"The tsunami of e-commerce is going to hit the shores of the Mideast. Straight away, it will be mobile, not desktop."That's Marcus Freeman, chief financial officer of the Chalhoub Group, talking up the region as huge opportunity for retailers and brands. The Dubai-based Chalhoub Group brings luxury brands to the Mideast through its retail, distribution and marketing services and has more than 12,000 associates working in 14 countries and a network of 650-plus retail stores. Freeman spoke Tuesday at the Retail Leaders Circle conference themed, "Re-Configuring, the New State of Retail"and held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Manhattan.Freeman said the Middle East was a complex business environment and didn't neglect to cite the turmoil in some countries such as Yemen and Syria, but with its young population and propensity for luxury — particularly accessories, jewelry and beauty products — and economic growth rate that's been higher than the U.S. or Europe, the market is ripe for online activity. The channel is not as prevalent in the Mideast as in the West. But according to Freeman, "a digital revolution is in the making."Primarily, Freeman addressed market conditions within Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council. "Smartphone penetration is very high and social media is becoming increasingly powerful…lots of pure plays are coming into the market," he said.Freeman said 50 percent of the population is under 30, the average annual luxury spend per person is $2,000, but the average spend on gifts is $10,000 annually. YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook are among the most popular social media platforms.Middle Easterners are "very much into accessories due to traditional dressing standards," Freeman said, meaning they cover up more to show less of their bodies but are into adorning what they wear. He also said leather goods represents a higher proportion of the fashion spend, compared to the West.According to Chaloub's figures, the Persian Gulf region has a 2.9 percent GDP growth rate through 2018, whereas Europe is at 1.7 percent, and the U.S. is at 2.4 percent.
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion
@carmeloanthony is upping his fashion game once again, introducing a hat collection with @goorinbros. Called Fresh Greens by Melo x Goorin, the line consists of five unisex models, all of which are made in America from 100 percent wool. Each hat is lined with Anthony’s signature and the inscription “Knowledge of self, wisdom and understanding.” You can purchase the collection line at Goorin’s website as well as three off its stores in San Francisco, New York City and Las Vegas #wwdaccessories
“I am of tradition, but that doesn’t mean I have an old outlook on life,” Hubert de Givenchy told WWD in an interview in 1978. The legendary designer, who died last week at the age of 91, achieved wide success soon after launching his own couture boutique in the early ’50s, but he refused to pine for that time. For the first time since its original publication, read our interview with Givenchy on his awe for Audrey Hepburn and looking forward. Link in bio. #wwdarchives #fbf (📷: Pierre Schermann)
About last night: @alexachung and @supergausa toasted the launch of their capsule collection. “It’s the shape that I love, so rather than amend the last and make the sole crazy or do anything wild, we just did really subtle additions that I think make it look really luxe-y,” said Chung. #wwdfashion (📷: Marc Patrick)
Exclusive: @off____white’s @virgilabloh is launching an exclusive eyewear capsule collection @sunglasshut. The unisex collection, which is made up of three styles, first made its debut on the brand’s fall runway show in Paris. Get all the details on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion