By Shane McGinley
Strong mall culture boosts value of clothing market in the region to $12bn.
The fashion sector in the Middle East is forecast to grow by 15 percent this year, according to a study by a Dubai-based university.
The study, by French Fashion University Esmod – Dubai, estimates that the Gulf clothing market is worth in the region of $12bn. The study attributes the growth to the strong mall culture in the Middle East and the growing popularity of Arab designers.
The UAE is considered the fashion hub of the region, according to the study. This is based on a survey by AC Nielsen, which found that a third of UAE residents said they buy luxury goods and shoppers in the emirates are some of the biggest
The recent MasterCard Consumer Purchasing Priorities Survey also found that 47 percent of those in the Middle East said fashion and accessories would be their second biggest purchase category of discretionary items over the next six months. The figure was 30 percent in the UAE, while it was 61 percent in Kuwait.
“Our industry is among the few in the world which remains optimistic despite the downturn. More so here in the Middle East, where the combination of high spending power and a strong fashion sense have sustained the dynamism of the fashion market,” said Tamara Hostal, director and founder of French Fashion University Esmod – Dubai.