The organisers of #DubaiCollections got together inspiring talks between shows. This talk on Day 2 at 5pm, introduced be Firras Alwahabi, reflected on how designers can engage the media and what to do in order to prep themselves to be media-ready.
The role of the journalist here is an important one. In effect, they have the power to spread the word: look, pay attention, we have incredible some local talent.
Alwahabi is an alumni of the Dubai branch of fashion college Esmod, learned to cut patterns and sew, got his start at Boutique 1, and is a founder of the Faux Consultancy, with a vision to focus on Gulf-based talent. Iraqi born and Fujairah-raised, who better to fly this flag?
Panelists included notable media personnel – Louise Nichol, Editor in Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia as moderator, Ritu Uphadhyay, Middle East Correspondent of of Women’s Wear Daily and Arab descent Fashion Editor Sofia Guellaty.
Read: Dubai Collections: Dima Ayad Review
What does it take to stand out as a designer?
Each of the panelists – influential editors – expressed that the sheer volume of collections they wade through year on year is massive. Taking turns, they let us in on what it takes for designers to stand out from the noise and their personal preference:
Ritu said she likes to see a strong look book, emphasising that
Paper still matters.
She added that having key people [influential ones] to don your clothes are a significant way to stand out, given that these are genuine and not out of character. Having a narrative, knowing your consumer, and other classic marketing exercises are all parts of the mix.
Louise Nichol suggested to designers not to shout out too loud, aim to get into mainstream titles, until things are in place and the brand is ready.
However, as Ritu pointed out, WWD is a trade publication and is meant to mention up and coming designers at early stages that should be on the radar and how a mention in this title can make a designer, if not open doors.
Future of the Dubai Fashion Landscape
One point certainly came clear through, which is the strong presence of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council in its role akin to the British Fashion Council, moderating and supporting designers and assuring a level of quality. A truly international fashion week doesn’t seem far away, with the aim to have Dubai in place with NY, Milan, Paris and London FWs.
Business of Fashion recently published a piece, with Colin McDowell championing a global fashion council, stating:
Fashion is rapidly becoming the game the whole world wants to play. The problem is, it is being played on an ever more overcrowded pitch without a single body to set global rules. Witness the state of the increasingly unruly fashion calendar.
We certainly feel the sentiment in Dubai where a changeable landscape results in players fighting for turf.
Another question was if international markets are taking Dubai seriously yet or expressing a bit of fashion snobbery about the region? The only way to find out is to stay tuned.
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What do you think of the fashion landscape for designers? What dos it take to stand out? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.