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Dubai’s underwater fashion show – we want clothes, not stunts

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In case you’ve been off the hook since the weekend, you may not have heard that a fashion show was staged at the Atlantis, The Palm on Thursday. That’s not so shocking, since the first one ever was done in Korea over a year ago, but still worth talking about.

Firstly, other than getting people to talk about it, what purpose does having scuba divers wear dresses over their gear and swim in an aquarium serve? Sure, the collection followed an ocean-inspired theme, but are we absolutely sure that that was the best way to showcase those pieces?

Dr. Fran Apprich, the American University in the Emirates who initiated the event, noted that “underwater they [the gowns] look great like jellyfish but if you wear it in public, it would look bizarre” in a recent interview with Gulf News.

So that was whole point of it, to create clothes to be worn underwater and demonstrate the students’ capacity for innovation, but doesn’t innovation stem from practical necessity?

And now we go back to the original question, was it necessary at all to do an underwater fashion show, with fashion being the operative word? Was it fair to the designers, who worked on these clothes for a month, to let their creations be exhibited in such a way that details get watered down?

From an art perspective, where it’s more about creative indulgence than practicality, we give props to the efforts of Dr. Apprich and all AUE students who participated in making this event a reality.

But from a fashion point of view, and more importantly, from that point of view where they wish to raise money to give to a non-profit (Blue Flag Programme) by selling clothes that could barely be seen, we’d say try again. We may be asking for too much here, but whenever we hear fashion, we expect fashion.

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