Fashion and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Column: Habillez-Moi (which means “dress me” in French)
Reem is a fashion fanatic. She used her talents of critiquing to start a blog called “We Voice Fashion” along with a partner that shares her views on the world of fashion and design. Through her column, she likes to explore fashion in a philosophical way at times.
Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)
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What are the effects of new technological innovations in the fashion industry, and are they already making way in our current fashion?

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

In this cold weather, you’ve worn layer upon layer of clothes yet still feel cold. Adding another coat to your pile doesn’t seem like a good idea, but freeze in the cold no more. Technological development has provided a gateway for fashion to infuse different devices into clothing. Which means attires and fabrics will now contain the ability to “adapt to temperature changes or store energy like a battery”. Although the concept of wearable tech is in its early stages, consumers have received it positively, and now designers and mass retailers are more encouraged to place wearable technology into their garments.

A decade ago, fashion designers initially denied the concept of having to combine technology with clothes. But they are now more open to the idea, seeing as the benefits of wearable technology are immense for any individual: heightens personal safety, keeps track of health, while also being connected to different devices. As a result, the production of clothes that contain certain technologies has increased as of late. Fashion designers are now collaborating with electrical engineers to produce clothes that are instilled with technology. Therefore indicating a new era of fashion and the way that clothes are created; rushing us into the fourth industrial revolution.

According to Kate Abnett, “a fourth industrial revolution – powered by a constellation of innovations across the physical, digital, and biological worlds, from 3D printing to artificial intelligence to advances in biomaterials – is driving a new wave of change in the economy” (Abnett, 2016). The issue with industrial revolutions is not only about new production, but also about the creation of new methods. In the case of fashion, that new method comes in the form of materials science and new manufacturing techniques.

Developments like biological design research (the adaptation of living cells to their environment), smart materials (reactive materials), and digital fabrication (machinery altering a digital design into an item) allowed designers and mass retailers to be able to alter the garments according to their own requirements. One can view it as a new type of invention, in which computing will be implanted within the fabrics that operate on a different scale (Helms et al., 2009). Accordingly, new materials like Shrilk (made from proteins of milk and unwanted shrimp shells), and Qmilch (thread made of sour milk), are also new developments in the industry that signify the importance of technological innovation.

One innovative Emirati abaya designer, Manal al-Hammadi already had a headstart on infusing technology into garments; producing a solar-power abaya, which is a part of her main line of abayas. The abaya is embedded with solar cells that generate power strong enough to charge mobiles. This product marks a milestone for the local fashion industry in Dubai, and certainly sets the bar for other fashion designers that will aspire to follow in Al-Hammadi’s footsteps.

Another well-known retailer, Levi Strauss & Co., has ventured into the production of cutting-edge wearable technology. The Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google trucker jacket is designed to access phones and listen to music while cycling, which caters to the specific wants of the target consumer.

It is a new way of interpreting the combination of technological design and fashion. The fourth industrial revolution solves recent occurring problems, such as the shortage of materials like leather and cashmere. All things considered, the industrial revolution has broken borders and is certainly taking the lead for change into the global economy.


H., A., & S. V. (2009). Biologically Inspired Design: Process and Products (10th ed., Vol. 30). Atlanta, Georgia: School of Interactive Computing

What is Culture? 10 Important Elements

Mariam Khalifa (@thesleepwriter)

Mariam Khalifa is a senior student at Zayed Univeristy, majoring in International Studies, and specializing in Culture and Society. Her hobbies include writing short stories, poems, and photography. She is interested in all topics relating to culture, society, art, and lifestyle.

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Culture contains many aspects; it is more than just art, music, or food. In fact, it influences who we are and how we live. Here we will discuss 10 important elements in relation to culture.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (twitter: @DanaAlAttar, instagram: @madewithlove.dxb)

What is culture? This question was probably the hardest one to answer in my undergrad’s Intro to Culture and Society class. Culture is not confined to what we read in books, magazines, or newspapers. It can include many elements, such as lifestyle, religion, literature or music, to name a few. The anthropologist E.B. Taylor defined culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” Therefore, almost any aspect of our lives could be considered as being guided by culture or is a culture in itself. Through this article, I would like to introduce 10 elements of culture that I believe are important for each person to know.


