Dubai Fashion Week 'can damage your brand' – designer

EXCLUSIVE: Leading designer warns DFW lacks legitimacy on the international stage.
GLAMOROUS: But some designers are unsure of the benefits of showing at Dubai Fashion Week.
By Ed Attwood
Sun 04 Apr 2010 10:23 AM

Dubai Fashion Week (DFW), which began on Saturday, lacks legitimacy on the international stage and can actually damage brands showing at the event, a leading local designer has warned.

“We’ve never taken part in DFW – I just don’t see the legitimacy of the event,” Dubai-based designer and brand consultant Dipesh Depala told Arabian Business.

“In my mind, a fashion week should be a trade fair and the point is to do business. But the organisers of DFW never reveal which buyers will attend and in fact have never had any buyers to speak of at all.”

Depala also criticised the organisers of the week for failing to uphold any standards in terms of vetting collections, the brands and the amount of business each designer carries out.

The designer warned that, far from offering greater exposure to young designers attempting to break onto the global stage, the event can actually damage brands.

“I would advise young designers not to be involved, even if they were invited; by association with the DFW, the way it stands at the moment, you’re actually doing a disservice to your brand,” Depala continued.

“You won’t have anyone significant viewing your collection and you are much better off approaching vendors independently and sending them samples.”

An established designer who came to Dubai in 1992, Depala also runs a luxury consultancy firm. He is married to Ayesha Depala, one of Dubai’s top designers, and owner of the Ayesha Depala Boutique in Jumeirah.

Depala said that wholesale changes were needed to revamp the event, including revamping the board to include experts in fashion, retail and creation.

“As is stands, there are some board members who have no background in fashion and have no understanding of fashion – they’re simply social people who they put in there because they feel like it will give the event some attention,” he said.

Calls by Arabian Business made to the organizers of Dubai Fashion Week, Concept Events, went unanswered on Sunday.

UK-based department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols also declined to confirm whether they would be sending buyers to Dubai this week.

Furthermore, the Chalhoub Group, one of the region’s biggest fashion retailers, has also declined to reveal its level of participation in Dubai Fashion Week.

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