Investing in a fashionable future

With October being the month of catwalks and couture, Dubai is all set to become the next fashion mecca in the world
The Community By The Community report
Published on October 22, 2014
fashion show

Dubai may be closer to achieving its aim of becoming a fashion capital of the world by 2020 as a cornucopia of next season’s collections is scheduled to hit the runways this month.

Mall of the Emirates’ World of Fashion is set to begin its fourth year by showcasing some of the world’s top designers and haute couture. With Fashion Forward cat-walking through Eid and Fashion Week Middle East kicking off this month, it’s safe to say fashionistas have a lot to look forward to…

This is the result of years of uncompromising hard work; Dubai has taken several strides to weave style into the fabric of its society not only through attracting an impressive repertoire of international designers, but implementing plans for Dubai Design District, along with setting up its own fashion council.

According to Hussain Moosa, Associate Director of the Mall of the Emirates, the UAE community can expect even more from top designers such as BCBG, Kate Spade, Tiffany & Co and Elie Tahari, as well as an abundance of home-grown talents.

“We make sure we go bigger and, in the upcoming years, provide something special and different to our visitors. This goes a long way to make Dubai a fashion capital in the region,” said Moosa.

Although Dubai is yet to stand among the likes of Paris, Milan or New York, it is well on its way. Perhaps the greatest investment to the UAE’s fashion industry has been nurturing its local talent through fashion education.

In 2006, hoping to invest in the country’s fashionable future, the École Supérieure Des Arts Et Techniques De La Mode (ESMOD), a world-renowned fashion school that began in 1821 in France, set up its Dubai branch and introduced some of the city’s well-known names such as Canelle Hostal and Kourosh Gharbi.

Speaking on behalf of ESMOD Dubai’s founder, Denis Ravizza, the school’s Art Director, said there is a need to invest in education, as fashion isn’t just about shopping or brand awareness that previously defined Dubai’s couture scene. “What have been missing are skilled professionals… Dubai needs to give time to its designers to develop brand awareness.

What really sets Dubai apart from the more established fashion capitals is the growth of its fashion graduates. According to Ravizza, in comparison to graduates in Europe, Dubai students benefit from the UAE’s lack of cut-throat competition. Hence they receive tremendous marketing and design support from their alma maters, who can actually their devote resources to them — the result being low startup costs and zero taxes.

Dubai’s current formula of blending prominent with homegrown names has worked well — even attracting various celebrities from around the Middle East. This year, World of Fashion will be graced by Lebanese singer Najwa Karam, who will be promoting the event and sharing her own style secrets.

“World of Fashion has gone global because it brings international designers. It’s an event for the community; we promote it with the local talent,” said Moosa. These shows are already, as Moosa said, “Creating a buzz in the region.”

It is expected that even more aspiring designers in the UAE will continue to shape its journey to the top of the fashion world and Ravizza is optimistic that the future of several designers lie right here.

“Going to Europe is an old dream…The difference between Europe and America and the Middle East is like night and day. There, fashion graduates run after brands, here brands run after graduates. It is unheard of.”

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