The popularity of Thobe, ghutra and igal as fashion fan trend during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has shifted to a traditional Arab cloak called ‘bisht’, making it the most-sought after item in Doha after the award ceremony of mega sporting event.
Argentina's captain Lionel Messi received the bisht from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in a gesture widely viewed as a symbol of respect and great honour for the legendary footballer.
Bala, a seller of traditional Arab dresses at Souq Waqif, told Gulf Times that he witnessed a demand surge of bisht right after the closing ceremony of the tournament. "Thankfully, we had enough stock," he said.
A large number of Argentinian supporters, as well as Brazilian football fans, rushed to Souq Waqif shops and bought the traditional cloak (bisht).
Prizes range between QR70 and QR1,500, depending on the quality, design and material, while the high-end items could reach $2,500 or even more, according to Bala.
He noted that the machine-made designs are cheaper compared to the handmade ones, which are mostly made in India.
“We have different colours of bisht but fans only want the black, similar to the one worn by Messi on stage. They wear it right away and many requested me to take a picture of them,” Bala said, adding that some customers bought more than one piece.
“An Argentinian told me that he will be giving the bishts, besides other traditional Arab wearables such as the thobe, ghutra and igal, to his family, relatives, and friends as gifts and souvenirs,” Bala said.
Wearing of traditional Arab clothes, in addition to jerseys, large flags, and other World Cup-themed wearables, became immensely popular during the tournament. Such a trend continued throughout the World Cup and until the finals until the bisht burst on to the centrestage.
This was echoed by Sabith, also a seller of different Arab dresses and items at Souq Waqif, saying that he continues to receive many inquiries about bisht from foreign visitors who stayed longer in the country.
“Many football fans purchased bisht but before that, it’s the thobe, along with ghutra, and igal, which were really in high demand, especially for those heading to the stadiums,” he added.
Bala showing a black bisht, similar to the one worn by Messi during the awarding ceremony.
Black and white bishts on display at Faris Abdul Wahab Al Hawaj store at Souq Waqif.
Souq Waqif shops witnessed a hige demand for guthra throughout the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. PICTURES: Joey Aguilar