Although every fashionista is familiar with fashion weeks in New York, Paris, London and Milan, many are just learning about the latest edition, Arab Fashion Week. This is the fourth edition of the program and it is now considered as one of the “big five fashion weeks” and the ONLY official fashion week in the world to promote Pre-Collections and Ready-Couture. Arab Fashion Week is such an incredible experience that truly defines the scene of luxury fashion in Dubai while incorporating local as well as international designers.
I was fortunate enough to be invited by Jacob Abrian, the founder and chief executive officer of the Arab Fashion Council, to attend the first Arab Fashion Week in October 2015 and it is unbelievable to see how much has changed within such a short period time. I recently attended the forth edition of Fashion Week in Dubai and it was even more grandiose than one could ever imagine. This year, it was held at the Meydan Hotel Dubai, which brought in over 15,000 attendees, including global VIPs and celebrity guests as well as numerous fashion and beauty editors from some of the major publications across Europe.
I love the fact that this particular fashion week focuses on the concept of promoting regional talent while also allowing international designers to showcase their collections in order to successfully establish their business in the Arab region. Designers such as Marchesa, LaQuan Smith, Rad Hourani and Renato Balestra showcased their stunning collections along with 20 other international brands. I was already a fan of Marchesa, so I was very excited when I found out the latest collection was going to be shown at Arab Fashion Week. One of the biggest misconceptions about this particular fashion week is in regards to the clothing designs. Contrary to popular belief, the designs are very modern and similar to what you would see at any other fashion week. Some designer’s create clothing that is a bit more modest but overall, the designs are very cosmopolitan.
Although I love New York Fashion Week, I must say, there is something so special and unique about Arab Fashion Week. NYFW has become more businesslike over the last few years, whereas Arab Fashion Week is much more interactive. Don’t get me wrong, I love NYFW but I have to admit, it is a little stressful; you drive back and fourth from one venue to another hoping you wont be late to your next show. Unlike NYFW, Arab Fashion Week is held at one venue, which allows you to enjoy each show, worry-free! It is all about enjoying the latest designs and truly experiencing fashion at its finest. This year, I was beyond impressed by the art installations as well as the outdoor entertainment and activities that occurred between each show. This gave the attendees a chance to walk around, mingle and meet people as well as some of the designers. I also loved the fact that many designers had their own pop-up boutiques where you could see their creations up-close as well as purchase their Ready-Couture designs.
The term “Ready-Couture” was first coined by the Arab Fashion Council in 2014 and then put into practice during Arab Fashion Week in the fall of 2015. The term bridges the gap between Ready-to-Wear and Haute Couture while also maintaining the origins of high fashion and its client-designer relationship roots. I find it so amazing that the Arab Fashion Council estimates the Ready-Couture market to generate over $490 billion in sales by 2019 from Muslim expenditures alone. This year, Arab Fashion Week was supported under a Royal family office an investment firm, the Sheikh Mohammed Maktoum Juma AlMaktoum (MBM). Recognition from MBM was a huge milestone for Arab Fashion Week, as they will continue to foster and support the growth of regional talent as well as help build a proper fashion industry in the Middle East.
There is no doubt in my mind that Arab Fashion Week will continue to expand and establish a successful fashion pipeline in the Arab regions. With the incredible work of the Arab Fashion Council, Arab Fashion Week will undoubtedly be positioned alongside the other big four fashion weeks. It is so exciting to experience the Arab Fashion industry as it is bursting with retailers and new designers. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the upcoming 5th edition, which will take place November 2017.