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‘Huge potential’ for regional fashion industry

Clothes On A Hanger

 

The Middle Eastern fashion market has huge potential, according to Fashion Forward Season Four panel speakers.

Also, an increase in spend by the Muslim population from $224 billion in 2012 to $322bn in 2018 is set to propel the market into further growth, according to Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Thomson Reuters, stated Abeer Al Suweidi from Fashion Arabia during a panel discussion about Modest Fashion in Modern Times at FFWD earlier this week.

Although the potential is there, especially with Dubai positioning itself as a “global hub for retail”, according to Ritu Upadhyay, Middle East correspondent for Women’s Wear Daily, regional designers have come face to face with numerous challenges when growing their brands.

“The challenge is not so much in modest fashion market, but more in the fact that, locally, we are unfortunately still a tailor-driven culture,” adds Al Suweidi.

With a large number of regional designers hoping to tap into the booming industry, Dubai aims at creating a name for itself on the global fashion map. “From Dubai’s tourism perspective, we aim at promoting the city as a hub, but our main focus for now is to promote the fashion angle of the country,” says Nadine Mezher, senior manager at the Dubai tourism and commerce marketing’s fashion and retail sector development. “Dubai, and the region as a whole, offers an amazing number of fashion designers.”

“The UAE has what I like to call the highest designer per capita, so everyone is a designer, we are all creatives,” states Al Suweidi. “The problem is that we lack the professionalism and the infrastructure, so what’s been happening is that it is starting as a hobby and it’s been treated as a hobby, which it shouldn’t be because it is a very serious business.”

Although the challenges still exist for start-ups in Dubai, the region is still fighting for its designers.

“There are more than 70 malls in Dubai, [according to Dubai City Guide], I believe that we should have at least one mall that focuses only on young and new designers,” adds Albert Momdjian, founder and CEO of Sokotra Capital Ltd.

With regional companies and events such as Lead Associates, Fashion Forward and Dubai Design District hoping to make a difference within the local designer community, the region is bound to solidify its position in the worldwide fashion industry.

 

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