DUBAI — While most of Dubai’s malls are filled with international brands, some retailers here have taken a gamble on local designers — and realized a payoff.Consider the Level Shoe District, the world’s largest shoe store, launched last year at Dubai Mall by the Chalhoub Group: It counts Jordanian footwear brand Aennis Eunis as one of its top sellers.“The community of shoe lovers is here to discover,” the store’s general manager Rania Masri told a panel discussion at the third edition of Fashion Forward, a event that showcases the work of promising designers based in the Middle East. “We are happy to offer a platform to the emerging designers both regionally and internationally.” Fern Mallis, the originator of New York Fashion Week and an industry consultant, shared her experience creating a platform for New York’s design community. “Dubai is in the right place at the right time. The Middle East is one of the fashion industry’s most vibrant markets,” she said. “A third of the world’s couture clients come from the Middle East. The world’s top fashion brands are not only courting you, they are here.” Still, local designers will face the same challenges their peers in New York did two decades ago: identifying potential buyers and an audience to support them, Mallis said.In Dubai, regional brands have taken a backseat to international names. Fashion Forward aims to help designers streamline their offerings to better appeal to local and international buyers. Styled after traditional fashion weeks, the event includes three days of couture and ready-to-wear shows, an exhibition space featuring regional accessories brands and a series of lectures. Bong Guerrero, founder and chief executive officer of Fashion Forward, said the event is evolving to respond to the needs of the design community. “A lot of designers here start off very ‘mom-and-pop,’ working out of small studios and apartments with one or two tailors. They need financial support,” he said. This season organizers partnered with Eureeca.com to launch crowdsourced campaigns for regional talents.Accessory designer Roula Ghalayini of Poupee Couture was the first to successfully use the service. Since January, she has raised more than $100,000 via the site, exceeding her investment goal.The designer, whose bags are handcrafted in Beirut, was featured in British Vogue as one of the hottest 100 bags last year. Despite the media attention, she lacked the funds to fully develop the proper marketing material to attract an array of buyers. “I was very focused on product development,” she said. The Emperor 1688 — designed by three brothers of Iranian origin: Babak, Farhan and Haman Golkar — was another breakout brand at the event. The trio began with a line of tailored men’s wear and last year added women’s rtw. Now that their clothes are selling strongly at Saks Fifth Avenue and Galeries Lafayette in Dubai, they are poised to take their brand to a global market, partnering with Marvin Traub and Associates for representation in New York showrooms.“There is a lot of caution for brands born from here, when you are not showing in Paris and Milan or part of that clique. But we are very proudly a brand born from Dubai, and soon it will have its own power,” said Babak Golkar.
To celebrate Pride 2018, @themarcjacobs released the #GratefulNotHateful campaign, a social media initiative aimed at extending Pride beyond the parade. Inspired by Jacobs’ everyday outlook, the campaign features Jacobs along with a group of models and social media stars who are members and supporters of the LGBT community, all seen wearing @marcbeauty’s Highliner Gel Eye Crayons in colors of the rainbow. Head to our Instagram stories to see close-ups of the liner. #wwdbeauty
Virgil Abloh’s dad Nee and Don Crawley, cofounder of RSVP Gallery, were some of the hometown crew at the Chicago-born designer’s debut show for Louis Vuitton. (📸: @jdiderich ) #wwdmens #louisvuitton #virgilabloh
About last night: @marycharteris and @adwoaaboah hit up Hyde Park for the Serpentine Galleries’ annual summer party held in partnership with @chanelofficial. Head to WWD.com to see more photos. #wwdfashion
“This is Paris, my first show. I’m all about democracy. If some kid shows up, flew from New Jersey to just be around, let’s get him a seat.” — @virgilabloh tells WWD’s @jdiderich ahead of his first show for @louisvuitton men’s. (📸: @alfredo_piola ) #wwdmens #virgilabloh #louisvuitton
“Kate Spade was a true fashion icon who brought joy to the lives of women around the world, and inspired women to live life to the fullest. We are dedicated to carrying on her legacy,” said Anna Bakst, brand president and chief executive officer of @katespadeny. The Kate Spade Foundation announced that it will be donating $1 million to suicide prevention and mental health awareness in tribute to the recent death of Kate Spade. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdnews (📷: @chinseephoto)
A first look at @virgilabloh’s sneakers for @louisvuitton. Abloh spoke to WWD about his debut collection for Louis Vuitton, creating @kendalljenner’s #metgala outfit and redefining the heritage brand. Read the full story on WWD.com. #wwdfashion 📷: @alfredo_piola)
The world’s largest producer of denim @iskodenim is sharing the strategy behind its product development process. Read our full interview with ISKO’s product development manager Baris Ozden on the company’s extensive research practices, upcoming denim trends and the latest material innovations on WWD.com. #iskodenim