Dissertation Sample – Photography through Fashion Advertising in Qatar

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fashion photographers of the Middle East. Besides providing the latest views, news and reviews on the world of photography trends, photography technologies and printing and publishing advancements, ME Printer also features issues on fashion and advertising investment in the Middle East, besides providing updates on new publishing machinery, the latest digital and SLR camera models available in the Middle East, as well as the marketing opportunities for fashion photography and advertising. Cappetta, Cillo and Ponti (2006) argues that, ‘the production of fashion photography can be conceptualized as a collective process’. This is not to say that the roles are confused; strictly speaking, there exist markets for models, hairdressers, make-up artists, assistants, etc. There also exist markets for the magazines, cameras, computers, film, and many other types of goods and services that the photographers use to produce their pictures. ‘These markets comprise of what is called “the business.” One can say that these markets are connected in a network; they are “embedded” in each other, as White says. It is also useful to mention the markets (or at least the actors in them) that are connected to the fashion photography market (Entwistle, 2000).

The young Qataris are now getting more modern and this new trend is constantly on the rise. Besides the conventional trends that the women and men follow by getting inspired from fashion photography, there have been developments of bohemian lifestyles and culture in Qatar as well. One of the recent unconventional trends which have captured the media attention is cross dressing (Ruane, 1999). A growing number of young female Qataris are beginning to love the masculine style of dressing. This kind of a transvestite trend is partly been marketed and promoted by the fashion photographs of the West and has since caught on with the young women of Qatar. Although the Qatari advertising and fashion industry is not responsible for this controversial trend, they have however used the transvestite theme in some of the chic fashion magazines available in Qatar and other parts of the Middle East. These women are known by the name of ‘Boyat’, and it is their unique tastes in fashion and attire, which have captured the imagination of the fashion industry of the Middle East. There is a very popular television show called ‘Lakom al Karar’, which means ‘The Decision is Yours’, and in this show there was an episode which dealt with cross dressing among young women. According to a leading academic who featured in the show, the inspiration for cross-dressing was probably due to the effect of globalisation. Some of the entities who have been blamed for this practice, considered to be unethical by the majority of Qatari people, are

foreign housemaids, foreign teachers as well as satellite television. Although there were a few detractors who had blamed the Qatari fashion photography and the advertising industry of having promoted cross-dressing, it was eventually realised by all the major agencies of Qatar that fashion photography and advertising industry were not at all responsible for a trend which was detrimental for the Qatari culture. This example substantiates the fact that Qatari fashion and advertising industry has been extremely socially responsible and perceptive to the likes and dislikes and the ethos of Qatari people.


The Middle East is an upcoming market for advertising and fashion, according to PARC or the Pan Arab Research Centre. Among the growing markets of the Middle East, Qatar is one of the leading centres for advertising spending as well as revenues.  In the year 2009, the advertisement spending volume has increased a phenomenal 12% in Qatar, which testifies the high demand for advertisements by Qatari corporations. It is not only the corporations which seek the help of advertisement for marketing their products, and numbers of global fashion brands are also making their foray into the Qatari market. Presently, the advertising spending in Qatar has touched $402 million. Qatar now features on the list of the top four advertisement and fashion destinations in the Middle East. The total expenditure by the Middle East countries in advertisements was $4 billion and the market share of Qatar in the Middle East is an impressive 9.7% (Aspers, 2005).


2.3 The Influence of Domestic Fashion Magazines

As mentioned, GLAM is one of the top fashion magazines in Qatar and its readership continues to climb each month. GLAM is a glamour magazine which is packaged in a way which is comparable with other top global fashion magazines. It also holds the distinction of being Qatar’s first domestically produced fashion magazine.  Furthermore, the magazine offers the Qatari readers a slice of contemporary trends in culture of the Middle East. Besides seamlessly bending fashion, glamour, beauty and style, GLAM introduces the hottest and the latest happenings of Middle East fashion as well as the newest trends in lifestyle and clothing. One of the outstanding features of GLAM is the quality of fashion photography that the magazine offers. The fashion photo shoots are managed by some of the most creative art directors of the Middle East, and shot by renowned Middle East fashion photographers as

well as some of the best fashion photographers of the world. GLAM is also famous for informing the readers about fashion trends, even before the trends become popular in Qatar. GLAM is a magazine which keeps the fashion aficionados as well as the young and progressive young generation abreast with the latest happenings in the world of fashion and glamour. It offers some trend-setting photos of exquisite male and female models, and the majority of its subscribers are the affluent, successful and the young at heart people of Middle East especially Qatar. According to Abolafia (1996), ‘ fashion photography featured suave and exquisitely dressed fashion models, which serve as perfect role models for the image conscious women who want to look at their best always.’