  1. It is socially constructed – it did not come into existence on its own; it has been and continues to be constructed by individuals and the society.
  1. It is constantly evolving– As people change and as the world develops, culture also changes with them, and some new cultures may be born, while others may die out.
  1. It influences the way we live our lives– Customs are considered norms (rules) of morality. Social norms and customs are the informal rules that govern the behavior of people within society, and these rules, are directly influenced by culture. If these rules are broken, this may lead to social exclusion or other consequences.
  1. It is what makes us different but also what makes us the same – as humans need to live in social groups to survive, culture is needed to bring these people together. At the same time, culture sets people apart from groups belonging to a different culture.
  1. It is influenced by religion– Religion unifies people and gives them a set of values and beliefs, which then influences the culture that comes into existence in their society. Sometimes, it is difficult to identify which part of culture is religious or cultural because of how closely linked they become. For example, as Muslims and Arabs, we often discuss matters that are “Haraam” (prohibited in Islam) or “Ayb” (forbidden in the Arab culture). Interestingly, we may sometimes call “Haraam” behavior “Ayb” and vice versa.
  1. It is introduced to us through enculturation– which refers to the process in which a person learns their group’s culture and social practices. This is achieved through first-hand experience, observation, and instruction by parents or other adults. For example, males are often expected to be strong and not to cry, they learn this by observing the behavior of other males around them.
  1. Culture can be a source of conflict– where differences in culture may cause conflict. Conflict can range from wars to segregation, discrimination, or exclusion. For example, people of color often face discrimination in some societies because of the deeply embedded view that being white makes one superior. Tolerance and respect of difference are seen as key solutions in resolving such conflicts.

Other important elements in regard to culture include:

  1. Cultural glasses – each person sees the world from their own perspective and view, this may cause us to see people from other cultures and their norms as “wrong”, while in reality they are just different. This may also be called ethnocentrism.
  1. Cultural relativism – the principle or concept that suggests that the values, beliefs, knowledge, and behavior of a people should be judged within their own cultural context and not according to the standards of another culture.
  1. Agency – the ability of an individual to make his or her own choices. These choices may be influenced or limited by culture but that does not mean that individuals do not have the agency to conform or go against cultural norms and customs.

I am sure that while reading this article, you thought of examples from your lives or ones that you know of about these concepts. Culture is a vast field with many complexities, and it influences our worldview and the way in which we live. I hope that you found this article informative.

A Book Review on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof holds a Master’s degree in Marketing and a Bachelor in English literature. Avid reader of classic literature, her preferred type of fiction, along with psychology and marketing. Skilled at drawing, created a comic book, not yet published. Dedicated her Instagram feed to bookish recommendations. Fond of language learning, taught herself Japanese. In her column Thoughts of a Reader she reviews books, writes short stories, and talks Marketing.
Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

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A book review on Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, published in 1866. Exploring the main themes in the book and how they dictated the lives of the protagonist and the other characters in the plot.

Picture by Shof ElMoisheer

Crime and Punishment is a widely known novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky, a giant in the Russian Literature, published in 1866. The book is not a crime novel; it is a novel in which a crime has happened. The difference in this book is that the focus is not on who did the crime, as the identity of the murderer is known from the start, so there is no figuring out who did it. This book is less about the crime and more about the punishment, as the prior happens in the first few chapters while the latter takes up the rest of the book.

Raskolnikov is the protagonist of the story, he is uniquely complex with his own brand of justice. His poverty makes him live in a small room, which the author keeps reminding us with through different imagery every time. He stopped attending college when he started following a deadly train of thought, which took shape in an article he wrote. He theorized that “…all men are divided into ‘ordinary’ and ‘extraordinary.’ Ordinary men have to live in submission, have no right to transgress the law, because, don’t you see, they are ordinary. But extraordinary men have a right to commit any crime and to transgress the law in any way, just because they are extraordinary…” (p. 225). With that, he committed a murder.

He killed an old pawnbroker with an ax and robbed her. He is not some psychopathic murderer; his conscience is eating him from within. Why did he do it then? Was it hunger, or is he simply insane? The enormity of what he had done sickened him. He fell into delirium right after it. It gets harder and harder for him to keep himself in check, especially that the inspector, Porfiry Petrovich, is on to him.

The story is narrated by a third person who knows the characters’ thoughts and feelings. Though, sometimes the reader hears Raskolnikov’s voice instead, as if this third person is pushed aside for a while. “Raskolnikov was hopelessly in debt to his land lady and was afraid of meeting her. That was not because he was cowardly and browbeaten, quite the contrary; but for sometime past he had been in an overstrained irritable condition.” (P. 1) There, for instance, the narrator sounded like a defensive Raskolnikov clarifying his actions. In the hot, crowded, and grimy streets of the city of St. Petersburg, Raskolnikov’s story crosses path with two other stories. The story of his sister, who got falsely slandered back in her hometown; and in an attempt to save her reputation, she agreed to be engaged to a man with questionable motives. There is also the story of Sonia, the daughter of the town’s drunkard who is pure-hearted and religious, yet she resorted to immoral conduct to support her family.

Poverty and Psychology are the overarching themes in this novel. The first is ever present throughout, all the characters live in poor conditions except for a few. In the early onset of Raskolnikov’s fever, he visited his old friend Razumikhin for the first time since he dropped out of college. Razumikhin sees the rough state his friend is in, assumes that it’s because of his poverty. He immediately offers Raskolnikov money, even though he doesn’t have much to begin with. Poverty allowed the author to show us the goodness of this character and continued to use it to show us different sides of different characters. Poverty drove this character’s isolation, that character’s self-sacrifice; destroyed the other family, and united another. Poverty is not an accessory to the story, it’s an essential part of it. Without it, there simply would not be a story to tell.

I find this book to be a legit reference on the psychology of a guilt-ridden murderer, an in-depth study in a story format. Raskolnikov’s internal struggle with guilt, fear, and uncertainty is the punishment I was referring to at the beginning of this review. Page after page you go chin deep in this killer’s mind, you start feeling sorry for him instead of his victim. Porfiry Petrovich takes up the role of an analyst, who explains to us the thinking of a murderer. He uses his expertise to mess with Raskolnikov all the while insisting that he is not suspecting him. Porfiry is such a brilliant oddball, he keeps Raskolnikov on his toes, exhausting him completely with his “conversations”.

I am on my fourth read of this one of a kind book, it’s a bit over 500 pages long, and I wish it was longer. Crime and Punishment changed my life, I started learning Russian so that one day I can read the book in the language it was originally written in. Ever since I first read it, I was set on a quest to find a better book. Until this day, nothing even came close. Though, I haven’t read all of Dostoevsky’s works yet. I may sound a tad obsessive, but one thing for sure, you will fall for this book from page one.

The Journeys of 2 Women in UAE’s STEM

Yaqoob AlShamsi (@yaqoobalshamsi)

Yaqoob AlShamsi (@yaqoobalshamsi)

Yaqoob is an Aerospace Engineer in Emirates Advanced Investments Group. He graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a BSc in Aerospace Engineering specializing in aeronautics and a BSc in Computational Mathematics specializing in physics. Also, he is currently completing his MSc in Information Security from Khalifa University and an MBA from Abu Dhabi University. Yaqoob is interested to write about science, technology, engineering, mathematics, art, culture, and community.
Yaqoob AlShamsi (@yaqoobalshamsi)

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Who are some of the women examples in STEM fields, and how rich are their experiences and their lessons?

Artwork by Hamda AlMansoori (instagram: @Planet64, twitter: @planetsixtyfour)

The small percentages of women in STEM fields have always been a concern by many (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), whether inside or outside the STEM fields, especially with the fact that their percentages are high when it comes to being students in STEM. In this article, we’ll explore an example of two women who are STEM Ph.D. students in the UAE, to understand their journeys better.

The first example is Sohailah Al Yammahi [1], a Ph.D. student in Khalifa University (KU), who believes that defining the goal is more important than having a limitless. She quoted the words of the motivational speaker Denis Waitley: “The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable.” Al Yammahi won many awards, and she published articles and studies covering many aspects of STEM education, as well as in her own major of Computer Engineering (BSc & MSc), these published researches contributed to raising the quality and number of research in KU.

Sohaila Al Yammahi

One of Al Yammahi’s researches was a study of a multi-dimensional educational system to optimize a STEM education strategy. This meant that she will have to lead a learning process to study a field in science called System Dynamics. Al Yammahi was tasked to be the first to lead the field of System Dynamics in the UAE. Therefore, by accomplishing that task, one could say that Al Yammahi contributed to the shaping of STEM education strategy in the UAE. It was through this study that Al Yammahi found that “the policy decisions and initiatives should be made to focus on, and increase the four factors- teachers’ capability, curricula quality, parents and society’s influences on students. These have the greatest impact on increasing the number of STEM students and the quality of STEM education in the UAE public school system.” [1]

The second example is an aerospace engineer who started her Ph.D. recently, Suaad Al Shamsi [2]. She worked as a Maintenance Consultant and now a Technical Advisor, she has been influential in her field. By carrying the title of first female aerospace engineer in the UAE (in addition to a BSc & MSc in Aviation Management). Al Shamsi was able to lead contributions in STEM when she became a founder of Women in Aviation (Middle East), a society that Al Shamsi is widely known and respected by. Therefore, it is due to her contribution that many female aerospace engineers in the UAE were familiarized with the major. Moreover, it did not stop there, Al Shamsi recently published a novel titled “Iris Flower”, and some may argue that it is a step towards STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics). However the case may be, Al Shamsi continues to promote her field to other women, with pride.

Suaad Al Shamsi

By asking both women on how they felt their institutions – that they studied and worked in- encouraged them, they both responded that the institutions helped them and pushed them towards a challenging environment.

To Al Yammahi, the institution was KU. As she describes it to have “facilitated the research journey, helped with accessing required data sources, and cooperated with them in projects through developing applications that add innovation and novelty to serve their current work.” On the other hand, to Al Shamsi, it was a UAE national airline (Emirates) that helped her obtain experience from companies like Bugatti, Honeywell, Airbus, and Boeing.

Even though focusing on the goal seemed as if it is a road filled with obstacles, varying from driving long distances from home, or move to another country to pursue a major that was dominated by men, both did quite well to overcome those obstacles. Also, it is worth nothing that both female engineers are influenced by the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai.

Therefore, it can be noted that the government’s leadership plays a vital role in empowering women in STEM fields. Another factor is the influence of other women in STEM, women who are still perusing it. Those women are considered a continuous motivation for more women to join STEM careers and further education.

