There has been amazement in the international press as Syria hosts its first ever fashion show. Proof, it is claimed, that the country is trying to open up, and break its pariah status.
Zeina Karam – an Associated Press writer who was penned many well written, less contentious pieces about Syria – has put her name to the shocking article. It paints Syria as some kind of Saudi-style cultural desert. And makes some basic factual errors which destroy the entire point of the article.
I’m going to turn to Twitter to demolish this article. But first, here are some juicy nuggets from Karam’s work.
The glitzy occasion was Syria’s first ever fashion design competition, meant to encourage young Syrian talents and local products. But perhaps more importantly, it was part of the authorities’ recent efforts to soften Syria’s image and open up the authoritarian country.
“I’m very excited, this is a very rare event in Syria, and I hope it is a first step in the right direction,” said Emily Jabbour, a 25-year-old Syrian architect who was among an audience of about 150.
Syria remains more conservative than neighboring Lebanon, where many fashion designers have gained worldwide fame. Emirates-based Syrian born haute couture designer Rami Al Ali is perhaps Syria’s only fashion name known outside the country