I remember the first bit of celebrity merchandise I ever sharpened my elbows for. The year was 2002, the concert was Christina Aguilera’s and the item? A pair of hot-pink pants with the word ‘Stripped’ emblazoned across the backside.
It may not have been exactly what my mum wanted her barely teenage daughter to wear but oh, how we flocked. That frenzy isn’t something I, or any of us, thought we would experience, post-fandom. After all, how many twenty-somethings want their teenage idol splashed across their chest? According to the past couple of years, it turns out… pretty much all of us.
The burgeoning fashion and beauty industries in the Middle East are becoming an international power, and with them, massively successful Middle Eastern bloggers and photographers have begun to enjoy many of the same perks as their Western counterparts. Just like ones based in New York, L.A., London, and Sydney, Middle East fashion blogs represent a spectrum of people, personal styles, and philosophies. From religious fashion bloggers who advocate for modest dressing to fashion-forward bloggers who champion standing out, personal style in the region is, as anywhere else, nuanced and varied.
Yet, blogging in the Middle East comes with its own set of challenges. Attitudes throughout the region range from the more lax, like Dubai, where you can essentially wear whatever you want, to Saudi Arabia, where women are not permitted to drive or even leave the country without explicit written consent from a male spouse or guardian. But regardless of city or state, there is value placed on the traditional.
Undressed: A Brief History Of Underwear, an exhibition which opened at London's Victoria & Albert museum earlier this year, delved into our knicker drawers, looking into the role underwear - from the bra to the panty and beyond - has played over the years; with all its practicalities and impracticalities.
Judging by just how very much women spend on underwear, as well as the global obsession with Victoria’s Secret and their annual lingerie catwalk bonanza, underwear is, for many reasons, a big deal.