In conclusion, in every process or experiment in science, discussions on the results are necessary. What should be considered as necessary is that women like Al Yammahi and Al Shamsi should be a subject of study while creating a STEM strategy, because creating a newer strategy without consulting them might not lead to increasing the number of women in STEM fields, whether as careers or further studies. The society should not be stone-minded in repeating the same steps and expecting different results. We need to start eliminating all the difficulties that women can face in pursuing lives in STEM, because delaying them is considered as if the entire fields of STEM are being delayed as well.


[1] Al Yammahi, Sohailah. Independent Questioner on How Women Are Shaping STEM Education. November 6th, 2016. Print.

[2] Al Shamsi, Suaad. Independent Questioner on How Women Are Shaping STEM Education. November 8th, 2016. Print.

Power in Numbers, The Car Plates Craze!

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Column Name: The Words Within
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.
Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

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Exploring people’s fascination with fancy car plate numbers and how far they would go to attain these.

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

In October 2016, an Indian businessman based in Dubai made headlines as he spent AED 33,000,000 (approximately $9,000,000) as the highest bidder for the “D 5” car plate at an auction hosted by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). While not entirely new, this trend of owning unique plate numbers is quickly catching on, and such auctions are becoming a regular affair. RTA hosts auctions every alternate month, in addition to having online ones, where people spend time and money in bidding.

This is no longer just a pastime hobby, it is also an investment opportunity, as people can sell these car plates later at higher prices. Such investors have to study and understand the different numbers and sequences available to know which ones would yield the highest profit. For example, triple zeroes on a five digit number plate are known to have exponential value over any other triple number also on a five-digit plate. These can be viewed and analyzed by logging into the RTA website who have set a benchmark for number plate pricing. RTA has also banked on this new demand by developing an advertisement campaign with the slogan, “Plate Your Special Date”, taking advantage of people’s sentiments and needs to hold onto important dates in their lives such as birthdays, anniversaries, and so on.

Owning unique plate numbers has become a factor in being considered amongst the elite in the country. Smaller digits equate to higher importance, prestige, and sometimes power. These individuals may be treated differently or given more respect on the roads and at hotel valet services, where they tend to get additional privileges of best parking spots and quicker car retrieval service. These days, it is no longer enough to be driving a fancy car if it is not accompanied by a fancy number to go with it. It’s almost as though the value of a car, no matter how high end, is not appreciated unless the driver also invests in a unique number that sets it apart from others on the road.

The UAE holds the highest records of the most expensive car plates, and although it may seem that this is another trend for being known as the best and flashiest, it is not the only part of the world that has given into the car plate number fascination. Some examples of outrageously expensive numbers come from the UK, where one business tycoon spent £440,000 (approximately AED 2,000,000) on the car plate: “F1”, making it the most expensive car plate number sold in the UK. Another example is “M1” which was sold for £330,000 (approximately AED 1,500,000) to a man who reportedly bought it for his son’s sixth birthday!

While the thought of dishing out millions for a piece of metal that is meant to serve as a car registration only may seem outlandish, one consolation is that a lot of the money raised at these RTA auctions are donated to various charities. One example is an auction that was held earlier this year, where more than AED 40,000,000 were raised, and all proceedings went towards the Reading Nation Campaign launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. These funds allowed for the provision of over 7 million books to refugee camps and underprivileged children in schools around the world.

While the highest bidder at this charity auction may have been in search of an investment opportunity, personal glory, or simply, giving into a passion of collecting car plate numbers, the silver lining is that at least the money spent on doing so has been for a good cause. Whether that person has given any consideration into where his money has gone is not as important, as long as those in need have somewhat benefited from it and are given some glimmer of hope in their world. Shelling out millions on materialistic goods may not be an ideal way of living, but if this is what our world has come to, then we have to hold onto the belief that there is still some good that can come out of it.


Gulf News (21 June 2016). “More than 40 million raised in charity auction for Reading Nation”.

Demon Plates. “The Most Expensive Number Plates in the World….Ever!”.

Shafaat Shahbandari, Gulf News (9 October 2016). “Dubai number plate auction fetches Dh.66.68m”.

7DAYS (16 November 2015). “Dubai car fanatics spend big at exclusive number plate auction”.

Shuchita Kapur, Emirates24/7 (11 February 2013). “ARABS car plate on auction in UAE… for a starting amount of £250,000”.

5 Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

Mariam Khalifa (@thesleepwriter)

Mariam Khalifa is a senior student at Zayed Univeristy, majoring in International Studies, and specializing in Culture and Society. Her hobbies include writing short stories, poems, and photography. She is interested in all topics relating to culture, society, art, and lifestyle.

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With the urbanization and the fast-paced lifestyles that we live today, we often forget to spend time in nature, as we are too busy spending it indoors. Here are 5 benefits of spending time in nature.

