With more than 2 billion downloads to date, TikTok, which has been available internationally since taking over Musical.ly in 2018, now ranks among the world’s 10 most popular social media platforms. The platform began to gain traction during the pandemic; however, its popularity continues to increase, proving that it is not just a lockdown wonder. Today, TikTok has become a generalist viral platform that cultivates exciting creations across every niche, with fashion being in the top five most popular content categories, amassing billions of hashtags. 

TikTok set up its regional office in Dubai in 2018, aiming to cater to the wide demographic that makes up the Middle East and North Africa. As of 2019, Saudi Arabia ranked as the eighth-largest country in terms of users, according to Route Note. TikTok has become known as the Gen-Z social platform and the perfect marketing tool for brands and corporations alike in their efforts to reach the younger generation. According to data collected by YPulse as of April, 2021, 56% of TikTok users are Gen-Z while 39% are Millennials. 

Gen-Z and Millennials set the trends, and the rest follow. LVMH‘s recent announcement that it intended to recruit up to 25,000 people under the age of 30 by the end of 2022, regardless of their background or training, should not come as a surprise. In fact, it is a smart tactic that cashes in on the popularity of its brands with younger consumers, weaving streetwear styles into its luxury fashion collections.

We asked 5 fashion-focused TikTok users based in the MENA region about their go-to style hack, their favorite Arab designers and why they use TikTok. This is what they had to say. 

LEA, 22-YEAR-OLD, LEBANESE-ARMENIAN CONTENT CREATOR AND GRAPHIC DESIGNER BASED IN BEIRUT, LEBANON

What’s a style hack that everyone needs to get on?
Accessorizing is what completes an entire look. Go for eye-catching rings and earrings to elevate your outfit.

Who are some of your favorite Arab designers?
Roni Helou, Yassmin Saleh and Krikor Jabotian 

Why TikTok?
I use TikTok because it’s fun and allows me to grow an audience, but also because it helps me work on my editing skills and master fast transitions, which is what I enjoy doing most.

DOMIE, 24-YEAR-OLD, SAUDI MODEL, BASED IN KHOBAR, SAUDI ARABIA

What’s a style hack that everyone needs to get on?
When shoes are too big, add insoles. I have many shoes stuffed with insoles because they are bigger than my usual size.

Who are some of your favorite Arab designers?
I am in love with Ahmad Alwohaibi‘s brand, Too Dark To See Tomorrow (2d2c2m)

Why TikTok?
I feel like I can show my personality more on TikTok because it has an informal and spontaneous feel to it. Also, the video medium allows me to be more creative with the way I deliver a message or show an outfit in a short time.

MISHAL, 20-YEAR-OLD, SAUDI CONTENT CREATOR AND ARCHITECTURE STUDENT BASED IN DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Can you share a style hack everyone needs to get on?
My style hack is accessorizing, I feel like accessories give importance to your personal style! Basic outfits can be totally transformed with the help of a few accessories! I love investing in cool bags and sunglasses to compliment my look.

Who are some of your favorite Arab designers?
Arwa Albanawi and Shabab

Why TikTok?
I feel like TikTok gives people a platform where they can showcase their creativity and ideas. There’s a lot of creativity that goes into the content and it’s for everyone!

NADINE, 21-YEAR-OLD, EGYPTIAN-LEBANESE, FASHION STUDENT, MODEL AND STYLIST BASED IN BEIRUT, LEBANON

Can you share a style hack everyone needs to get on?
I almost never leave the house without statement jewelry and sunglasses that stand out. It’s the easiest way to really elevate an outfit. Black plain shirt, but with a thick gold Pharaoh necklace? Yessss!

Who are some of your favorite Arab designers?
Emergency Room, Rana Salam, tRASHY Clothing and Maison Artc. All these designers have very different ways of embracing our Middle Eastern, pan-Arab identity, rather than striving for Westernisation. That is something I admire and constantly try to achieve in my own identity as a fashion student.

Why TikTok?
A big part of my identity is [to be] provocative. I don’t mind stares and I love a good shock factor, which is why I base most of my TikTok videos around making fun of the patriarchy, of online bullies, and the restrictive state of social media in the Middle East. On TikTok, you’re bound to reach a huge variety of people, and that is what I found myself being interested in, getting reactions out of people, both good and bad.

KORRII, 21-YEAR-OLD, SUDANESE, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, BASED IN DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Can you share a style hack everyone needs to get on? 
Everyone needs to hop on edgy cuts when it comes to clothing pieces as it’s a statement and it’s ahead of its time.

Who are some of your favorite Arab designers? 
My ultimate favorite Arab designers would definitely be Neutra, Emergency Room and Xia the Label.

Why TikTok? 
Tiktok is a rapidly growing social media platform with many sides to it, #Fashiontok helped me elevate my style, discover new trends and designers and do fun challenges. Hence why I’m a huge supporter of other creators and designers in joining this platform to share their art and craft.