The bilingual Style.com Arabia will launch at midday on Monday 15 October, 2012.
Bilingual Style.com to target Arab market
Style.com, Condé Nast's much-viewed fashion website (it actually boasts the highest readership among women's online fashion magazines), is launching its first edition in the Middle East tomorrow. Style.com Arabia, the self-styled "new fashion capital of the Middle East", explains why more people across the region might soon be looking at massive pictures of shoes on their computer screens.
Why Condé Nast has now turned to the Middle East
According to Dirk Standen, Style.com's editor-in-chief, the website has had a longtime fan base in the region, and points to the Qatari royal family's recent purchase of Valentino as a sign of the Middle East's evolution as an important consumer market. "We believe there's a vibrant and growing audience of fashion and style watchers in the Middle East," he says. "The timing seemed right to deepen our connection with the fashion community there."
How it will differ from the original Style.com
Although the categories on Style.com Arabia will be much the same as those on the international site, the content will be selected to remain regionally relevant. "For example, given the importance of beauty within the Middle East as a means of self-expression, the Beauty section on Style.com Arabia will be substantially different from the international role," says Standen. There'll also be coverage of regional events and editorial features specifically written for the market. Perhaps most importantly, however, is that the website will be in both English and Arabic. "With Style.com Arabia being published in both English and Arabic, we're aiming to target a broad audience of fashion fans across the region, regardless of which language they prefer to speak or read."
Respecting regional sensitivities and tastes
Style.com is hardly the most outrageous of websites, but Standen claims efforts will definitely be made not to offend. "It's important to respect the cultural and social standards at large," he says. "At the same time, fashion is a forward-thinking industry and we also want to ensure that we don't dilute that message."
Location, location, location
Perhaps predictably, the site will be based in Dubai. "It's the regional HQ for many fashion brands," claims Standen, who adds that the website's advertising partners Nervora is also based in the emirate. "At the same time, our regional focus will be the entire Middle East and not just the UAE. Our broader goal is to present global fashion through a distinctly Middle Eastern lens and to be a gateway to the world for Middle East fashion. Given its regional and international access, Dubai is a good base for us."