Dubai’s Fashion Culture
Could Dubai be the newest global fashion capital? One visit to Dubai Mall might be enough to convince any sceptic, but even beyond the mega-malls and luxe labels there’s a local fashion scene to be reckoned with. Here, we round up five sartorial experiences that are just so Dubai.
Everything you need to know about Dubai’s fashion culture
Exciting innovations, new-gen designers and emerging fashion hubs
Home to some of the world’s most innovative young designers, discerning shoppers and stylish locals, Dubai is the Middle East’s fashion oasis. From hot brands to exciting events and cool innovations, here’s what we love about our thriving fashion culture.
Fashion Forward feast
Dubai’s Fashion Forward is a twice-yearly week of catwalk shows from regional designers, interactive talks from global industry giants, exclusive designer shopping events and more. Unlike most international fashion festivals, Fashion Forward is open to all – provided you’re quick enough to buy a ticket – as the city’s socialites, celebrities, media and style-seekers clamour to be the first to learn of upcoming trends and sartorial innovations.
Inspiring Muslim women around the globe, Dubai’s abaya design industry is known for its modern twists on the traditional robes. With fashion-forward designers releasing ready-to-wear collections and tailor-made options, you can go all-out with diamond-garnished hems and golden needlework, or have a silky sheath cut to your exact measurements. Designed in Dubai, Effa creates beautiful event-worthy pieces with matching turbans and headwear in silks and intricate brocade. For unexpected prints, sheer panelling, and raw hems that wouldn’t be out of place on a Parisian catwalk, check out KBT Koncept, whose unique use of shape and textures makes each piece a collector’s item. For everyday street-style, fashionistas love Hesseh for their eye-catching yet modest pieces that play with heavy beading and clever draping.
The one thing Dubai-ites love more than their fashion is food. The two delectable worlds collide at Spontiphoria in Al Wasl Square, a boutique that sells hard-to-find local designers, quirky homewares and the most divine cakes you'll ever taste. Book 24 hours ahead for a stylish high tea that will have you happily loosening your belt.
Over in Downtown Dubai, Vogue Café is fabulous for a petite pastry or three while mulling over your copy of the eponymous magazine. However, it’s the sleek Armani/Dubai Caffe that tops our list of favourite designer eateries. Every inch a fine Italian bistro in the midst of The Dubai Mall’s sophisticated Fashion Avenue, it offers white truffle pizza, chocolate fondant and the best espresso this side of the Gulf.
A dedicated Design District
Opening to major international attention, Dubai Design District (or D3) is our latest foray into the style space. Joining together the city’s best and brightest talents, the fashionable stand-alone neighbourhood is a collection of bohemian-style studios, warehouses and shopfronts, dedicated to promoting our many promising regional designers. Cruise the streets to find a new favourite label, or drop by at night for one of the many collaborative meet-and-greets to chat with designers directly.
Where did Karl Lagerfeld look when he wanted a show-stopping backdrop for his Cruise 2014/15 collection? Dubai’s coastline. Lagerfeld and team transformed a barren sandy island 650 metres off the Jumeirah Beach coastline into a Middle Eastern hideaway of palm trees, Bedouin tents and a cube building adorned with the Gulf's famous geometric mashrabiya wooden frames. The catwalk show itself featured Middle Eastern-style kaftans, textured flat sandals and floating silk scarves against the stunning sandy setting.
Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing