7 Middle Eastern Brands That Are Redefining Luxury In Fashion Industry

“Luxury to me is not about buying expensive things; it’s about living in a way where you appreciate things.” – Oscar de la Renta

When Oscar Wilde famously said,” let me be surrounded by luxury, I can do without the necessities!” He was pointing towards a human’s drive that goes beyond basic emotional and physiological needs – a search for prestige and satisfaction. Marketers to cater to this desire now probe their psychological makeup to develop products, brands and experiences focused on obtaining intangible values like self-respect, equality, sense of belonging, excitement, fun, or a sense of accomplishment; That is luxury!

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To understand it better, buying a handbag is not an uncommon purchase but buying a Gucci handbag is another story. The appeal of luxury goods is undeniable—the leather is soft, the design is unique, the logo is flashy, and allure is heritage. When paired with the hefty price tag, it becomes all the more important. That’s what luxury brands do. They connect with customers at the value level, promising them something deeper and abstract.

While luxury brands have always lived amongst us, somehow the global media has considered western brands as the epitome of luxury, while it couldn’t be farther from the truth. To test this notion, there are certain segments of Middle Eastern and Arab labels that rose to the challenge, reclaiming their rich heritage and transforming the face of luxury and haute couture forever.

We will dedicate this article to some of the new labels that have recently gained fame and few timeless brands that have enjoyed exclusivity and glory for decades.

Jeux de Mains

 

Founded by Beirut-based graphics and art director turned fashion designer Salim Cherfane, who sees the world in pulsating colours.

In contrast to the common stereotype that people in the Middle East like solid colors and muted tones, Jeux de Mains creates bright, playful, and poppy clothes for men and women alike.

While you can witness the designer’s love for bold graphics, the silhouettes are clean and structured. Most importantly, with his designs, Salim wants to bring out the inner child and add a touch of colour to people’s lives! Wonder who’s the fan of his perspective and designs? It’s Beyonce, the queen herself.

Maya Eco

 

Co-founded by two powerful women, Yasmine and Muneera, Maya Eco is a Kuwait-based brand established in 2016. Although the products they sell are functional and practical, Maya Eco uses eco-friendly textiles, sustainable designs, and ethical trade practices. The goal is to go against the trend-crazy momentum and promote slow fashion that supports a local skilled community.

In a world that is obsessed with money, trends and pace, slowing down and giving back to the community is a luxury.

Along with their minimal, feminine, and beautiful approach to designs, they have positioned themselves as an environmentally-friendly brand that supports the same locally owned factory in Egypt since their launch to help sustain the lives of the local artisans and provide them with job opportunities. How empowering is that?

Bougroug

 

Established by Anwar Bougroug in 2017, bougroug is a contemporary genderless fashion, accessories, and fashion label influenced by Scandinavian-Moroccan culture.

Handmade in Morocco by skilled and committed artisans and craftspeople using age-old techniques passed down to them for generations. Anwar’s collection aims to focus on exquisite quality and timeless designs that can stand the test of time.

At the same time, the brand strives to push forward conversations around sustainability, gender equality, and sexuality through its product and brand positioning strategy.

May Balacci

 

Launched in 2016 by luxury bespoke designer May Balacci who embodies a unique blend of British and Arab heritage and cultural sensibilities. Her label is redefining the Middle-Eastern fashion industry by combining British fabrics with elegant Arabian silhouettes.

May Balacci aspires to position her brand as a solution to thousands of multicultural millennial women who are struggling to find the perfect clothing that both suited the western climate and lifestyle while still maintaining their inherent Arab identity.

Nathalie Trad

 

Launched in 2013 by the Lebanese designer Nathalie Trad, the story of paving her road to success is sort of a classic in the region.

Known for redefining the boundaries of traditional aesthetics by deconstructing and radically transforming them into clutches-cum- art-sculptures. Nathalie Trad is famous for her ability to seamlessly incorporate chiselled contours, geometric shapes, and sharply contrasting colour, texture, and pattern into a cohesive fashion accessory.

However, modern and cutting-edge the designs might get, this contemporary brand looks for inspiration and space for innovation into the heritage monument of Middle-Eastern culture.

This eponymous clutch label over the years has gained love and international claim. Celebrities like Nicole ­Kidman, Olivia Palermo, and Sienna Miller among others have proudly lauded and sported the clutches many times.

Bouguessa

 

Bougu­essa is a Dubai-based luxury, ready-to-wear brand spearheaded by Faiza Bougu­essa. While the rest of the world thinks Middle Eastern fashion is all about traditional abayas and kaftans, Bouguessa was one of the first brands that took up the challenge to put forward a different perspective in front of the world, and they did it by reinventing the iconic abayas.

Although the fit is modern and the tailoring of the products is impeccable, one can witness the inherent grace that the traditional abayas emulate.

In fact, their designs are so compelling that Melissa McCarthy, Sophia Bush, and even Beyoncé is a fan.

Bil Arabi

 

Unlike the other fashion labels on this list, Bil Arabi was established in 2006 by artist, photographer, and designer, Nadine Kanso. With her jewellery line, she aspires to show the true identity of the contemporary Arab.

This homegrown brand, creates every piece in the UAE, aiming to express appreciation and create awareness about the elegant art of Arabic calligraphy.

Every piece they create celebrates the shape of the alphabet, and poetry inherent to the Arabic language. Bil Arabi aspires to be more than a jewellery label, it wishes to be a brand of self-expression.

Their work is so exquisite and unique that from regional celebrities to supermodels like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, everyone wishes to own a piece.

Conclusion

In recent years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE have emerged as the hotbed of experimentative and innovative fashion hubs. From couture to streetwear, the emerging designers have used fashion as an art of self-expression, promoting social causes, creating political statements, and pushing a unique perspective. However, unlike their western counterparts, they have remained attached to their roots, proudly showcasing their heritage while making international waves. Their brands are not just about premium products and the essence of luxury, they are voices.

If you are an emerging brand in the search of their unique identity or an established regional brand looking to rebrand, it’s time to get in touch with Vowels.

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Also read – Brand Strategy – What It Is? Why Is It Important? Where It Can Take You?

Branding Solutions: Thinking Of & For The Customer

 

Before we start, one thing around which everything else revolves is the fact that customers are human beings. They have emotions, they appreciate honesty and not to forget, they love surprises. Hence, at most times, while the marketing team might just be devising strategies to sell their product to prospective customers, they overlook their existence as human beings and that’s the catch. Here’s how we can make the customer think that we think about them and in turn, get customer love — a treasure for any brand. Whether it is a brand revolving around men’s grooming products, kids toys or women apparels, their success comes by unlocking customer love. And below is the key.

Branding-Solutions-Thinking-Of-and-For-The-Customer

Make it delightful

 

Brands Delivering Happiness

 
Sending an unexpected freebie with an order or giving a free access pass to a popular event happening in town next month, or giving free samples of your products, or printing coupon codes on your inside packaging which can be redeemed to get discounts on different online sites or to get free internet, etc. Something like “Pay What You Want” is the highest form of delight a brand can offer but there could be resistance for the same owing to feasibility reasons. However, it has been noted in the past that brands offering such schemes become long-term success stories. It may not be profitable initially but in the long run, their success is far more than imaginable.

Another great way to spread joy is by passing on the ability to give joy

Careem – a Ride-Hailing App is winning hearts in the Middle East. How? Careem Rewards System makes every rider get extra reward points after every food order or ride booking. These points could either be redeemed in future rides or donated for charity supporting the refugees. That’s not all. Careem lets its users donate food to the underprivileged children through its app as part of its collaboration with the World Food Programme’s ShareTheMeal app. All this and more to increase the “Feel Good” factor for the existing users and to attract new ones. 

Making a part of someone’s life easier

 

When any part of people’s lives is made easier, they feel delighted and if the reason is your product, they are likely to come back to stay. When you are able to understand the pain-point of a group of audience or overall humankind, you can create a product which solves that problem. This is being empathetic. When your product is empathy-driven, it resolves the real problem and hence, it will bring you a fortune. Sounds like a lot of work? Trust us, it’s worth it!

Using transparency in your favour

 

People today want to know what they are buying, where are you sourcing the raw material from. If you are selling chairs, you already must be telling where these chairs were made, what material has been used, etc. However, to win customer love, try to show a picture of the artisan working on that chair, his name and age, the town he belongs to, etc. If not the artisan, then you could portray how this chair’s material can be recycled or disposed of in a more nature-loving way.

Personalisation is profitable

 

Customisation creates excitement. Customers want “unique commodities”, “designed just for them”, “limited edition”. These terms give them a sense of pride and exclusivity. They feel privileged and are ready to pay a hefty price for it. Automobile companies like Volvo, Mercedes Benz launched their Limited Edition cars with customised number plates that were sold out within a few hours.

Personalisation-is-profitable

The idea of owning something which will only have limited pieces on Earth is exhilarating and the price takes a backseat while making purchasing decisions of something as premium and personalised as this.

Selling Memories and Places

 

Life may be really fast paced but some emotions stay, some memories stay, and they stay there unconsciously. Whether it’s the insta polaroids or a better version of a candy that reminds people of their childhood. It sells because there is an emotional urge in the human mind to revisit good old memories. Pro Tip: If your products are being produced locally, try adding the “Buy Local” tag to engage with the localites.

Selling-Memories-and-Places

Now, having discussed the different ways to make a customer yours by spreading goodness, you could go for one or a combination of these different schemes. However, there may be several brands who are customising or who are being ultra transparent about their operations or who are solving a problem faced by society or who are letting their customers pay to the needy through their purchases, but they haven’t been able to get the level of traction they deserve. Why? The reason is simple. They haven’t been able to share their intentions with the correct target audience and what’s stopping them? Their branding. The content on their packaging doesn’t clearly state how they care for the customer which is possibly why the customer doesn’t care to pick that product in the first place. The right words, the right content when printed on the perfect packaging, reaches the target audience, it strikes a chord and what follows is glory!

At Vowels, we formulate the customer persona — which varies from brand to brand. Understanding the customer persona is of paramount importance as it focuses on the key traits of your target customer, the traits which affect his purchasing decision in the short-term as well as long-term. From demographics (age, gender, location, and occupation, etc.) to diving deep into their aspirations, taste, and the problems they are facing amongst an array of other parameters help us to create a clear picture of “WHO” would be the real consumer of the product. As a matter of fact, the branding solutions we provide are typically based on our research-based customer persona; something that sets us apart and is one of the many reasons for the sustained success of the brands we have worked with.

If you have been planning to get packaging done for your new product launches or simply repackage already existing products with content that strikes a chord, we’ve got you covered. If you are working on a new startup or rebranding an existing one, look no further for all your branding needs. Whether it is a logo redesign, a website redesign, powerful packaging, refreshed messaging, or a complete brand makeover, it’s time you get in touch with professional branding agencies like Vowels to make your vision come true. We specialize in brand consultancy, strategy, brand guidelines, CI manual, brand presentation, and corporate branding.

Extended across multiple countries like the Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain, we believe in providing exclusive solutions to all your brand problems.

Why Marketers Should Focus on Sharing Brand Story in 2020

 

In the current Covid situation, all companies are striving to upgrade their branding strategies to ensure they stay connected with the customers and prospective buyers.

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Heart-touching content with a high emotional quotient; featuring family bonding and the greater good of the society, etc. are acting as a magnet for attracting new customers and making the old ones feel more connected to the brand. Brands that are putting out Covid-sensitive content such as brand videos showing they care, etc. have been getting more eyeballs.

Digital Media consumption is at its peak

The increasing number of marketing channels is proving to be a blessing; it is making this time an opportunity more than a challenge. Now is the chance to reach out to your already filtered target audiences who are consuming digital content the maximum during the pandemic. With the stay-at-home government instructions, the consumption of digital media is at its peak and this must be leveraged for sharing the brand story with a message keeping in mind a long-term perspective. The ongoing trends on social media might make brands opt for fancy content but unfortunately, it fails to strike a chord with the potential buyers. In a bid to keep their digital branding trendy, brands are opting for fancy advertisements that don’t register in people’s minds but are just short-lived glories.

Alternative-Marketing-Channels

Alternative Marketing Channels 

Apart from the conventional and social advertising channels, advertising on gaming apps, streaming avenues is trending. Inserting ads in movies or series which resonate with your brand values are more likely to bring you customers who would be attracted to your offerings and become a potential future buyer. What’s also trending in the branding space is to get the product featured in the movie/visual itself. This is an indirect way of marketing that connects with target customers like magic!