Another trendsetting magazine which is helping the industry of fashion photography to grow in a phenomenal pace is Women Today or WT. Women Today is a magazine which focuses on the issues which the modern women of the Middle East encounter today. Besides offering women valuable tips on career management, romance and personal problems, Women Today is also one of the most admired fashion and lifestyle magazines of Qatar. It was launched in 2005, and within a very short time, WT has found a niche for itself. The presence of more than one fashion and glamour magazine indicates the fact that Qatar is now one the hottest fashion destinations in Asia. The women of Qatar are changing with the globalised market, and more and more women are stepping out of their homes and joining the corporate world. WT caters primarily to this growing sector of corporate women, who are very ambitious, responsible and want to sport the most fashionable and contemporary attires. Women Today  therefore plays the role of the window, which gives them a 360° view of the latest and up-to-the-minute global trends in the world of fashion and lifestyle. Thus, the fashion photographs which are featured in the pages of WT successfully reflect the top trends in global hot couture and prêt a porter fashion. In one of the interviews, Senior Business Manager of WT, Mr Ravi Raman said, ‘with Qatar’s continued progress, the role women play in corporate and social sectors is changing; Woman Today reflects this change and aims to be their partner. The past two years has seen Woman Today grow in popularity and readership, it fulfils a vital gap in the market and we are very happy with the response. As Qatar’s largest magazine group we are buoyant and committed in offering the best and very soon readers will experience another first for Qatar’ (PhotoAxe, 2007).

WT inspires and motivates the women of Qatar and acts as an advertisement medium which delivers the readers an up-market and buoyant view of Qatar. WT is in fact owned by biggest publishing house of Qatar: the OAC Group. With over 30 years of experience, the OAC Group knows the tastes and preferences of Qatari people like no other. After months of research on the Qatari market, OAC finally decided on launching a magazine which is exclusively meant for the glamorous set. The Connoisseur is yet another publication launched some time ago from the OAC stable, and primarily focuses on ultra premium fashion and lifestyle. With such a spurt in growth for lifestyle and fashion publications in Qatar, it is quite obvious which industry would stand to gain. In only a few years, these premium publications have started selling like hotcakes, and as a result, is becoming the medium of choice for the best premium regional and international brands, for selling their products in Qatar. Fashion magazines have an intrinsic quality of reaching out to the affluent and progressive subset of Qatari population, and premium brands are discovering the profitability and effectiveness of advertising their products in publications such as these.  The fashion and lifestyle brands are thus using the most effective and innovative ad campaigns, to captivate and inspire the readers with amazingly thought-out fashion photos, and most importantly, sell their products to the high heeled Qataris. Airey (2007) argue,  ‘the photographers’ perspective is crucial for understanding a market, but as has been  shown, the consumers also know about the photographers’ perspective, for example how they view the relationship between fashion and advertising photography. The consumers, however, do not share the perspective of the photographers. Two different meaning structures can be identified among consumers; one is held by fashion editors, and the other by art directors. Furthermore, fashion editors are oriented to each other but not to art directors; and art directors are oriented to each other but not to fashion editors. Both groups of actors—the fashion editors and the art directors—operate as consumers and interface with photographers, though they do so at different interfaces. It should now be clear that from the phenomenological perspective there are two markets for fashion photography, not one. This is the case because two interfaces exist with distinctive roles for the producers and the consumers, and at each of these a service is exchanged for money, which results in products, i.e. photographs. The same photographers can appear in both of the production markets: those for editorial fashion photography and the production market for advertising fashion photography. In contrast, consumers only operate in one of the two production markets.’

