Dubai is already home to dozens of designer stores, but now the city is poised to become a fashion heartland.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced on Saturday that a new hub will be created to house the emirate’s fashion, design and luxury sectors.
The ‘Dubai Design District’, which will be adjacent to Business Bay, will be “a vital part” of the Dubai Ruler’s Tourism Vision 2020 plans to double the number of annual visitors to the emirate to 20 million by the end of this decade.
Dubai’s couture capital will be home to the high-end labels, but it will also house facilities for emerging designers, design institutes and fashion colleges. And
Dubai designer Amira Haroon, a Pakistani national, said the hub would greatly help change the opinion that the city is just “retail and consumers”.
“We can create,” she said. “It’s an excellent idea.”
Designer Rami Al Ali - whose label has been worn by Beyonce - described the move as “perfect”. “Dubai is ready to start exporting creativity rather than importing it like for the past 30 years,” he said. Al Ali, a Syrian designer who has lived in Dubai for 16 years, said that he envisaged the fashion district would play an even bigger role in attracting tourists than Dubai’s shopping malls already do for the emirate.
Card giants VISA recently revealed that a staggering $589 million was slapped on its cards during the Dubai Shopping Festival earlier this year.
“It [fashion] is a very important industry worldwide, it’s worth $3 billion alone,” said Al Ali. “When it comes to tourism, people look for great service, safety - and a great shopping destination.”
Dubai’s new designer district, which will be operated by TECOM Investments, might seem a cut above the rest. However, for some, like one vendor at the Karama Flowers fashion store who spoke to 7DAYS on Saturday, the trendiest threads at the tastiest prices are still to be found in Karama.
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