Although global statistics indicate that Muslim consumers are expected to spend $484 billion by 2019, up from $266 billion in 2013, on Islamic clothing, the UAE fashion industry lacks qualities that restrict it from making a debut into the global scene, according to Sheikha Hind Bint Faisal Al Qassemi, House of Hind owner and founder, advisory board chairperson and board of trustees member at the College of Fashion and Design.
In her view, the GCC fashion industry in general, and the UAE in particular, saw a “sudden disappearance and fall" of a number of designers who thought they made it to the international scene but in reality they lacked the persistence to continue.
“UAE National young females graduate from college, stay at home and decide they want to become fashion designers. They start selling clothes on Instagram for a limited time and then stop. Social media changes and if they do not match that, they will lose,” she stressed.
Sheikha Hind also criticised UAE National designers for adopting similar patterns of business management as they all sell to the same markets and shops while they can sell their products in Malaysia, India, Bangladesh or Turkey. For her, the majority of local fashion designers focus on making perfumes, clothes and food with very few focusing on making leather bags but those are more successful because that segment of the market is not saturated yet.
She also lashed out at some young UAE National fashion designers who use the excuse of having insufficient funds to establish their own businesses while stressing that they either have the option of partnering together or finding financers to start up small and then grow.
“They do not need big funds. Beginnings are inexpensive and whoever says he does not have sufficient funds is actually lying. The richest UAE businessmen started from scratch and they can do the same. They can start on their mobiles with Instagram accounts but most importantly they have to have the persistence,” Sheikh Hind lamented. “John Galliano and Marc Jacobs, famous global designers, started their careers at LVMH, owners of Louis Vitton and Christian Dior. It is not shameful for talented designers to join hands in partnerships. They will be like the pillars of a pyramid, if one collapses, the others would support him.”
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