashion Week.
Besides this, it should also be noted that recently women were issued driver’s licenses for the first time. Furthermore, for the first time, a football stadium in Jeddah saw Saudi women in its audiences.
Recent media reports point towards a changing scenario in the Middle Eastern nation. However, complete freedom might still be elusive for women in Saudi Arabia. Whether the fashion show was a conservative display during Ramadan or it was simply inspired by technology, we do not know.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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