2.4 The Influence of International Fashion Magazines

Leading fashion magazines of the UK, US and France have made inroads into the Middle Eastern market. There have been several gala magazine launches lately in the Middle East, and the who’s who of the media world has promoted the launch of international publication brands. Some of the famous media personalities of the Middle East who has graced such launches include the CEO of DSF Mr. Saeed Al Nabouda, general manager of BurJuman Mr. Eisa Adam Ibrahim, chairman of planet travel & tour Mr. George Moussa, and editor-in-chief of media most publishing Ms. Rita Boustany. There have been several spectacular media events sponsored by fashion magazines and fashion houses of New York, London and Paris. In 2007, there was a spectacular fashion event called Dubai Fashion 2007 which featured some of the best names in international fashion including Sonia Rykiel, Emanuel Ungaro, and Christian Lacroix, Kenzo and Valentino. Events such as these are primarily sponsored by some of the most popular foreign fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Elle and Vogue. These events also offer an excellent opportunity for fashion photographers to take a snap of their favourite models and designers. A number of domestic fashion designers as well as domestic fashion photographers get a chance to rub shoulders with the top names in the world of fashion (Cheryl & Fawcett, 2002). Courtesy of international fashion magazines, cities such as the Dubai and Doha have been catapulted to the top league of fashion destinations. The international exposure provided by international fashion publications not only boosts the market of the Middle East, they also help in the promotion of premium brands in the Middle East through ads featuring fashion photographs.

Undoubtedly, foreign magazines are responsible for the Dubai Fashion Week’s growing popularity, and the launch of international glamour publications in Qatar also promises to put Doha in the centre of the fashion map of the Middle East. When one walks by the streets of cities such as Beirut, Cairo, Dubai and Doha, one will inevitably come across a slew of international fashion magazines being displayed in the newsstands. One will also be quite stupefied by the number of titles available in the stands, all of them being the latest editions.  Probably when Rudyard Kipling had written “East is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet,” (Mitchell, 1992), he had never realized that in the streets of Doha, Beirut, Cairo and Dubai, the twain does meet.

Foreign fashion publications are not only available in English, they are also printed in French and Arabic, which makes them easily accessible to most people in Middle Eastern countries like Qatar. Foreign publications also serve another useful purpose. These magazines often become the initiators of a new trend, and the domestic magazines of Qatar would always acknowledge the marketing paths which were created by foreign magazines, which are now being utilized by the domestic publications. SoChic is a Lebanese publication which is available in Qatar. The Arabic language magazine is very famous in the Arabic world and contains some exclusive articles about the top fashion designers of the Middle East.  The people of Qatar can also pick up the German magazine Gala, which is now been published in Arabic as well. The magazine consists of an infusion of international celebrities and fashion photography, with a gamut of print advertisements on its pages. Yet another European import for the Arabic world is the prestigious fashion magazine from France, L’Officiel Levant. The hefty 200 pages plus magazine is wonderfully designed and packaged, appealing perfectly for the English speaking Arabs. All these magazines contain a generous dose of party scene pages, with a number of premium advertisements scattered between all the information about luxury and fashion.

It is usual to find woman dressed head to toe in black robes, but in the latest international fashion magazines, the attire of attire women are been changed. The Middle East edition of the world famous Elle magazine promises to contain photos of the hippest clothes and the most fashionable models. The international fashion experts advise the new generation of Qatari women about the substitutes which are available for loose-fitting chadors and abayas. In one of the editions, a model wears an Etro purple dress with an added violet headscarf. Another one of the Middle East edition contains a model wearing an elegant black embroidered robe complemented with Ferragamo sandals. According to Desiree Sadek, the publisher of the Middle East edition of Elle, “”We can mix the East and the West in fashion.” Elle Middle East is a part of Hachette Filipacchi Medias, which is one of the arms of the French group Lagardere SCA (Kilbourne, 2008).

2.5 Review of Qatari Fashion Photography

It’s common to find women in Muslim countries wearing traditional clothes; however an increasing number of women are beginning to like wearing clothes which are fashionable and often revealing (Lesco, 2008). The social calendars in the Arab world are also being filled with trendy parties’ sponsored by foreign and fashion magazines. Many of the clothes which are displayed in fashion magazines such as Elle and Cosmopolitan are designed to be worn on the streets. However in certain conservative countries such as Iran, these clothes can be easily worn in private parties. The fashion photographs in the foreign magazines strategically highlight designer accessories such as shoes, scarves, handbags, and jewellery and sun glasses (Easton &Toner, 1983). With the economic upswing that countries such as Qatar is experiencing, a number of women are frequently picking up international glossies from foreign trips, and even the imported  American and French versions of InStyle, Vogue and Elle. The advertisers in foreign fashion magazines include brands such as Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani and Cartier. There was a recent advertisement for a special advertisement campaign by Coty Inc. The ad featured Jennifer Lopez and revealed the singer’s face only, instead of the revealing curvy silhouette which was the originally published in Western countries. This gesture shows the adaptability and the concerns shown by foreign fashion magazines for its Arab readers.

