Is Dubai set to take the crown as the new fashion capital?
Whilst the likes of Paris, Milan, New York and London will always be synonymous with fashion excellence, the past decade has seen new cities enter the arena with huge impact. From Copenhagen to Tokyo, Sydney to Berlin, the next wave of cities establishing themselves as destinations for fashion design, innovation and experience-led shopping has arrived – and no one is doing it quite like Dubai.
From architecture to hospitality, technology to travel, Dubai is famed for its focus on design, quality, and penchant for luxury and high-end details, so it’s of little surprise that it’s become a magnet for the fashion set, both residentially and through tourism. More than that though, with fashion industry revenue in the UAE expected to reach US$3.47bn in 2023 and consumer spending in the luxury space to exceed US$11bn, the region is set to elevate itself from one that is simply fashionable to an economic powerhouse within the fashion sphere.
Dubai’s iconic malls have long been laundered as the gold standard when it comes to creating retail experiences unlike any other, where shoppers can access the latest collections and designs from brands as varied as Bottega Veneta to Bershka. Beyond just the established retail giants, the city’s Design District, introduced in 2013, ensures speciality boutiques, independent labels and artists also have the opportunity to thrive amongst the bustling, fast-growing market.
It was the UAE’s handling of the 2020 pandemic that largely accelerated the region’s industry impact from an economic perspective. Swift action to vaccinate the local population and strong, clear guidelines when it came to allowing tourists in meant that leisure spending in Dubai returned to normal much faster than in other main hubs. What’s more, as luxury spending continues to dip across the globe, the Middle East is benefiting from behaviour that goes against the trend, with local shoppers actually spending 70% more on luxury goods than anywhere else and 60% of high-end spending occurring domestically.
Whilst other markets continue to recover from the impacts of Covid-19, the UAE has harnessed its head start and used it to continue to strengthen emerging industries, including fashion, and create attractive offerings at both a domestic and international level.
As a city that is famed for the seamless meeting of tradition and innovation, leaders in fashion, jewellery and beauty are finding new homes in Dubai, where they can harness inspiration and creativity and turn it into big business. One such example is Mode Dubai, a brand new consumer shopping experience created by fashion industry pioneers and is set to shake up what people expect from a retail and event experience in 2023. Inviting more than 20,000 affluent attendees to their celebration of style, Mode Dubai’s audience is expected to be made up of 50% of attendees who earn US$100k+ a year. With an average age of 30, this new wave of predominantly female shoppers share a passion for self-expression through style, a desire for unique design, and are comfortable paying a premium price for craftsmanship and quality.