Artwork by Farah Al Balooshi (Instagram: @SenoritaFarah, Twitter: @FarahAlBalooshi)

Nature for me has always been a place to relax in, a place to forget about the stress and worries of life, and a source of fascination. I love nature. That may sound corny to some of you, but honestly, nature is unconditionally beautiful; it is God’s gift to us on earth. As John Muir, an American environmentalist once said “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

As a child, our family outings would often consist of camping in the desert, or swimming and fishing in the sea. We were taught to enjoy nature and the outdoors, and to be careful not to litter or harm the natural environment. At our grandparent’s house, we established a tradition of spending the late afternoon in the garden. My grandmother would often complain if we didn’t; it would feel like there is something wrong or missing if we didn’t get our daily dose of nature.

I would like to encourage you to spend more time in nature; it could be for a few minutes or longer depending on your schedule; just find the time for it. These days, we are so engrossed in our lives, whether it’s in our studies or work, or with other responsibilities, that we often forget to stop and catch our breath. It has become all about working harder, being more efficient, and competing to be better. Therefore, I think nature is perfect for reminding us that life is continuous, and that it would not hurt to take a short break along the way.

Here are 5 benefits of spending time in nature:

  1. It’s good for your physical health. According to an article published by the University of Minnesota, being exposed to nature reduces your blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate, and stress hormones. Being exposed to nature could be by physically going out into the natural environment, or by bringing nature into the indoor environment through having houseplants.
  1. It’s also good for your mental health. Spending too much time indoors has become normal these days, but it often leads to stress and mental fatigue, which can be greatly improved by being exposed to nature. According to a study done by Pearson and Craig (2014), they found that there is a correlation between the exposure to nature and both short-term and long-term mental health benefits. There is something about being in nature that makes all your worries and stress seem insignificant, even if momentarily.
  1. It improves your focus and sharpens your mind. As a university student, I always like to take a walk or sit outdoors while on campus. It gives me a break from studying and helps me get more focused. Research done by Dr. Nancy Wells, an environmental psychologist at Cornell University suggests that when in nature, the human mind can rest because it does not need to block any noise or distractions. In turn, this improves focus and refreshes the mind.
  1. It can be an amazing creativity and energy booster because it allows you to get out of your “box” (being indoors). This makes you focus on the environment around you and look at things from a different perspective. The sights, the noises, and smells that you encounter stimulate your senses, which changes your mood.
  1. It gives you a chance to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with yourself and with the real world beyond screens and the Internet. We spend too many hours connected to the cyber world that we have come to forget what it’s like to live without it.

So why not try and spend time in nature?


Trapped in a Nightmare – How to Start Tidying Up?

Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Head of Creative Team at Sail Magazine
Head of Creative Team
Dana is a young Emirati artist and has graduated from Zayed University in Dubai with a bachelor’s degree in Art and Design, as a graphic designer. Her passion for designing, event planning, and photography have helped her explore design in various ways. Art for her is creation, innovation, and inspiration. It is not only about creating something that is beautiful, but also having a story and meaning behind the creation itself.

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Do we all clutter and suffer in tidying up our homes? Why does it happen and how can we get ourselves out of it?

Artwork by Hamda AlMansoori (instagram: @Planet64, twitter: @planetsixtyfour)

No sign of an exit; the lost key was the cause.

No sign of an exit; the lost key was the cause.

Standing there hopeless; trapped in a room I was.

Confused in all the chaos; the clutter was one of the many flaws.

It felt like the tape recorder was stuck, it was replaying the same nightmare over & over again. Have you experienced standing in your own house feeling like a stranger? I would most definitely not be calling it a home. A home is made with love and care, on the other hand, this space that I am standing on right now is made out of clutter & mess.

Go ahead for a minute close your eyes and describe what would your “picture perfect home” be like? Are socks missing their twin? Piles of clothes higher than the skyscraper? Tripping over kids toys as though you are in an obstacle course? Wasting precious hours to find that one item that means something to you, but it is lost in a jungle of objects that you no longer value, need, or want? I am sure that is not what you visualized, and I assure you that most people would not choose this style of living.

The problem might lie within us, when we see the space filled up with stuff we tend to freeze. Instead of tidying up we tend to tuck things away, hide them under the bed, or even try to stuff them in a closet that is already about to burst.

As an easy way out, we come up with excuses or even start saying “There are not enough hours in a day to do so much.” The hours in a day have not changed nor will it change, it has always been 24 hours. Life has become much easier nowadays; we have cars for mobility, cell phones to call our loved ones, and with a click of a button we can get what we need. Imagine how much extra time that gives us in comparison to those who lived in the past.

No individual is perfect, we all have strengths and weaknesses. For us to improve & grow we must first understand ourselves & identify the core reason of being trapped in this chaos.

People will suggest various ways of de-cluttering, organizing, and cleaning up. It is essential for us to understand what method suits us best and what can keep us motivated. Motivation is an essential foundation in this process, and it is the first aspect I seek before starting the actual process. Here are some examples where I usually derive my motivation from:

  • Homemaking books, such as, “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo & “How to be the Perfect Housewife” by Anthea Turner. Each book demonstrates various ways that can assist you in this journey.
  • Watching TV shows and Youtube tutorials that present the before and after of chaotic homes. By watching these, we are reminded that we aren’t the only ones facing this issue. Many people live in far more chaos and were able to achieve their goals in a limited time by staying focused and having a target.
  • Browsing through websites, such as, Pinterest and saving images that would present your dream space. To take it a step further, go ahead and print few images and create a mood board.

