Dubai has recently been referred to as the capital of fashion in the Arab world. A well-deserved attribution considering that Chanel ’s latest cruise collection took place in one of the most prominent of the seven Arab Emirates. The background behind this success has been based on an overall vision for Dubai to be the epicentre of major sectors in the Middle East including fashion and design. The evolution that is being witnessed is shifting the Arab world from being the mere receptor of luxury brands from conglomerates to being a hub and creation space for fashion and luxury, therefore here there is an overview from key points any fashion marketer should be aware from the most populous city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates.
1.Dubai is the host of major fashion brands and home to the largest retail shopping Mall in the world
The retail arena is particularly interesting to study considering that Dubai is the host of major fashion brands and home to the largest retail shopping Mall in the world. According to David Macadam, CEO and vice-chairman of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres, this retail growth will not halt anytime soon: “In the coming years, Dubai is expected to have more brands than any other city in the world topping London.” The overall governmental strategy to encourage tourism as well as foreign and local spending sets the hopes high in terms of optimism to expand the retail business. Therefore not only new retail spaces are making their reappearance but also existing outlets are further expanding based on the positive expected outlook. The most notable area to focus upon aside from the expansion and entry of international renowned brand names from all over the world, is the trend of emerging multi-brand stores which feature not only black labels but also include in their collections a selection of new emerging designers. Concept stores, which offer a new combination of art lifestyle and fashion, are a favourite destination for many segments of the market, which enjoy the process of being introduced to new styles curated by trend connoisseurs in the industry.
Cartel for instance is an art gallery combined with a boutique, which includes local and international brands and new emerging designers. The shopping experience is thus altered to encompass a new retail strategy, which caters to a sophisticated customer longing for differentiation.
O Concept on the other hand is a high-end boutique, which features renowned international brands in an exquisite set of eccentric furniture. A coffee shop also tops the overall shopping/ lifestyle experience. Another leading multi-brand store is West L.A, a store, which brings California cool to the Middle East with a selection of international designers all aligned in a homogenous bohemian luxury style.
2. New retail concepts are also making their appearance in major shopping malls
Aside from multi brand stores new retail concepts are also making their appearance in major shopping malls such as the level shoe district in Dubai mall. With a special tailored concierge service to cater to all of the visitor’s needs, this one of a kind district will not be any short of luxury. An exhaustive list of designers, which their core business is based on shoes and others, which are more diversified, are all featured in this luxurious space. From Prada to MSGM and Damir Doma## the level sustains one of the largest selections of shoe styles and trends to cater to the buzzling hub of tourists and fashion conscious locals.
3. Many fashion events and shows are also being featured in Dubai all year long
Many fashion events and shows are also being featured in Dubai all year long. April witnessed fashion forward an exhibition acting as a platform for designers and exhibitors from the industry as well as buyers and professionals. Workshops and seminars were also held throughout the exhibition covering trending topics and issues related to this creative industry. Chanel Cruise was also a major event, which drew the attention of the international press to Dubai. The collage and inspiration put into the collection transformed the classic cuts of Chanel into a fusion of subtle Arabian details, which were perfectly aligned with the context, and location of the show. The street style was as well very remarkable and diverse from traditional Emirati Abbayas to black label westernized outfits and a fusion of both. This also proved the importance that the fashion industry is weighing upon Dubai as a source of inspiration as well as a big market for luxury consumption.
4. Dubai's fashion scene importance is weighed upon the witnessed customization of this booming sector into the local identity
The prominence of Dubai in the fashion scene is a phenomenon, which is common to many emerging countries thirsty for luxury and fashion. However, the importance is weighed upon the witnessed customization of this booming sector into the local identity. By that, a great influence of local designers and culture are blended into the ready made international fashion emitted by international brands. A conscious effort is also being exerted by the Emirati authorities for fashion and design to be at the core of Dubai’s identity. By that making this particular scene a mutual give and take relation between this part of the world and the western well established fashion sector. The biggest example supporting this portent is by far Dubai’s design sector, which will be a special area acting as a hub for multiple design disciplines including fashion, architecture and graphic design. Its main purpose is the connection and link between international and local designs, which will result in unique outcomes particular to the flavours of this part of the world. This sector is also expected to nurture local talents from all over the region and giving them a chance to shine locally and internationally. As a trend forecast, the Middle East in general and Dubai in particular will not be a mere spectator and receiver of the international design and fashion industry but also a main player in the creation and development of this discipline.