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Fashion Forward

Fashion Show.

Luxury fashion takes a serious walk down the ramps in Dubai.

In the Middle East, fashion is serious business and luxury fashion, an inevitable part of the region’s affluent high-life. For most, the region’s opulent luxury choices and haute couture dazzle are seen as symbols of the region’s growing interest in all things opulent, but to the discerning eye, luxury fashion in itself has had a well-heeled setting here for some time now.

A classic example of this would be the city of Dubai and its focus on luxury fashion. Dubai Design District or D3 is all set to soon boast an impressive platform for luxury creative design in the region – a place where ‘Bohemian designers can live, work and play’. On a serious note, the setting up of D3 means that all those independent designers, boutique owners and fashionistas who mostly worked, discussed and debated via social media and otherwise, finally have a place of their own.

A recent study done by A.T. Kearney on luxury fashion retail penetration in the Middle East showed that 80 per cent of global luxury retailers have their presence in the Middle East.  This goes to show the region’s fascination in all things fashion

“The fashion market is flourishing in the GCC region. A few years ago, we could only notice international brands. There is no doubt that Dubai has a lot to offer: the Fashion Forward event, catwalks and new shops are all great platforms that contribute to their brand development,” says Farah Kreidieh, Senior Stylist at publishing house Mediaquest Corporation – parent company of LuxuryMena and organizer of the arab luxury world (ALW) conference.

One of the panellists for the ‘Fashion trends’ session at the ALW Conference on June 1-2, 2015, Farah also feels that, even within the fashion trends in the region, there is a distinctive style preference that Arab women look out for: “The Arab woman likes to differentiate herself by buying limited-edition pieces. She loves brands and is always looking for new avant-garde talent. With an active social media profile, fashionista friends and personal advisers, Arab women stay tuned to all the latest fashion trends,” she adds.

When it comes to fashion, the expatriate women also emulate the region’s trends while maintaining their own sense of style. “In general, while expatriates have a more subdued style, Arab women are more daring and bold when it comes to colour and trends,” observes Nadine Kanso, Founder and Designer at Bil Arabi – a jewellery line inspired by Arabic calligraphy.

Nevertheless, she adds that, “when women have the power to purchase high-end and luxury products, they are all in the same boat, kind of.”

For now, it is quite interesting to note the emergence of high street fashion in the region from the closed quarters of the closets and the boutiques to the ramps and the discussion forums.

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