Let us get rid of this accumulated clutter. Let us utilize precious time to create change in our lives. Let us take a journey of tidying up & create a new chapter of a happily ever home.

“Unclutter your life. Unclutter your home. We feel best when everything and everyone around us is in harmony and in balance. The peace and the beauty of your home will raise you up, and give energy to your goals.” – Eileen Anglin

The Combination of Taboo Advertising with Humor

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof holds a Master’s degree in Marketing and a Bachelor in English literature. Avid reader of classic literature, her preferred type of fiction, along with psychology and marketing. Skilled at drawing, created a comic book, not yet published. Dedicated her Instagram feed to bookish recommendations. Fond of language learning, taught herself Japanese. In her column Thoughts of a Reader she reviews books, writes short stories, and talks Marketing.
Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

The use of humor in ads and how it’s necessary in taboo advertising.

We are exposed to thousands of advertisement messages a day. It has been documented that our attention to advertisements is declining due to clutter. To remedy the situation, some marketers resorted to the use of humor in their advertisements to stand out and win our attention. Humor helps in increasing advertising performance; research shows that it can affect memorability, persuasiveness, and consumer attention. In addition to using humor, some advertisers kicked it up a notch and dared to add the shock element of the taboo, arresting our attention so completely in an instant. But keeping it long enough can be tricky.

Research shows that the effectiveness of an ad increases when humor is integrated. When the consumer sees a humorous ad, the joke in it elicits a positive attitude that gets associated with the product. When a customer is trying to recall a product’s name that he/she saw in a humorous ad, the humor should help. It all depends on how successfully executed it was. The humor has to be relevant to the product, for example, if the joke used in the ad rhymes with the product’s name it can boost our recall of that product. Otherwise, if the humor used was unrelated to the product or is too distracting, the humor content will be remembered while the information content less so (Krishnan, H., & Chakravarti, D. 2003).

The use of humor also generates favorable attitudes toward the brand and product simply by association. Research in consumer behavior proved that the positive attitude evoked by humor in an ad goes beyond the ad to the brand, through the transfer of effect (Hwiman, C., & Xinshu, Z. 2003). If the viewer enjoyed the humor in the ad, that fondness would exceed the product to the brand. The brand or product when spotted will trigger that same positive attitude elicited by that humorous content.

It is recommended, however, that humor should only be used for low involvement products. As in products that are low in risk, such as soft drinks, or clothes. These are more frequent purchases that do not cost a lot of money, hence, does not pose a risk if the consumer regretted the purchase later. Using humor with high involvement products, such as a computer or a car, can backfire. With these types of high-risk purchases, consumers spend a lot of time researching and thinking before taking out their wallet. An ad that makes them laugh does not help them decide; they want an ad that presents them with information that they need (Gulas , C. S., & Weinberger , M. G. 2006).

A taboo is a product of culture and society that embodies what is normally prohibited within a group. Taboo advertising is a strategy that deliberately violates social taboos to attract attention and increase recall of the ad. Taboo advertising has the potential of taking a wrong turn and doing more harm than good to the brand; however, if executed correctly, the benefits of the ad would exceed that of a normal ad. Despite the risk that comes with it, taboo advertising is commonly seen wrapped in humor packaging.

A study examined the level of attention and recall compared to the level of taboo used. Taboo and humor were used in various levels of extremes to 180 respondents. Findings show that in regards to attention and recall, an extreme level of taboo equals optimum achievement. Advertisers nowadays feel obliged more than ever to resort to taboos in their advertising to stand out in this unprecedented clutter of advertisements (Sabri, O. 2012).

Taboo in advertising has to be paired with humor. Otherwise, the taboo might trigger revulsion and drive consumers’ attention away. This is particularly true with advertisements of optimum levels of taboo, as they are more likely to be repressed. Humor is necessary to counter the damaging side effect of the taboo, taboo alone capture the attention but does not keep it long enough (Sabri, O. 2012). It is more like teamwork, taboo captures our attention and humor keeps it.

Using taboo in an advertisement serves as a pulling effect so strong it dims the noise of the clutter of ads. However, advertisers should be careful not to offend audiences, or risk damaging the image of the brand. Also, it should be taken into consideration that consumers’ needs and preexisting attitudes contribute to the success of the ad or lack of (Sparks, J., & Lang, A. 2009). If the consumers targeted simply have no need for the product, the ad with all its humorous glory would be a flop.

The following are real examples of humorous taboo advertising.

‘What’s the difference between Adolf Hitler and Charlie Chaplin?’ Hut Weber Hats

‘A German (woman) for every Saudi’ Volkswagen, Saudi Arabia.


