Blog Articles
Mouse Scroll Icon
November 2021

Middle East Fashion & Luxury Messaging

Earlier this month Fashion Trust Arabia held its 2021 FTA ceremony in Doha showcasing emerging designers in the MENA region. Supremely talented winners from across the region were presented with opportunity, financial support and exposure to the world stage. International judges from Virgil Abloh and Pier Paolo Picciolo to Olivier Rousteing, met with global regional super talents Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad to recognize the next generation of fashion creative elites.

Undoubtedly the fastest growing creative talent pool in the world is driven by an elevated and highly sophisticated consumer base and retail environments.

Dubai: Probably the safest and most dynamic retail environment in the world. Evidenced here – an unattended Off-White popup at Dubai mall, not likely in other fashion capitals, speaks to a highly elevated and sophisticated consumer.

Previously, assumed to be a luxury customer—most prominently interested in watches and jewellery—today’s Middle East consumer is by far more sophisticated and demanding of the latest collaborations, innovations, experiences, and the interplay that comes to the forefront between technology, luxury, and gaming. This is nowhere closer than it is to the GCC consumer who is amongst the youngest in the world to consume luxury goods.

Talent, on the other hand, has been prescriptive for far too long – bringing what is perceived as western ‘wisdom’ to the region, while in reality the region has long dictated its own wants and needs, and leads in the Private client arena. Talent profiles with a deep understanding of the local and seasonal GCC consumer is more likely to rule the next decade as communities of passion become more and more prominent and relevant.

With Selfridges up for sale; LVMH opening La Samaritaine in Paris; and international travel restricted, it has been all too easy to ‘focus local’ in the last 12 months , meanwhile some exciting things have been taking place in Dubai. 

Last month’s Gucci pop up at the Burj al Arab, for example, didn’t fail to disappoint. Beautifully executed, of course, by Jumeriah, it celebrates the Maison’s centennial and simultaneously the country’s 50th National Day, or Golden Jubilee – a natural compliment.

Another is Giorgio Armani’s One Night Only in Dubai, that showcased the best of Italy.

 “This is a country that is buzzing and that wants to be constantly and compellingly updated,” Armani contended. “The Middle East is the cradle of a new concept of luxury, synonymous with continuous evolution and experimentation that still draw on the roots and the magic of a rich, deep culture to give life to a new creative energy.” (

This whilst Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, represented London superbly at the UK pavilion of EXPO 2020 Dubai. The event hosted by The British Fashion Council (BFC), HSBC Middle East and Chalhoub Group followed by a spectacular reception, at the UK Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 with several regional and global press and VIPs in attendance.

Fresher and faster than Europe

With the opening of Expo 2020 (postponed until this October), retail continues to be buoyant and thriving. Level shoes by Chalhoub creates an enviable temple of footwear and accessories, differentiating itself from the monoband landscape in which it finds itself by its very nature.

Go sport is merchandised excellently with an indoor climbing wall, surrounded by the simplicity of collections merchandised around their end game – literally—complimented by localised product which can only be brought right there. while not personalisation seen at some of the more luxury brands it offers localisation anchoring the consumer to place rather than self.

THAT Concept by is the freshest of all currently in the UAE, with a fully interactive spirt, the interplay of services seamless and unique, and the corresponding app bringing far greater steps toward the integrated consumer than any other. Are further developments in digital assets on the horizon here?

With the online realm being driven by Ounass – who continues to lead with the very concept that multinationals may play well to a globally connected consumer – however it is the local market who knows itself best.

Final thoughts

With an elevated and engaged consumer, a retail community which is highly evolved, and the fostering of new talents the Middle East seems closer to the consumer in physicality and in digital engagement than most of europe at this point.

Catherine Broome
Vice President