Targeted-Marketing-is-everything

Targeted Marketing is everything

For building a loyal clientele, building a personal connection with the right set of customers is crucial. During this time when digital media consumption is at its peak, the ability to reach the target audiences is bliss for brands. For instance, targeting 300 people who have shown interest in products/services like yours is much better than advertising to 1000 random people who may not be specifically interested in your product.

Owing to the pandemic, many potential consumers may be restricting their expenses and managing with smaller incomes but recovery is not a far cry! Once things attain normalcy, the branding that you invest in today will reap results and bring long-lasting clientele.

Taking it a notch up with Full-Funnel Approach

Another marketing approach that is increasingly being used is the full-funnel approach. It is basically leveraging the customers movements and interests to create an almost personalized marketing plan for each one of them. This approach is the recipe for sustained and continued engagement between the brand and the customer. Once the brand’s identity has been conveyed to initially attract the customer, the next step is vital. Marketers need to continually share their brand story and portray their brand manifesto through impactful and subtle creatives.

Your brand story is your own and should be shared insightfully and creatively on your existing and emerging marketing channels. Sharing your unique brand story makes you the leader rather than a follower. Today’s customers invest in the brand story before investing in the product. Modern-day purchases are mostly preceded by a personal connection with the brand story.

If you have been planning to launch a new startup or rebrand an existing one, now is the time to get started. Whether it is a logo redesign, a website redesign, refreshed messaging, or a complete brand makeover, it’s time you get in touch with professional branding agencies like Vowels to make your vision come true. We specialize in brand consultancy, strategy, brand guidelines, CI manual, brand presentation, and corporate branding.

Extended across multiple countries like the Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain, we believe in providing exclusive solutions to all your brand problems.

Also Read – Understanding The Art and Science Behind Sonic Branding

Why Do You Need A Brand Guideline?

 

Imagine you have a product with the potential to be a memorable brand. But for that, you need a perfect marketing strategy. A compilation of everything from email marketing and content creation to PPC and website design. While all the components are complex and crucial, they have to be connected to be effective – to be memorable.

Brand-Guideline

That’s where brand guidelines come in – something that goes far beyond a logo or icon. It’s an investment to ensure that all your marketing efforts are working towards the common goal of gradually building up brand recognition among potential and existing customers. 

Brand Guidelines communicate a variety of things about your brand, both internally to your organization or business, as well as externally to your partners, affiliates, and the general public. It can range from the core values and vision to elements like colours, imagery, fonts, tone, and even the feeling you get when you see one of their ads. In a nutshell, brand guidelines ensure consistency and continuity with your brand’s visual identity and underpinning strategy.

Still not convinced? Here are 5 compelling reasons to have your own set of brand guidelines. 

Consistency Is The Key 

The key to creating a strong brand identity is consistency. Brand consistency is the pattern of expression that affects what people think about your company. The more consistent your messaging, the more consistent your branding. A harmonious correlation between words, design, or perspective helps clarify what your business stands for, allowing your business to communicate your purpose, personality, and promises. 

Consistency-Is-The-Key

3 critical areas where brand consistency drive customer loyalty: 

  • Customer Experience – Providing a consistent customer experience fosters trust and confidence in your brand. 
  • Values – Backup your promises with actions. 
  • Brand Identity – Consistency in visual components make your brand recognizable and help you stand out from your competition. 

Example: The consistent red and white branding with the iconic cursive logo of Coca-Cola evokes the same feeling of positivity, authenticity, inclusiveness no matter where you are in the world. 

Recognize and Recollection 

According to a study by Nielsen, a global marketing research firm, “consumers only buy from a small repertoire of brands, and the average customer spends 13 seconds purchasing those branded items in store. In other words, when your customer scans the shelves, they reach for what’s familiar and they do it fast. This is known as ‘instinct buying’”. 

Recognize-and-Recollection

So, when you are looking for chips, you instinctively move towards the colourful packets of lays. You don’t check out the brand, you know the colour, size, and taste. That is why consistent brand recognition is so important. 

Brand guidelines help you deliver a cohesive brand experience, making it easier for people to recognize your value. When you consistently provide high-quality content, customers come to rely on you and—even better—seek out your content. They trust you will deliver what they want every time, and that trust is the basis of a long-term relationship. 

