Fashion designers in Dubai are looking for more government support in order to protect and grow their businesses.Designers complain that it is difficult for them to access quality materials at consistent prices in textile markets, as well as find affordable outlet space in Dubai's shopping malls.They used a roundtable discussion between the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and local designers to call for the setting up of a fashion council that could represent their interests in the emirate and beyond.
"Like the Fashion Council in Britain and the USA, fashion designers in Dubai should have a proper channel, backed up by the government, through which they can raise their complaints and concerns about the business," designer Laila Marashi of local fashion house Sugar Vintage, told Gulf News."We do have to face a lot of obstacles in our line of business. There is no consistency in the prices and quantities, as well as in the quality of the materials we need for our designs," she said."For the same material we pay different prices every time. Moreover, we find difficulty in sourcing the same quality of fabric we use for our designs and fall under the false promises of textile traders."
At the meeting, designers called for the setting up of a non-profit fashion council similar to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) or British Fashion Council (BFC), along with fashion funds and awards to support, encourage and honour the best local talents.
At the discussion, fashion designers remarked that in their quest to make their mark on the UAE's shopping capital they are bombarded with challenges, such as finding an affordable retail outlet in Dubai's burgeoning shopping malls and securing adequate financial support.
There was also the lack of industry backing, as well as logistical issues and input costs related to textiles and labour, they added.Laila said that finding a small warehouse was another obstacle, considering that most available ones were huge, at 3,000 square feet, which could not be affordable or practical for most of the local designers.Call for umbrella bodySetting up a Dubai Fashion Council would be the best option to organize and promote the industry, she added."The council will bring our business under the government umbrella where it can be controlled by concrete standards and tight rules and regulations, which will eliminate manipulation and guarantee bigger local and international exposure for the designers."
While the council would mainly help to fund and provide logistics services to the designers, industry standards such as tailors' commitments and professionalism would also be defined by the council, the local designers felt.
Thaddeus Malesa, Senior Executive in the Business Support Department of the Dubai Chamber, said following the meeting: "Dubai is home to many international retailers and designers and represents the second largest retail market globally."
Malesa said steps would be considered to boost local designers and their efforts.
From / Gulf News