  • Gulas , C. S., & Weinberger , M. G. (2006). Humor in Advertising: A Comprehensive Analysis. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe.
  • Hwiman, C., & Xinshu, Z. (2003). Humour effect on memory and attitude: moderating role of product involvement. International Journal Of Advertising, 22(1), 117-144.
  • Krishnan, H., & Chakravarti, D. (2003). A Process Analysis of the Effects of Humorous Advertising Executions on Brand Claims Memory. Journal Of Consumer Psychology (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), 13(3), 230.
  • Sabri, O. (2012). Taboo Advertising: Can Humor Help to Attract Attention and Enhance Recall?. Journal Of Marketing Theory & Practice, 20(4), 407-422.
  • Sparks, J., & Lang, A. (2009). Examining the Influence of Emotional, Sexy, and Humorous Content on Motivated Cognitive Processing of Television Advertisements. Conference Papers — International Communication Association, 1-39.

Book Review: The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

Alia Al Shamsi (@aliaalshamsi)

Emarati Author and Photographer from Dubai. After receiving a BA in Photography from Griffith University she worked as a photojournalist for local newspapers covering regional and international news. In 2008 she gained a MA in Photo-Image from Durham University and has lectured photography as an adjunct at the American University of Sharjah. Her photography has been exhibited internationally and holds awards including: EDAAD Scholarship 2007, British Council Cultural Leadership International 2010 and 2011 Emirates Woman Artist of the Year.
Al Shamsi’s recently published book Alayah by Sail Publishinghas been awarded the support from Dubai Culture part of their printing and publishing movement “Reading in Arabic Challenge”.

Latest posts by Alia Al Shamsi (@aliaalshamsi) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What is love, and does change according to our surroundings and on the decade we’re in? or is a book that was written 50 years ago about love still applicable in our day and age? Exploring the ins and outs of Erich Fromm’s book The Art of Loving.

The Art of Loving front cover – Picture by Alia Al Shamsi

The Art of Loving, written 50 years ago, by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm remains strong and ever more relevant to today’s world. Breaking out of the traditional Freudian psychoanalysis, Fromm moves away from the patriarchal perspective and forms an approach based on the belief that feminine and masculine exist in one another.

It must be noted, that this book comes with a warning: this book is not about how to find love, far from it. It is a book to understand love.

The journey commences with the retelling of the story of Adam and Eve and their fall from Paradise. That once having eaten from the tree of knowledge, their genitals were exposed. What Fromm explains is that they were not ashamed of one another, the shock was, in fact, the self-realization of their separation through the difference in their bodies/sex. Thus, this begins the need to connect to find union with one another, to escape this sense of disconnectedness and separation. Fromm views love as the answer to human existence.

Fromm then moves on to the shift in traditions from an arranged marriage, one where love was viewed as something attained after marriage, to the now where relationships first start with love and then subsequently end with marriage.

He also highlights the falling in love and how quickly that extinguishes itself as fast as it lit up, which solely reflects our deepest sense of loneliness. The very act of falling in love is objectified rather than seen as an act one must dedicate himself towards.

In today’s world, we are socially disconnected. Our crave for love has increased alongside consumerism, where we seek love like a commodity, an object to purchase. We are drawn to window displays as we are drawn to the product. Similarly, we view ourselves as a package certified by society as a socially acceptable good, and in return, we look for a partner who is equally acceptable to find in the togetherness a love that will compliment a luxurious lifestyle.

“Modern man has transformed himself into a commodity; he experiences his life energy as an investment with which he should make the highest profit, considering his position and the situation on the personality market. He is alienated from himself, from his fellow men and from nature. His main aim is profitable exchange of his skills, knowledge, and of himself, his ‘personality package’ with others who are equally intent on a fair and profitable exchange. Life has no goal except the one to move, no principle except the one of fair exchange, no satisfaction except the one to consume.”

So, how should one view love? As a subject that needs to be studied, experienced and practiced just as any academic subject. Fromm divides the book into three parts: Theory of Love, Love and its Disintegration in Contemporary Western Society, and The Practice of Love.

The first part illustrates a fundamental relationship between the parents’ roles and the child development. It makes clear distinctions between concepts of selfishness and self-love. Rightly so, because how can one love thy neighbor as much as thyself, if he is incapable of loving himself?

Above all, the book sends a clear message on love:

“Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an ordination of character which determines the relatedness of the person to the whole world as a whole, not toward one object of love.” ― Erich Fromm

The book is academic in its style, yet it is capable of appealing to an audience with a basic understanding and interest in psychology. It works as a self-help book without actually being labeled that. The book gives sound arguments, and it illustrates the scenarios to help the reader better understand the concepts. It’s a refreshingly optimistic perspective on humanity, which is a much-needed read in our current time.

Interview with Abdullah Al Mulla, Co-Owner of @Home_Bakery

Mariam Khalifa (@thesleepwriter)

Mariam Khalifa is a senior student at Zayed Univeristy, majoring in International Studies, and specializing in Culture and Society. Her hobbies include writing short stories, poems, and photography. She is interested in all topics relating to culture, society, art, and lifestyle.

