It is this time of year again, the Dubai Fashion Week (April 5-9, 2009) is here again.
I sat down with the intention to write an article about my experience with Dubai Fashion Week over the years, when two articles about the subject pops up in my RSS reader.
The first one was Arabian Business calling for an overhaul to the DFW system. The article tries to find out how much sales are generated during such an event in Dubai, and the answer is no surprise to the participating designers, not much sales are generated at such an event.
The 2nd article was from Natalie Long, at Gulf News, who wrote what I’ve been saying all along. It was as if she read my mind or we might have had a chat in the past.
According to Natalie (and I strongly agree) “It’s all hot models, beautiful dresses and all-night partying”. It is after all as the organizers pitches it for designers “An ad campaign on a budget”. Only that this is not what the designers, and specifically I, would be looking for. As a young designer, I have to invest in establishing myself, being present in showrooms and boutiques and above all, get my production right. This is the main investment that will pay back. PR, marketing and glamour all comes at a later stage to remind people of the status I’d have come to and to introduce new lines or services.
The problem is that there are no international standards set to elevate Dubai as a fashion capital and the DFW as an international fashion week. The screening procedure is ineffective, its almost like first come first serve and that really underestimates the quality of the designers. Looking at a lot of the participant’s collections, you see rare consistancy, sometime no theme, and an undefined market.
On top of all, there are no buyers. The buyers lounge is there by name only. The buyer’s invited are mostly there to mingle and have a drink and appear in the social pages of the magazines.
All of that doesn’t sell and that is exactly what caught my attention in Natalie’s chosen title: “Dubai Fashion Week: Are we buying it? “
I give the DFW a lot of credit for trying and for putting the event together end of the day. However, I highly encourage them to keep the young talents in a completely different category or a different event all together and have the semi-established, at least, in another section. I highly encourage them on getting on board stronger partners and inviting the buyers and the international press. I advise them to offer workshops for the designers to improve and show their talent in the most professional manner.
I encourage you to read both articles, it makes a good read.
This season I will be participating at DFW as part of Studio 8 show, as my sellers they requested from me to showcase 6 items like the rest of the Studio 8 designers. I will be writing a new entry after the show takes place on the 7th of April.