They’re paid to endorse products; invited to sit in the front row of fashion shows; and offered access to the most glamorous of events.
Yes, there’s a new breed of style stars ruling the Arab world, one that the region’s social media users are taking notice of.
Thanks to portals such as Facebook and Instagram, regular Arab women are now able to make a name for themselves, while setting up highly successful blogs and websites in the process.
These digital celebrities are flipping the traditional formula of fame, by amassing a large audience then using their influence to secure major deals.
So forget international celebs and models for a minute… here are the hottest Middle Eastern fashionistas you need to follow on Instagram right now.
Who? Sheikha Dana Al Khalifa AKA @theoverdressed
Why? Dubbing herself an ‘overdressed islander’, Bahraini blogger – and real-life princess – Dana Al Khalifa is refreshingly modest in her Instagram posts, preferring to focus on the clothes in her pics rather than on herself. She founded her blog in 2009, and has transformed herself into one of Bahrain’s hottest fashionistas.
Who? Hadia Ghaleb AKA @hadiaghaleb
Why? Founder of Ghaleb Production House, Hadia Ghaleb is one of Egypt’s most sought-after fashion social media personalities. The stylish self-confessed athlete and entrepreneur says that she believes in “wearing, seeing and capturing art,” as well as promoting healthy living.
Who? Ascia Al-Faraj AKA @ascia_akf
Why? The Kuwaiti model and fashion designer proves that hijabi wear needn’t be boring. Ascia runs the fashion blog the-hybrids.com<http://the-hybrids.com> alongside her husband Ahmed (the duo are both of mixed heritage, hence the name). Here, it’s all about high street style for those looking to dress modestly. Ultra cool.
Who? Jessica Kahawaty AKA @jessicakahawaty
Why? With her background in high fashion modelling as well as pageantry (she was crowned runner-up at Miss World 2012), there’s probably no item of clothing that Lebanese-Australian Jessica Kahawaty cannot make look good. But it’s not only the TV presenter’s stunning looks that makes this account one to follow; her quick wit and humor in her posts has captured the hearts of thousands. Not to mention she gets to play dress up in outfits by the world’s hottest designers.
Who? Ruba Abdulhadi and Badea Jaber AKA @shopelmuda
Why? The Palestinian duo are changing the face of high fashion shopping in the Middle East, offering a shopping site – ElMuda.com – that delivers to the whole of the Middle East. Not only do they post pics of the latest must-haves, they also post snaps of themselves out and about… and they’re just as stylish, wearing some of the world’s most sought-after labels.
Who? Anum Bashir AKA @desertmannequin
Why? The Qatar-based blogger is not your typical cookie cutter fashion expert. The gorgeous writer loves mixing up looks, and believes in not just following the latest trends of the sake of being fashionable. We also love the way she fuses high street pieces with high fashion.
Who? Tamara Al Gabbani AKA @tamaraalgabbani
Why? Not only is she captivatingly beautiful, Tamara Al Gabbani is also a force to be reckoned with in the business world. The savvy Saudi fashion designer and entrepreneur – who launched her label three years ago – has in the past admitted that approaching stores in the region was a difficult process. Rather than dwell on it, she decided to take matters into her own hands, saying: “I didn't see how the consignment model was mutually beneficial or added any value to my brand.
I had two options: either I quit altogether or I come up with something that actually works.
“I withdrew my stock from boutiques, created my website and online store, and managed all the social media myself. I wouldn't say it was easy, but I was genuinely interested and passionate about social media, so I was willing to put in all the effort, the learning and experimenting.”
Clearly, it has paid off.
Who? Tala Samman AKA @myfashdiary
Why? Born in Chicago to Syrian parents, the Dubai-based fashionista and blogger runs the hugely successful myfashdiary.com, which covers everything from street style to travel. Tala, who’s a London College of Fashion graduate, is also a fitness fanatic, regularly posting her workouts. She’s so good that she’s even a Flywheel Dubai ambassador.
Who? Jess Narjess AKA @jessnarjess
Why? The Tunisian fashion and lifestyle blogger runs monjournalpastresintime.com and writes in both English and French. Her Instagram page captures beauty and fashion, to art and travel. Her pics have a retro/kitschy vibe to them, which we love.
United Arab Emirates
Who? Nadya Hasan AKA @thefierce_nay
Why? We’re totally jealous of this Emirati blogger’s wardrobe. Nadya Hasan’s pics on her official Instagram account feature amazing looks, ranging from casual street style to night-time glamour. She also demonstrates that you don’t need to show a lot of skin to look like a total knockout.