UAE | General

Dubai shopping malls urge visitors to dress modestly

Many visitors still do not know dress code policy in Dubai malls

  • By Mary Achkhanian, Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 21:00 July 12, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
  • Respectful clothing is urged by residents and visitors more so in Ramadan.

Dubai: Shopping malls in Dubai have once again urged people to abide by the dress code policy especially during Ramadan, as many visitors remain unaware of the cultural sensitivities of the country.

Malls like The Dubai Mall, the Mall of the Emirates, the City Centre and many others already have put up signboards, flyers, and even LCD screens in a bid to remind people of the mall’s courtesy policies during Ramadan.

Recently, a couple of mall’s guest service representatives and security stuff began handing out visitors entering the mall the flyers with aims of making sure everyone is aware of the mall’s policies and their importance particularly during Ramadan.

According to the Dubai Mall spokesperson in a statement issued to Gulf News, “Most of our visitors are aware of the dress code policy. But given that the city hosts visitors from around the world – some of them not aware of the cultural sensitivities of the country – we take extra care in highlighting the mall’s courtesy policy for the benefit of all.”

But to many, this is not enough, as they believe there are still people walking around the malls during Ramadan with inappropriate clothing and that this could bother the people fasting.

Khalid Shaheen, a Dubai-based Syrian resident who works in the mall said: “It is important to have those policies enforced throughout the whole year, but in Ramadan it becomes even more important.”

“I can still see tourists walking around wearing skimpy clothing, and this might be because they are not aware of the rules or the policies,” Shaheen added.

Bayan Al Sutari, a Jordanian resident also echoed a similar opinion, “People do not abide by those courtesy policies very well. Ramadan is a month of worshiping to Muslims and everyone should be clearly aware that any inappropriate clothing can cause disrespect to those fasting.”

According to mall’s dress code, respectful clothing amounts to knees and shoulders being covered, but this can be hard to apply on visitors new to the country.

Many tourists coming from western countries are not aware that malls may have dress code policies and as a result, they might end up visiting the mall wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts unaware that this may disturb the people fasting.

Sonia, a tourist from Slovenia, said “All I was told was that we are not allowed to eat, smoke, or chew gum in public during this month.” She also added that it was her first time in Dubai and that she never heard about such a policy before.

A couple of mall visitors, who are Dubai residents, recommended other ways of approaching this matter and suggested different ways to aware tourists and others of the social and cultural morals of the UAE.

Lauren, a British residing in Dubai, said she thinks there should be more than one way of informing people of the mall’s dress code policies “maybe like a big page article in the newspaper because the signs they have are not eye catching.”

On the other hand Sarah from the Philippines, who works at Souq Al Bahar suggested something different. “There should be signs put at the metro stations where people will certainly take a glance and be aware of the exact dress code at malls,” she said.

“I have seen securities pass leaflets to visitors right at the door, but I still had one tourist last time asking me whether her cloths were appropriate enough or not, and then I told her it was okay.”

Mary Achkhanian is an intern at Gulf News

Comments (13)

  1. Added 17:19 July 13, 2013

    Indeed this needs to be looked into not only in the mall even in the metro, its so pathetic that even though many of them know the rules of the country still over ruling it.. inappropriate clothing isn't pleasant some decency had to be carried as many are fasting and nevertheless they should remember it has to be respected. if this country fines for chewing gum on the metro.. this also has to fined to that they would obey the rules as there pockets are plundered

    mariam, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:14 July 13, 2013

    The difficulty is over interpretation of the word "Appropriate" as this can mean different standards in different countries (and indeed in certain situations, different things for different times of day) - many people would not be clear on exactly what is expected.

    Chris, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 17:11 July 13, 2013

    If it is forbidden to dress such cloths why they sell them in mall stores at 1st place!!

    yonas, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 16:37 July 13, 2013

    The fact is there will always be something to attract the eye whether people are covered up or not. Ramadan is month where the muslim should strive against their self and lowering the gaze is a part of that struggle. A lot of the time people should not be looking and so should not really be bothered if someone is covered properly or not. Here in London we fast and like today is one of the hottest days of the year so far so obviously people wear hardly any clothes but it doesn't bother us because we shouldn't be looking at them anyway.

    Rauffy, London, United Kingdom

  5. Added 14:20 July 13, 2013

    Would there be any benefit of such campaigns? most people are headstrong about such campaigns as they know that there would be no consequences. Without any legal consequences, such measures cannot be enforced. We all respect the need for people to wear skirts / shorts / sleeveless tops etc. But it would be mutually beneficial for UAE residents - only if the lengths of shorts and skirts could be increased a bit so that at-least thighs, tummy and shoulders are covered. I am sure that we can still stay and look cool.

    Ahmad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 14:17 July 13, 2013

    Well, those signs were there even before Ramadan but still no one followed those rules. I personally think that there should be a more serious action regarding respectful clothes and inappropriate behaviour in public!

    mm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 13:21 July 13, 2013

    Only teacher can solve the problem, because they have a subject GMRC (good manners and right conduct) which include Code of ethics. This subject will teach them to the student and the student will pass this to their relatives, neighbours and friends. It is applicable for life not only for Ramadan days.

    Hogo, Sharjah, Philippines

  8. Added 12:57 July 13, 2013

    it is not a problem for those in fasting,first of all every one heart should be clear not the dress code.what ever it may be.

    sameer, Doha, Algeria

  9. Added 12:00 July 13, 2013

    I think airlines should also be a part of educating their passengers on the relevant codes by passing on flyers/ making relevant announcements, etc. And the immigration check-points too can help in conveying some guidelines when visitors arrive into the country. After all, it's not just about eating/drinking/smoking during Ramadan, it is also cultural sensitivity and appropriateness throughout the year.

    Luvena, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 11:59 July 13, 2013

    While I can understand the problem with people visiting UAE for the first time not knowing the dress rule in UAE, I think expats resident in UAE, not following the code more rigorously. Many times the scuffles and disputes reported are between residents and not between tourists. For a better understanding, please spend a day in the nearest immigration centre and you will understand what I mean. If the authorities are serious on the dress rule, they need to do something concrete in terms of fines or penalties for everyone and not simply blame tourists.

    Ayesha Butt, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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