Dubai is a bustling, modern city that attracts some of the wealthiest, stylish and most fashion-forward individuals. Known for its innovative, cutting-edge and sometimes record-breaking buildings and shopping malls, it makes sense that fashion is something that its residents take seriously, which is reflected in the number of rising young fashion designers and entrepreneurs in the city.
The big players
While it used to be the ‘big four’ cities, New York, London, Paris and Milan, that were known for their top designers and annual fashion weeks, Dubai is fast becoming a major player on the fashion circuit. With the Arab Fashion week and numerous other, smaller and more ‘grassroots’ fashion events taking place on a regular basis, the fashion media and retail buyers are paying close attention to what’s going on in the city and how it influences the fashion landscape. In addition to this, the more established, big-name designers want to show their collections in Dubai, respecting the fact that they may need some modifications to fit in with regards to religion and tradition.
The rise of retail
Dubai has long been a go-to place for anyone with a passion for shopping – with over 72 malls, including a number of ‘super malls’, the city offers something for everyone, whatever their taste. While shopping at the mall is undoubtedly still popular, the rise of e-commerce and online shopping can’t be ignored and, being a tech-minded city, Dubai is leading the pack in this respect. Online stores allow smaller boutiques and start-up designers to get their products seen without having to rely on being picked up by the larger, more conservative retail giants, and give the younger consumers access to styles they may not see in the mall.
As Dubai continues to grow, so does the population of young, trendy millennial consumers who, while still paying attention to tradition, want to break out of the staid Muslim fashions. These stylish women know that they can mix modesty and style, something that more and more of the younger designers aim to offer. While the abaya or jilbab once had a reputation for being plain and conservative, they are now being offered in a wide range of cuts, fabrics and colors, allowing the younger, fashion-conscious consumer to let their own personal style make a statement. With designers such as Selma Benomar, Amal Al Raisi and Bouguessa, whose designs even caught the eye of music superstar Beyonce, it is easier than ever to adhere to the traditions of the Muslim faith while looking totally on-trend and fashion-forward.