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Dubai dazzling on the catwalk?
The emirate’s fashion scene may have been affected by the financial crisis, but some in the industry see a more positive trend in the future.
March 18, 2010 7:17 by Aarti Nagraj
According to the Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study released last year by research firm Bain & Company, the hardest hit among luxury brands worldwide was apparel, with sales declining by 15 percent.
Popular Indian fashion designer Neeta Lulla, who serves many Dubai clients in Mumbai, told local media in December last year that her clients from the emirate have cut spending by 25 to 30 percent.
According to Khan, many local designers have recognized that consumers are very smart nowadays. “Designers do understand that that the artificial inflation that happened in the market that basically exploded the whole market has come to an end. Yes designers have to wake up and price their stuff accordingly,” he says. And competition in the market is so tough, designers cannot afford to go down on quality, he adds.
And while Dubai is still an “infant” in terms of the fashion industry, events like the Dubai Fashion Week are providing spotlight to the market and helping it grow, says Khan. “When we started, it was a local event. But now we have seen it grow from 15 designers in the first season to 45 designers during the upcoming seventh season. And we are now laying more emphasis on calling buyers—from local and international markets.
Some major brands from New York are also taking us more seriously,” he says. This season they are hoping that there will be more business at the venue.
In October last year, during the sixth season of the Dubai Fashion Week, Abu Dhabi was hosting Fashion Expo Arabia, and just a month later, in November, Dubai hosted Arabia Fashion Week. Does the region’s infant fashion industry need so many events?