Revealing images of women in magazines are off limits for fashion glossies, and fashion magazines are aware of these restrictions. This propels them to come up with brilliant fashion ads which blend style with traditional culture (Sontag, 1977).A prime example is the ads of Gucci, which feature shoe and handbags only. By adding a dash of colour in their ads and steering clear of controversial clothing ads, Gucci campaigns have been successful in the Middle East market. The ads in fashion magazines range from luxury European items, attire and shoes to handbags and perfumes. Brands such as Valentino Fashion Group SpA, Hermes International, Burberry Group PLC, Saks Fifth Avenue, Cavalli and Prada are regular features in the ad space of fashion magazines of the Middle East.  The luxury goods advertised in these magazines are often available in upmarket shopping centres such as Burjuman Shopping Centre or Villa Moda. In fact, Vili Moda has launched a luxury goods magazine named Alaf, which has been inspired from fashion glossies such as Elle and Vanity

Fair.  David et al. (1998) quote, ‘to understand the market for fashion photography may require the researcher to address a series of questions. One of the most intriguing questions—though not necessarily the most important—has to do with style. How does a photographer’s style become “hot” and create a trend in the market? But there are many more questions. How can a photographer who cannot change the lens in his camera shoot for some of the most highly regarded fashion magazines? How is it that a photographer has to pay to get some assignments, but earns more on other assignments, though she does the same thing? Why do some photographers’ names appear in the by-lines of advertisements when others do not? How can magazines be produced every week with fashion pictures that rarely allow the viewer to see what the clothes look like? How can a magazine that sells very few copies still set the tone on fashion photography for the market? How is it that the buyers of the magazines and the wearers of the clothes are between 12 and 100 years old but most models range in age from 13 to about 23 years old? How do producers see differences among themselves as well as among the customers? How is it that fashion pictures look differently as the study proceeds, it will become clear that questions like these cannot be answered in isolation. These questions should be answered by focusing on the essential question of this study: how does one understand the market for fashion photography’.


2.6 Summary

Each and every year, a new foreign fashion publication attempts to get a foothold on the fertile fashion market of the Middle East. Even Esquire, the exclusive magazine for affluent men, has launched its Middle East operations recently. This reinstates the buoyancy of the Middle East fashion and advertising market. Esquire has found its niche readers and is successful in the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and Qatar. Esquire is presently distributed in the Middle East by Hearst Magazines International. Regarding the future of Esquire, the CEO and President Duncan Edwards said “Esquire has long been known for its outstanding writing, photography and lifestyle content targeting young, affluent men. It has been found that the magazine translates exceptionally well with men all over the world and the team is confident that Esquire will be successful in the Middle East market, as it has been with its other international editions.”

Chapter 3


When one takes a stroll in the streets of Doha and view the fashion and lifestyle magazines containing innumerable fashion photographs, one wonders how deep the roots of fashion

photography and fashion advertisements have entered into the fabric of the Qatari culture. Many of the fashion photographs which are displayed in magazines of Qatar, are not extremely impractical or unrealistic, rather they are photographs which people of Qatar can easily relate to. The foreign magazines such as Vogue and Elle and even domestic glossies such as GLAM are helping to shape of the fashion and advertising industry in Qatar. According to Ruggerone (2006), ‘fashion photography is not only seen in fashion magazines, but in catalogues and several print advertisements for various verticals of products. It is an accepted fact that when one is attracted by a career in fashion photography, the work hours would be long and the competition would be very tough. One of the best methods of being successful fashion photographer is earning a degree in fashion photography’. There are some prestigious colleges in the Middle East which offer diplomas and degrees in fashion photography, which would groom the aspiring fashion photographers with the intricacies of fashion photography. There are several aspects which are integrated fashion photography, which can range from the in-depth knowledge of cameras and camera lenses, the awareness and usage of proper lighting techniques, to the important aspects of choosing the right fashion models, blending the costumes with the ambience, comprehending the exact message that the photograph intends to send, the brand or product which is being advertised, the aesthetic value of the fashion photograph, and of course the profanity or obscenity in the photograph (Smith,2008).Pertaining to the issue of obscenity, it is very important for an aspiring fashion photographer to aware of the sensibilities of the Qatari people. Generally, the majority of the Qatari people are not as liberal as the people in the West; therefore it is of utmost importance that the fashion photographs do not blindly emulate the fashion photographs of the West.

