The fashion industry is one of the most lucrative businesses in the UAE and all across the Arabian Peninsula. Although more and more international designers such as Carolina Herrera have penetrated the Middle Eastern market, the local industry is also burgeoning with immense potential. A multi-billion dollar sector, growth has been substantial with the entrance of new as well as internationally-recognized brands and labels.
A name synonymous with luxury and showcasing its colossal man-made islands, fleet of police cars including Bugattis, Lamborghinis and Ferraris; Dubai is an emirate that has essentially become the hub of all things “happening”.
Business has never been better than it currently is which is mainly why there is a growing number of Arab and, particularly, Emirati women who are setting up their own fashion labels all over the country. With more than 200 nationalities comprising expatriates and local Emiratis, the city and, by extension, the country is indeed a melting pot of cultures where target customers have easy access to a genuinely global world of couture.
According to a 24/7 news report, “With foreigners making up roughly 90 per cent of its population, Dubai’s designers say the city is great for new brands and entrepreneurs who want the world to take notice. The port city’s location links trade routes from East to West. Of the $7.6 billion spent in the Middle East on fashion in 2012, just under a third was spent in Dubai alone, according to Bain and Co.”
Business has never been better than it currently is which is mainly why there is a growing number of Arab and, particularly, Emirati women who are setting up their own fashion labels all over the country.
Khawla bin Khedia is an up and coming designer who began her career as a professional fashion designer by creating homemade dresses. One year down the line and with the help of her 19-year-old sister Roadha, her Dubai-based business is thriving with many UAE and neighboring Qatari boutiques stocking their designs.
In a BBC interview, Connie Van Horne, an assistant professor involved in researching small businesses at Zayed University, says, “Most of these fashion companies start marketing on Instagram. They’re doing Instagram and Twitter and some Facebook. They’re also using [messaging services] WhatsApp and BBM.”
Of the $7.6 billion spent in the Middle East on fashion in 2012, just under a third was spent in Dubai alone, according to Bain and Co.
Talking about the fashion landscape in the UAE, fashion market analyst Cyrille Fabre of Bain and Co. said in an interview that tourism and fashion drive one another in the UAE. “Shopping is the third largest reason people come to Dubai,” he said last year at an event called “Fashion Forward” that brought together local designers, buyers and industry insiders.
Fashion is a big tourist attraction and as the fashion industry grows, tourism grows and vice versa.