(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
Published: Thu 20 Jan 2022, 11:55 PM
Fridays, for this region, have always been days of rest. Whether you decide to brunch or make it a day of reflection and prayers, anything office related, unless urgent, was not attended to — even though for the rest of the world, it was always a working day. That has changed now, but do you really feel like dressing in work wear on a day you've always considered the first day of the weekend?
“It certainly is a strange feeling to be going to work on Friday,” says Basma Abu Ghazaleh, creative director of Kage, a contemporary fashion label.“We certainly may want to go to work in our tracksuits on Fridays, but it's something you can really do.” She points to the fact that most corporations in Dubai used to have a casual dress policy on Thursday, where jeans were allowed — she feels this will just move to Fridays.
Basma Abu Ghazaleh
Casual Fridays have been an international norm for many years, and first became popular in the 1990s. The notion of taking a relaxed attitude to dressing on the last day of the working week is believed to have actually started in Hawaii in the mid-twentieth century, with the term 'Aloha Friday', where Hawaiians celebrated the start of the weekend and ditched office wear for an Aloha shirt (otherwise known as the printed Hawaiian shirt). A few decades later, the idea travelled to California and soon spread across the globe. Allen Solly, a brand credited for creating the“smart casuals” category in India, launched the concept of 'Friday Dressing' — and proposed more colourful attire and relaxed dressing styles. It soon became a term that every office in India began to use.
Now that we are dressing for work on Fridays, for the first time perhaps Dubai will give its own spin to Casual Friday? Dipesh Depala, co-founder and managing partner at The Qode, one of the region's leading public relations companies, says,“I suppose as we didn't work on Fridays previously so the tendency could be to be relaxed. However, we live in Dubai. It's a glamorous city with something happening every day and night, so more often than not we were dressed up even on Fridays, whether we were brunching, at the beach, or out for dinner.”
He points to the fact that during the pandemic, when the rest of the world was happy to be in sweatpants in the evening, Dubai really never took to the trend.“It is a unique city where dressing up is a culture. We relish dressing up. Sure, there was a short period when we were at home and going out was restricted and that naturally led to us dressing more casually. However, that didn't last long. People were desperate to take their glad rags for a spin... and we are still spinning.”
Menswear designer Varoin Marwah agrees with Depala.“People here truly love to dress and they do justice to most occasions and opportunities,” he says. However, he thinks Fridays will become an exception to that rule.“Friday dressing is a swift and smart way of allowing employees to settle in. This will be beneficial both for the employees and employers physically as well as mentally. Dressing in the weekend vibe at work definitely adds more joy to the situation.” He recommends brands such as Massimo Dutti or Sacoor Brothers for their relaxed take on work wear.
Dana Jaber and Rasha Abdelhadi
The owners of Kinzzi.com, Dana Jaber and Rasha Abdelhadi, an e-site that promotes homegrown contemporary fashion, believe that Fridays will be the days when Dubai will not dress up and it will take casual Thursdays to a new level.“The fact that it's a half day for some, we think people will add a more casual and relaxed attitude on Fridays,” adds the duo.“People have become more relaxed in their office attire nowadays. Previously, everyone was expected to be in their high-powered suits and heels, but we feel things have shifted now, especially since the pandemic, office wear has become much more relaxed and casual,” they say.
Safiya Abdallah, the designer behind the label Dulce by Safiya, known for its comfort-driven approach to tailored pieces, believes since the pandemic Dubai women have taken a more lounge approach to dressing even at the workplace.“Brands that don't cater in some way to the current change in demand of their clients will regret missing on the need for functional, comfortable fashion pieces,” she says, suggesting that women get comfortable on Fridays, even if they are going to an office.“Wear an oversized matching button down co-ord or a blouse with some dressy joggers and an oversized blazer draped on your shoulders in case you have meetings planned out,” says the designer.
There is also a marketing opportunity here for fashion companies.“In this age of Instagram, fashion is always looking for a hashtag,” says Abu Ghazaleh. The fashion designer believes that #casualfriday or some other such phrase could be what local fashion companies turn to as a social media tool.“Now that we need to work on Fridays, we might as well make it fun,” she adds. However, Abu Ghazaleh also believes it is still too early to define what Friday dressing in Dubai will be.“The change has just happened, and I do not think we can talk about how and if it will change dressing yet.” So, watch this space to find out how Dubai's wardrobe takes to working Friday.
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