With the passage of time, the photographers would understand the pulse of the Middle East market and thereby develop a unique style of fashion photography, which is commercially successful, which is universally accepted by the Qatari people, and which is has an aesthetic value as well. Since a photograph which is commercially successful and does not have any aesthetic value is not actually a fashion photograph but rather a print advertisement. What differentiate a fashion photograph from a common print ad are the style, the verve, and the artistry which is radiated by fashion photograph.  Rosenblum (2008) argues that, ‘art buyers are the most important people in the ad agency for us shooters. They are the ones who find the photographers who are appropriate for a specific job. The first contact that one gets for a

job will be from an art buyer. They will be the person to whom he/she FedEx his/her portfolio. They are also the ones to whom he/she has to submit the estimate when he/she has been selected to bid on a job. Consider all the jobs that are being produced at any one time at an ad agency, and he/she will come to realize that art buyers are professional chaos managers. Because of the amount of work that needs the artistic talents of photographers and illustrators, art buying is its own department run by the Senior Art Buyer or Art Services Manager. Under them they have a team of art buyers, one of whom he/she would be dealing with. The series of events that leads up to getting a job goes something like this. Having received approval for an ad campaign, an art director will provide the art buyer with a short list of photographers whom they like for the job. The art buyer will draw upon their resources and add to that list and then call all the photographers and have them send in their portfolios. This is known as calling in the books. When one gets book called in, need to do two things. The first is having a quick look at his/her book and make sure that there are a few photos apropos to the client in there. For example, if one is sending his/her book in to be considered for a fashion campaign; they shouldn’t send the agency a portfolio of animal nature images. Second, he/she needs to put his/her book and a few promos into the FedEx fast. Do not test this theory. The longer they wait, the more books will pile up in the art buyers office, making his/her one of many. If his/her book misses the initial selection meeting, absolutely no one will care. Once all the portfolios arrive, the art buyer and art director will go through all the portfolios and choose a select group to be considered for the job. These portfolios are then presented to the client with the recommendations of the art director and art buyer. Once everyone agrees on a set of photographers to be considered, the art buyer will then contact the selected photographers, send them a copy of the boards, and have them estimate the job. A photographer will be selected, and the job will be awarded to the photographer. Once the job is awarded, the photographer will deal with the art buyer for the advance and the final invoice. He/she has to keep in mind that this scenario is a basic example of what might happen. There are dozens of variations. Sometimes an art director will fight hard to have a photographer they know get the job. And sometimes an art buyer will do the same. A client might give a strong recommendation that the agency go with a photographer whom they’ve worked with in the past. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the process is, as long as he/she is the one they call at the end of it.’

Content Analysis and Visual Research

The culture of Qatar is comparatively very complex.  Even the veteran advertisers and media gurus of the Middle East consider Qatar to be a market which is not very easy to comprehend.  Qatar is very famous worldwide for being the headquarters of the news agency Al Jazeera. One of the recent changes that is very palpable in Qatar is the modernisation which is sweeping through Qatar. Qatar is sometimes referred by people of the Middle East as the ‘Crane city’. This is because there are several skyscrapers which have been constructed, and politically, the country is more liberated from the violent suppression of Islamic extremist groups such as the Al-Qaeda. With the environment which is very westernized, it becomes very easy for westernized concepts such as fashion photography to enter into the culture and lifestyle of the Qatari people. All around in the Middle East, there is still a battle between tradition and modernization, however it is not as acute in the Qatar milieu as it is in some other nations of the Middle East.


According to the number of tourists who have visited Qatar, there are several brands which are available for them. About a decade ago, this was not true at all since the only commercial brands that were dominant in the Qatar marketplace were the domestic goods. According to Mears (2010), ‘the commercial goods and commercial advertisements are on the increase, and so are the advertisements for fashion brands’. Precious Lovell is one of the most dominant names in the Qatar fashion industry.  She used to former New York fashion designer who has moved her base to Doha. She is one of several for fashion designers who have paved the way for the fashion industry in Qatar. She used to be an assistant professor at the School Of Arts for Fashion Designing. What’s more, she and her students organized one of the first fashion shows in the country.

