Gone are the days when regional and Ramadan-specific campaigns were reserved for food and household products. As much as we love the resurgence of Vimto every year, it’s exciting to see fashion brands, both regional and global, creating distinct marketing for the holy month and, of course, beyond.

Consumers know what they want. They demand to be seen, and value brands that connect with their community and that take the time to create unique content. Their content needs to be relevant and not just reserved for moments like Ramadan, if they don’t have a sustained year-round presence they can come across as superficial. Inclusivity is also crucial and needs to be considered by global brands in their international campaigns alongside their regional efforts.

Here, Tunisian-Swiss Modest Fashion Consultant Yousra Zein shares her tips on how to produce successful marketing campaigns for the month of Ramadan, who got it right and how to learn from any mistakes.

Create a Personalized Experience

More and more consumers crave unique experiences that embrace their lifestyles. Regional campaigns are an opportunity for brands to provide culturally relevant content and become connected and involved with the community. Forgetting the corporate need to generate cash for a second, Ramadan is about challenging ourselves physically and spiritually and being a better version of ourselves. It’s an opportunity for brands to showcase these reflections in a deeper and more meaningful way. If we can get an Alberta Ferretti “Eid Mubarak” red sweater in the process, then why not?

Speak to Regional Experts

Brands should seek insights and feedback from local fashion and marketing consultants. They can advise on best practices to adapt and optimize campaigns, from the design concept to the marketing strategy and delivery. They can also guide the brand in understanding that each country in the region is unique and has different behavioral patterns. For example, the headdress is styled differently in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Work with Local Talent

The brand Tibi recently visited Dubai for its spring-summer collection campaign. We worked together in involving local creatives, for example, the talented photographer Aqib Anwar. The result was stunning. I also appreciated Farfetch’s curation and choice of partners. The platform worked with fashion buyer Elle B. Mambetov to curate over 70 international brands mixed with the region’s finest, including Hamsa from Kuwait, Amal Al Raisi from Oman, and Emirati label, Ahlam Shahin. The choice was a fresh interpretation of the best of the season.

Avoid Stereotypes

It is interesting to see western brands interpret modesty and present their individual take on it, especially during this time of year, as we know how delicate it is to strike the right balance between modesty and effortless style. It’s the season where it becomes clear that modest style is not always approached from a knowledgeable point of view. One common misconception is systematically linking modest fashion to loungewear or “comfortable” clothing. If the silhouettes are looser fitting, modest fashion is not the most comfortable aesthetic and could be tricky to style. If we are not used to styling modest pieces, the result can be bulky layering and unbalanced looks. In terms of designs, brands tend to interpret Ramadan in a literal way – adding Swarovski and gold onto an accessory or a long-sleeved dress is simply not enough.

Create Key Pieces

Real immersion into the culture is required to understand that Ramadan is more than the constellation, a few fringes, and some glitter. I would be curious to see the results from a creative director after spending a day or two with a fasting family and their respective customs. My favorite pieces this season are the silky scarves from Burberry, with colors that evoked the setting sun, my favorite part of the day and that for me that holds a lot of memories, and finally, the patterns and embroidery of the “Arabesque Paisley” collection by Etro – which are also available worldwide.

Inclusivity is Essential

The latest ready-to-wear line by Gucci, “Nojum”, ticks a lot of boxes. The casting is inclusive, there’s the typical Ramadan nostalgia trope, Arabs and Africans are in front and behind the cameras, and, most importantly, the line is available worldwide. It does what fashion and Ramadan have in common: bring people together.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Creating capsule collections is not always sustainable. In fact, a large proportion of customers would like to wear existing collections with a modest twist. If a capsule collection is created, collaborating with local and modest fashion designers and artists could help create an authentic and relevant collection. Casting wise, it’s important to have the visible presence of Muslim and Hijabi models in any Ramadan campaign. Finally, for the campaigns, there’s no diversity without inclusivity: bringing in the eyes and talent who celebrate Ramadan and hiring hijabi and modest fashion stylists is key. This way, we can avoid finding slit skirts and short sleeves as part of Ramadan campaigns.