LONDON — Dubai Design District is teaming with Not Just a Label, the B2B and B2C online platform for emerging fashion talent, with the aim of helping Middle Eastern designers market themselves to a global audience, and create opportunities for international designers in the Middle East, WWD has learned.
NJAL will promote Dubai Design District, the creative, retail and leisure destination known as d3, regionally and internationally to garner interest and investment. The new partners will develop an e-commerce platform to assist the region’s designers in reaching a global audience, and NJAL will also organize an international competition for fashion designers with the aim of incentivizing creative talent to engage and produce in the Middle East.
An announcement is expected this week at the World Retail Congress in Dubai, where NJAL founder and chief executive officer Stefan Siegel will be a keynote speaker.
D3 promotes itself as a home for the region’s “growing community of creative thinkers,” which dovetails with Dubai’s vision to transform itself into an innovation-led economy and a platform to showcase Arab creativity to a larger, global audience. D3 includes purpose-built buildings to support creative businesses and by 2018 will feature a one million square foot Creative Community, aimed at attracting businesses and tourists alike.
By 2019, d3 will also unveil a new waterfront development, with international and design-led hotels, boutique retail concept stores and an outdoor events space, as well as hospitality and leisure facilities. It aims to be an area where creatives can “live, work and play.”
Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, chief operating officer of d3, said “it makes perfect strategic sense to partner with NJAL, a brand similarly renowned for driving and supporting emerging creativity and designers. We are excited by the potential outcome of this partnership, not only in driving the Emirate’s ambition to be a global center for design and innovation but also in establishing the d3 brand within the international design community.
Siegel said his goal is “to unite and champion some of the region’s top creative talent that, up until now, has been largely scattered. Our partnership with d3 provides a definitive platform to build on this initiative.”
Siegel told WWD he’s also out to prove that designers no longer have to live in New York, London — or any of the big fashion cities — to be successful. He believes d3 offers opportunities for designers to set up their businesses in a city bathed in sunshine and a region that offers tax benefits.
“There are manufacturing and retail opportunities in Dubai and its central location in the Middle East also means it’s accessible to countries such as Oman and Iran — a growing market. Dubai is living a cultural revolution. It’s a new city, and there’s a chance for it to create its own designers and ideas.”
Going forward, NJAL will act as a filter, choosing the talent that takes up residence at d3. The NJAL team will also be promoting Middle Eastern designers outside the region.
Siegel believes there is an “infinite pool” of talent and ideas that could flourish in the region. The company works with 21,000 designers from more than 120 countries, and acts as an e-commerce partner and showroom space for them. NJAL is also a publisher, creating editorial content around fashion topics and issues facing the industry.
The UAE’s overall retail hub is expected to be valued at over $53.7 billion in 2016, according to the research firm Euromonitor. D3 said it has noted an “increasing demand for innovative, best in class, and unique retail concepts as the consumer’s spending power grows, along with the region’s population and local tourist numbers.”