Image (7) shows fashion photography which featured in the Qatar Airways magazine Oryx. Oryx is in fact one of the trendsetters as far as fashion advertising in Qatar is concerned. The readership of Oryx touches 1 million readers each month, and this particular advertisement shows a collage comprising of the latest fashion trends and accessories popular in Qatar. The inset contains three exquisitely shot fashion photographs. One of them is of a mannequin,

while the other two are classic examples of fashion photography, which is now rendered by talented Qatar fashion photographers.

Image (8) is a fashion photograph of the famous fashion house Lanvin of Paris. The burgeoning fashion market has made Qatar’s Royal Family buy a stake in Lanvin. This is a fashion photograph conceptualized by the creative director Alber Elbaz, and the photograph is a prime example of fashion a photograph meant for the Qatari people. The attire worn by the model is not at all revealing, but at the same time, exudes glamour and class. Image (14), on the other hand shows some exquisitely shot photographs of the abaya. The abaya has been used in the most innovative of styles, thereby making the abaya trendier and contemporary for the modern Qatari woman.

Image (13) shows the fashion photographs of the latest designs for the progressive Middle East women of today. They’re designed by a designer Alexander McQueen and feature some of the most stylish and swishy dresses meant for the Qatari market. The amazing use of a plush backdrop in all the photographs, which harmonizes perfectly with the clothes, is a testimony to the professional class of the current crop of fashion photographers of Qatar and the Middle East. The fashion photographs feature the least amount of revealing clothes, but still manage to capture the sensuousness in all the photographs.

3.1 Objectives

The objectives of this dissertation is to illustrate the effect of using photograph as well as images with regards to fashion advertisements pertaining to the fashion market in Qatar.

Aim of the Study

  • To figure out the relationship between fashion advertising and the society; this in turn would help depict the effect of fashion photography on the geographical market
  • To find out and reveal the secrets which have been responsible for the success of fashion photography in Qatar and the secret of making a successful career through fashion photography
  • The influence of Arab consumers on the taste of Qatari society with regards to fashion photography.


  • To depict the influence of customs and traditions in influencing people’s tastes towards photographic fashion advertising in Qatar

Chapter 4


The fashion scene in Qatar is really alive. The fashion guru who is also referred to as the “the Ferrari of Clothing”, has been welcomed by the fashion conscious people of Qatar. Domenico Vacca is an Italian designer who has found that the market in Qatar is extremely lucrative. He has opened a new boutique called the Pearl-Qatar, which has posted sales over $700,000. A number of female Qataris have purchased designer socks, jackets, blouses and ready to wear garments. The private VIP clients of Vacca regularly gather in the new boutique. The popularity of the Vacca’s boutique and the cost of the lavish interiors of the boutique is a testimony to the surge in demand for fashionable goods by the Qataris. The 230 square meters boutique is also the first outlet to have opened in the Middle East, and the reason why Vacca had chosen Doha as its first outlet was the potential of the Qataris as fashion conscious customers.

There are several advertising agencies in Doha, and every month there are new advertising agencies that are opening their offices. One of the most respected ad agencies of Doha is Fortune Promoseven’s (FP7). The agency has won numerous awards for its fashion advertisements for a number of years.  Its walls are covered with two Cannes Lions as well as the number of Dubai Lynx Awards, which has received by the creative department of FP7. The advertising industry in Qatar was previously dominated by the creative departments and the advertising agencies of the Middle East, especially Dubai. Hence, about fifteen years ago, the majority of the fashion advertisements had a link with Dubai. Presently, the scenario has completely changed and Doha is becoming one of the advertising capitals of the Middle East. The managing director at FP7, Mr Mezher, talking about the emerging advertising industry of Qatar said “It used to be that Dubai was the place to get good advertising, back in 2005, 2004. But that attitude is rare now because clients find out that their relationship with the agency is more than just giving creative. It’s a partnership. And, as they say, long-distance relationships never work out.”

Presently, advertising agencies are having their regional hubs in Qatar. Earlier, all the major advertising agencies had their bases in Dubai, and these agencies are now turning their attention to Doha. The growing business communities of Qatar are now having offices in Doha, and many of these offices often advertise their products. The presence of local advertising agencies allows the Qatari companies to a hire the agencies for marketing their products. A number of fashion advertisements appear to sell their products, most of them created and designed in these new ad agencies of Doha. Mr Mezher of FP7 further adds “The turning point was the Asian Games in 2006. It was an international event that was going to be seen worldwide, so you couldn’t do something that was not up to international standards. Basically, it raised the bar for everybody.”  After the games, the clients started demanding a higher level of creative work, and this led the international ad agencies such as Impact BBDO and Grey to enter the market of Qatar. Due to the booming economy of Qatar, the flagship companies of Qatar are experiencing an expansion like never before. The major companies of Qatar include Qatar Airways, Qatar Telecom and Qatar National Bank. For brand building, international expertise is required. The number of large companies such as these sends the promotional message across with the help of fashion advertising.