Latest posts by Mariam Khalifa (@thesleepwriter) (see all)

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Interview in brief: Abdullah Al Mulla, the co-founder of Home Bakery, tells us about the development of Home Bakery from a home business into a successful cafe, and his experience with managing an F&B business. Read on to know more about Abdullah and Home Bakery café.

Home Bakery’s co-owner Abdulla Al Mulla in one of the events participated in

Sail: Tell us about the beginnings of Home Bakery; how was the volume of demand and how manageable from home was it?

Abdullah: When Home Bakery started from the house, my sister (Hind) managed everything by herself. She started off with the cookies; the “mini chewy melts”. She baked them as a hobby and then sent them to my majlis & the family house. When people started regularly asking for the cookies, I suggested to her to open a Twitter account so that they can order directly from her. She began with just cookies then moved to cakes, brownies, and so on.

The volume of orders started increasing, my sister and her maid couldn’t cope with the orders. The house driver was standing every day at Mercato from 4 to 6 pm for order pickups. My father suggested expanding the business, so we rented a villa in Jumeirah as Home Bakery’s kitchen, and we got two extra staff just to help my sister with the baking. From there the menu started growing, but the team remained the same. The team of Home Bakery at the outset was my sister, one of our maids and our driver.

Sail: What made you move from being a home business to opening the cafe?

Abdullah: The orders, it was too much for a house kitchen to handle so my father suggested that we open a full-fledged coffee shop; he would finance it, while my siblings and I would own & run it. So we are two brothers and two sisters who own Home Bakery. My sister (Hind) does all the creation and menu side, and I do all operation work and management, and the other two siblings are silent partners.

Sail: And how did you split the roles and tasks between Hind and yourself?

Abdullah: Hind handles the creation side and the kitchen, while I manage the operation and management sides. To manage the baker you can’t have two bosses in the same department, so each one handles their work, and we would just do follow-ups with each other.

Home Bakery’s Front – Picture taken by Mariam Khalifa

Sail: Does your relationship as siblings impact your relationship as business partners?

Abdullah: When it comes to work, we don’t talk about it in the house. If we want to talk about work, we schedule a meeting, sit down and talk, if not in the office then we go sit down in the other hall at home for an hour, but it’s never where everyone is sitting.

Sail: What was the most challenging aspect of opening and operating the cafe?

Abdullah: The most challenging part was that I didn’t have any F&B (Food & Beverage) business experience; I studied law. My sister studied graphic design, but baking was a passion for her. I needed to learn the business side of operating an F&B concept. My friends helped; I have a few friends who own F&B franchise chains, so I sat down with their operating managers. The hardest thing was to have every customer leave the place satisfied, and having the employees understand that every customer has different needs and tastes.

Sail: You started with just dessert, but now, you have expanded your dessert menu and added breakfast too. What pushed you to expand your menu and what challenges did you face in the process?

Abdullah: When we opened the cafe, the first thing we had to think about was how to attract people to dine in the café and not just order for takeaway. We developed the a la carte menu, which is only served in the bakery.

I wanted the bakery to be a place where people would come in and see it busy, so offering desserts only wouldn’t have worked. In the mornings what will you serve? You can’t expect someone to wake up in the morning and have a chocolate cake. So I decided to add the breakfast menu along with the desserts. Our menu is small and we change it often so people would get excited to come & visit again.

Home Bakery’s Cakes Display – Picture taken by Mariam Khalifa

Sail: Youre known to be often present in the cafe: why? And how do you think this may have contributed to the success of Home Bakery?

Abdullah: I was present at first to get people to come, but now just to see how the team manages without me being there all the time. I tell my team: “I am not here as the boss, I am here as a customer. I want to see how you guys work.” I go every morning to have my breakfast; it’s been two years straight now. And I go in the afternoon or evening as well to see the night crowd, their likes, dislikes, and what annoys people when it comes to being serving.

On the second day that we opened, I started working as a waiter. It wasn’t planned, but it was busy, so I put on an apron & started helping out. I found myself doing it for two months, from 7 am to 12:30 am or 1 am. I washed dishes; I mopped the floor, picked up food, etc. It was the hardest thing I did in my life, but doing that is what taught me the essence of running the café.

Sail: If you were to start this business all over again, what would you do differently?

I don’t know if I would change anything. If I didn’t make all the mistakes I did, I wouldn’t be running it the way I am doing now. The first six months were a disaster; the supply chain was wrong; I did not know how to order ahead or how to serve a customer. All of these small mistakes helped me make it what it is today. Also, I am always open to comments from people. Being open to what people tell you will make them feel like this (Home Bakery) is their place. People used to ask me why I would work as a waiter, but I took it seriously because this was my business, and then the achievements would speak for themselves.

Sail: What is your plan for Home Bakerys future?

Abdullah: Two locations are opening up soon, one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi.

Sail: What are your tips for young Emiratis who are hoping to set up their businesses?

Abdullah: Work in every department. You have to have the passion, not money. If you have the money to open a business, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll succeed. You need to have the passion for opening a business, and the money will flow later. If you think of cost cutting and reducing your quality to increase your profits, you might do well the first year and then the business will die out. Never compromise quality for the profit.