Adds Value 

When your brand’s identity is cohesive, the perceived value of the brand increases. Consistency allows your brand to appear more professional and reliable. By implementing brand guidelines, you ensure that you’re always putting out content you’re proud of along with maintaining the quality and integrity of your brand. 

Aesthetics Over Everything 

Clear communication and good design make your reader/viewer’s life a lot easier. Simple acts of alignment, data visualization, aesthetically pleasing colour, or readable typography help creators design content more effectively. Also, it shows your customers that you care about your brand and value their time. 

Apart from the visual aspect, an inconsistent brand experience not only weakens your marketing efforts – it promotes distrust among your customers. You can initiate the best social media marketing campaigns and a series of blog posts, but if they don’t align the body with values, it won’t resonate. 

Stay Focused 

While launching a new product or re-branding the existing ones, a brand can get stretched too thin. By implementing brand guidelines, you have a general direction and tools to effectively maintain consistency while increasing the quality of the content. Brand guidelines help you stay sane and aim your business’s interests with your intended audience. 

What is Included in Brand Guidelines?

Colour Palette 

For brand recognition, brand colours have to be simple and consistent. In the past, brands picked one or two colours but the present-day brands multiple color schemes to add vitality to their brand communications. 

Colour-Palette

Whatever the choice, it’s a good idea to make your core brand colors clear. Don’t forget to include the necessary hex codes, RGB values, and CMYK color codes to make sure your colours are presented consistently across media. Along with these instructions, you must mention the shade variations, and some do’s and don’ts. 

Typography 

Choose typography that matches your brand’s visual style. It is one of those things that go unnoticed if it’s done well but sticks out like a sore thumb if it’s not. 

Typography

To enhance your brand experience, use a brand style guide to ensure you are using consistent typefaces and families, font sizes, and the hierarchy of the fonts across your collateral. 

Logo Design 

The logo is one of the most consistently visible parts of your brand. And how your logo should be displayed in different formats is an important part of your guidelines. A brand guideline should include size restrictions, colour combinations, and how your logo should look on different backgrounds making it tough to go wrong. 

Logo-Design

It doesn’t hurt to give some concrete examples, making it dummy-proof. Here are some of the dos and don’ts: 

Brand Voice 

Brand voice refers to the words that your brand chooses to use to show your company’s values and personality. And the importance of having a consistent brand voice in your messaging should not be underestimated. 

Brand-Voice

It is crucial to spend some time finding the style that resonates with your audience and aligns with the personality of your brand. Once you have it figured out, ensure that it’s replicated across your channels. 

Skype has gone above and beyond in defining their voice–including a ton of dos and don’ts for grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, naming, and tone. 

Brand Story

Every brand is backed up by a compelling brand story. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the brand story wraps up a company’s vision, mission, and core values. The best kind of stories add a dash of their personality. 

Brand-Story

For example- Land Rover’s campaign video ‘ The Land of Land Rover’ offers a brilliant example and a reminder that the best stories are not your own, but those of your customers and your fans. Caring for those stories brings them to life and prioritizing them over your product message makes them iconic. 

Image & Data Visualization 

Imagery could include the style of photographs, colour, and content your company uses on website or marketing collaterals that contributes to the perception of your brand. 

A brand guideline creates a general guideline for imagery (photos, illustrations, charts, infographics, etc.) that are to be included in your brand’s promotional materials. 

Conclusion

A brand book is the physical manifestation of the living, breathing concept that is your brand. Without a guiding document, any brand can spin out into inconsistent chaos. In an attempt to slow that process, Marketing Departments often develop Brand usage guidelines. These guiding documents have a lot of names: Brand Book, Brand Guidelines, Brand Bible, Brand Usage Guide, CI Manual, Identity Guidelines, etc. 

Irrespective of several names, a brand guide’s sole motivation is to keep your brand identity consistent, recognizable, and still unique, even as several different minds work to develop content for your brand. Since a style guide defines a brand’s identity, it’s important to spend the time and resources to get it right. 

Get in touch with us, and we promise to build a style guide that helps you maintain a strong, cohesive, and distinguishable brand.

Also Read – What are the 5 elements of Successful Branding?