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.

GLAMOROUS: But some designers are unsure of the benefits of showing at Dubai Fashion Week.

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.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Eva

As someone who is not in the industry the thing that amazes me about DFW is that complete unknown local "designers" are instantly showcased with a blaze of publicity while there's little media attention to the no local participants. I think this event is all about the politics of promoting Dubai as a Fashion hub rather than a an equal playing field opportunity.

Posted by: Ron

Sounds like a hater to me.

Posted by: DFW participiant

Designers build fashion weeks not buyers. History proved it. At the end of 18Th century the English spent great fortunes to keep out wild revolutionary ideas from Paris but at the end of 20th century the French were got nothing, they have been invaded and concurred by wild revolutionary ideas from England. Designers like John galliano, Alexander Mcqueen and Hussien chalayan made London fashion week. Young Designers have got nothing but they are always filled with new ideas to prove themselves, different and original. Fashion weeks help them to come back every season with new ideas. If they can come back with strong collections every season, with an help from fashion councils and organizers they can pull the buyers and create a budget for fashion weeks like DFW. DFW is very young and it needs Designers and buyers along with media, who can support each other to build it and prove it to stand among fashion capitals. It can be one of the best in the world if it can prove in future with Designers who can do hifashion inspired from west, along surface developments inspired with bling from east. P.S: Dubai doesn?t even have Universities like central saint martins or Parsons to produce local talents with formal education. Every designer needs to start his Carrer in dubai with ground work understanding the market. Its good to see DFW supports emerging talent and along with it, this season Preston University students to put runway effort to make a collection. Please have a look at one of the pages from secrets behind London fashion week, published in oct 2009 in vogue UK

Posted by: L Pinto

Dubai Fashion Week is only in its 7th season and people who have grievances against it should know how New York, Paris and Milan started before becoming the capitals of fashion. One should also understand that it is not possible for any event organiser to please and satisfy every participant 100%. In case of Depala, it is a case of sour grapes, as his wife did participate in the earlier DFW shows. Others use the DFW as a free-for-all punching bag!

Posted by: marwan

i dont belive in what the guy is saying cause for me fashion is life and joy and u dont have to go to college to be that, alot of people became amazing fashion designers just by listening to there heart and see what the rest of us dont see. and im proud of dubai fashion week for making the dreams of those people come true.we dont want to be like rome or paris but we want to be dubai the place where it make the people come true.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Focus: 'Amazon did not come to the region for alone'

Focus: 'Amazon did not come to the region for alone'

E-commerce experts say retailers will have to up their game following...

Saudis tighten their belts for Eid in age of austerity

Saudis tighten their belts for Eid in age of austerity

Gov't cuts, which began late in 2015, are now rippling through...

New Saudi snow city tests kingdom's capacity for fun

New Saudi snow city tests kingdom's capacity for fun

Mixed-gender attraction is a rare opportunity for Saudis of all...

Most Discussed