In the field of advertising, Qatar is a relatively new country. The International Advertising Association of Qatar was formed last year, and serves as a forum for the best creative and the best technical talents in the advertising industry. The outdoor advertising market is still monopolized by the Qatar Media Services, according to the data by Pan Arab Research Centre. In the year 2008, the total advertising spending in Qatar was an excess of 260 million US dollars, which was significantly higher than 188 million in the year 2007. On the other hand, the spending on outdoor advertisements increased to about $40 million. Although the economic crisis has hit Qatar, the country is still expected to be the fastest growing GCC country, at the rate of 8.5 percent, according to the Standard Chartered Bank. The CEO of TBWA/RAAD, Mr Ramzi Raad said “Qatar is becoming an increasingly attractive market.” His agency recently bagged the account of Qatar Foundation. Another occurrence which is increasingly happening in Qatar is the exodus of creative talents such as advertising professionals and fashion photographers from the Middle East cities such as Dubai to Doha. There are ad agencies in Dubai which regularly laying off 40 to 50 people. These

professionals range from copywriters, graphic designers to creative designers and fashion photographers. However, the local Doha ad agencies are not taking these talents from other countries. The number of these major agencies of Qatar believes that the local talent is sufficient, and by inducting local fashion photographers and advertising professionals, the advertising agencies are doing the country a favour. They’re not only helping the indigenous local talent to develop, they are also helping in creating a unique advertising and fashion industry, which is self sufficient and equally talented as the major fashion and advertising hubs of the world.
























Chapter 5


Oryx Advertising, the publisher of Qatar Al Yom, GLAM, Qatar Today and Woman Today, announced the launch of the launch of a new fashion and lifestyle magazine. The magazine called T is designed similar to the New York Times. A number of regional and local feature articles as well as photographs and coverage of major lifestyle events in Qatar will be covered in the magazine. The Vice President of The New York Times News Services International Editorial Development, Gloria Brown Anderson said “We are excited to bring T: The New York Times Style Magazine to Arabic readers in Qatar. With the bilingual edition of T, we are able to reach new segments of readers within the Middle East, bringing the magazine’s global perspective on style to Qatar’s burgeoning fashion and design community.” Initially, T Magazine would be published fifteen times each year and it will be edited by one of the most famous style editors of the New York Times magazine, Stefano Tonchi. For all the latest news and the most creative fashion photographs in Qatar, readers prefer the T magazine.

In fact, the covers of most of the magazines published by Oryx Advertising, contain some of the most innovative fashion photographs which appear on any magazine in the Middle East. Advertisements such as Qatar Airways’ Shopping Extravaganza, Dolce & Gabbana’s The One fragrance and Montblanc Jewellery add style and glamour to the magazines. Advertisements such as these are extremely common in the glamour glossies which are circulated in Qatar today. Additionally, there are advertisements of pendants and earrings from fashion brands such as Pianegonda, fashionable photographs of writing instruments from Chopard, which also includes the Coveted Diamond C pen ($710), as well as fashionable and chic wraps from Jannat Organza. Besides these products, the glamour glossies contain innumerable fashion advertisements which the woman of Qatar find appealing. The T Magazine features some of the best Ladies’ Fragrance fashion ads, and

contains almost 30 brands of the best luxury fragrances for the style conscious woman. Some of the premium fragrance brands which regularly posts fashion advertisements are Agent Provocateur, Calvin Klein, Bvlgari, Viktor, Vera, Versace, Wang and Rolf.


Particularly, one of the advertisements which were exceptional for its stylish representation of the product and the perfect encapsulation of the essence of the message was the watch advertisement from Tissot, which circulated in the leading fashion magazines of Qatar some time ago. The advertisement had copies written in four different languages, and the amazingly shot fashion photo was printed on a superior quality paper.  The advertisements for cosmetic products in Qatar have been very impressive too. The cosmetic brands have realized that selling the product becomes way easier if they use fashion photography for promoting their products. Fashion photography and advertisements are in fact becoming inseparable from each other. At least twenty premium luxury brands are regularly advertising their products with the help of fashion photographs.  The brands include Bobbi Brown, Yves Saint Laurent, Revlon’s MoistureStay Lipcolor Bonus Pack and some of the best skin care products from StriVectin-SD, Själ, and Hylexin.


