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Dubai Design Week: Slick, sleek and chic

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The Dubai Design Week opened its door on November 13, reinforcing Dubai’s position as a global hub for the design and creative industries.

The six-day event will take place across the city with the participation of more than 550 designers.

How is the event leaving everything to imagination?

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A rich week of innovations

This year’s event will feature a series of attractions.

The fifth edition of Downtown Design will present a wide range of emerging brands from all over the world to design professionals drawn to Dubai from across the world.

Downtown Design will showcase more than 150 brands from 28 countries, featuring 90 new high-end international and regional brands.

The event will also feature the Global Grad Show, which reinforces its position as the world’s largest and most diverse meeting of design graduates, showcasing 200 projects from 92 universities across 43 countries.

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Meanwhile, Casablanca has been selected as Dubai Design Week’s Iconic City exhibition for 2017, as part of an annual exhibition series launched in 2015, which explores the culture, art and design scene of specific cities in the Middle East and North Africa.

Rawan Kashkoush, Head of Programming at Dubai Design Week, said: “Regional and international creatives have come together to present a brilliant showcase of design.”

The Dubai design scene is relishing the opportunity to draw interest from global aficionados interested in fashion, so that the sector could walk the catwalk on the runways.

How is the Emirate competing for this coveted position?

Rich fashion scene

According to Commitbiz, a management consultancy firm, Dubai became a major fashion destination and the major market for global product launches and marketing events, such as Chanel’s cruise show, Marc Jacobs’s launch of his new scent “Decadence” and Swarovski’s couture exhibition.

It said that the prominence of fashion scene was a phenomenon, as people became thirsty for fashion and luxury, due to the increase in spending power over the years.

The strategic locations coupled with the business-friendly environment have encouraged major industry players, such as Ralph Lauren, Prada and Louis Vuitton, to set up operations in Dubai, according to Commitbiz.

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Demand growing in style

Forbes reveals, in a study released in 2017, that the retail market in the UAE attracts many foreign investments from leading brands, such as Dolce and Gabbana, and high-profile fashion leaders, such as Vogue Arabia.

It also says that there are an increasing number of Emirati designers who are tapping into creating innovative designs to keep up with the growing demand for more variety.

“Emirati designers have realized that variety in fashion is key to positioning the UAE as one of the major fashion capitals in the world and with the rise in modest, Islamic fashion, the industry is expected to boom,” Forbes said.

Dolce & Gabbana recently said: “It is not only the international trends that are making their mark in the UAE, but a rise in modest clothing, which caters for the demand from women in the Middle East and those who like to dress modestly with style.”

Hend Faisal Al Qassemi, a designer and an entrepreneur, said that the current state of Dubai’s fashion industry was blooming.

She was quoted in the media as saying that the calendar was full with fashion events, and consumers were more intrigued to participate in the industry and stay up to date with trends.

She added that the market had a lot of potential with big fashion houses seeing an opportunity for expansion and reach.

“The internet also has played a vital role in the dissemination of fashion journalism — brands invest heavily in online advertisements and publicity through bloggers and we are seeing that investment in the region now,” she said.

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A+ for d3

Dubai’s ambition to become a fashion hub also got a big boost with the development of the Dubai Design District (d3), which is intended to develop the fashion, design and luxury sectors.

Visitors can discover an authentic shopping and dining experience with unique lifestyle boutiques, fashion, ateliers, art galleries, design workshops and home-grown restaurants.

Dubai: a fashion destination

Lebanon has long been known for being the fashion hub of the Middle East with a range of local fashion designers, who managed to succeed in the region and worldwide, such as Elie Saab and Zuhair Mrad to name a few.

But Will Dubai be able to steal Lebanon’s fashion glory?


According to CommitBiz, Beirut was once the fashion hub of the Middle East, but it recently lost some of its luster.

However, Al Qassemi reveals a few challenges facing the growth.

She says that there is a lack of transition for fashion students from design to distribution, and the industry has not developed a proper base for buyers.

“Students’ education is dedicated to design, but there needs to be a better understanding of what the market demands in order for them to produce in a price point. They need to be able to make a margin of profit so they can sustain themselves as designers in the future,” she said.