In the department of men’s skin care and fragrances, the scenario is equally bright.  There are a number of luxury brands which are constantly entering the Qatari market. Some of the exquisite brands include John Varvatos Vintage, Carolina Herrera 212 Sexy Men, Emporio Armani Remix, Azzaro Silver Black, DKNY Red Delicious, Pace Rabanne Black XS, Calvin Klein Euphoria, Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme, Bvlgari Pour Homme Soir, Hugo Boss Skin Reviving Eye Gel and Revitalizing Moisture Cream, Prada Pour Homme and Valentino V. Each of these brands regularly advertises on the glossies, and the best method of advertisements for premium brands of this stature are of course fashion advertisements.

There are also the domestic fragrance brands which are competing with foreign brands, some of which include Mix of Maaka, Al Qurashi Dahanal Aloud Al Malaki, and Designer Shaik’s Eau de Parfum for Men and Women.  The lineup for fashion brands is very hard to follow these days in Qatar, but one of the apex brands which is leading the advertisement campaigns in Qatar is its most famous brand Qatar Airways.  Fashion photography is not only being adopted by companies which are primarily fashion houses, but brands such as  Nokia

Bluetooth Headsets, Adidas Super Nova sunglasses, Braun Pocket Go 575 shaver, Samsung X820 GSM mobile as well as the Apple iPod 30GB, children’s products such as  Kaloo and Russ Berrie, alcoholic beverages like Johnnie Walker Red, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Chivas Regal 12yo, and Black and Blue Label, tobacco brands like Chunghwa, Marlboro Red and Winston Lights, whose innovative and stylish print campaigns will captivate the readers.

Chapter 6


All in all, Qatar provides a safe environment for the propagation of fashion and advertising industry, unlike some other countries of the Middle East. The dramatic landscapes of the country, the pristine beaches, the wonderful dunes and the plush cityscapes serve as ideal backdrops for the most outstanding fashion photo shoots in the world. Besides the dramatic environment, Qatar also has a liberal attitude and appreciates fine living and fine arts. With qualities such as these, it’s no wonder why Qatar continues to grow as one of the best fashion and advertisement destinations of Asia. Among the different types of photography, it is reasonable to say that the eminence of fashion photography has enhanced over the last couple of decades. Over time, it has turn out to be an even more significant type for the advancement and position of the whole field of photography; it receives identification both within and outside the field of photography. Most of the world’s renowned living photographers are fashion photographers and style and fashion photographs are revealed in art museums, and sold at auctions. Furthermore, fashion photography catches the attention of many students, and aspiring photographers often look for to work as subordinates for photographers or go to photography schools. Many aspects explain why fashion photography today is more significant and is considered as an important type of photography, but it is outside the scope of this study to consider on these factors here.

The dissertation elaborated on the present scenario of fashion photography. The gradual transformation of the Qatari fashion photography market was also described. Qatar is evolving each and every year as a lucrative market for fashion photography, and the influx of foreign luxury brands such as Emporio Armani, Paco Rabanne, Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein and Versace proves the existence of a fertile fashion market in Qatar. The dissertation

also discusses the latest fashion and lifestyle glossies which are currently being circulated in Qatar. Magazines such as GLAM and Women Today as well as the foreign fashion magazines customised for the Qatari market such as Elle Middle East was analysed from the perspective of fashion photography. The dissertation also dissects a few fashion photographs originating in Qatar, and reveals their salient features. Additionally, the dissertation depicted the influence of customs and traditions in changing the people’s tastes towards photographic fashion advertising in Qatar.  One of the other aspects of the dissertation was to understand the relationship between fashion advertising and the Qatari society, which eventually helped in evaluating the effect of fashion photography on the Qatari market.

The western concepts of fashion photography have seamlessly blended with the cultural fabric of Qatar, partly because almost half of the Qatar population comprises of foreign nationals. This amazing blend of attitudes and cultures have created a society which not only serves as a market for fashion advertisements and premium products, but also gains economically by marketing its scenic locales, its brilliant creative artists and fashion photographers to the fashion aficionados worldwide. Photography through Fashion Advertising in Qatar has thus crossed borders and created a far reaching effect to audiences beyond the Gulf region.

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