launches 300 Middle Eastern designers

NEW TALENT: Not Just a Label has added 300 Middle Eastern designers to its e-commerce platform.

The launch is part of a partnership between the online platform for emerging talent and Dubai Design District, known as D3, aiming to promote Middle Eastern talent on a global scale and provide them with an open sales channel.

The designer collections on offer are available to buy for the first time and were sourced from Dubai to Morocco and Lebanon.

Not Just a Label, which is also a publisher, has accompanied the launch with editorial content to highlight the work of some emerging designers. Among the highlights, is the work of Emirati Khulood Thani, whose work is a melting pot of experiences she garnered by living in London, Paris and Dubai. Her latest collection, The Journeyer, references her childhood memories of fishing along the United Arab Emirates shores.

By Salta is another label highlighted on the site; it offers a contemporary take on traditional Tibetan dress, created using sustainable materials, such as organic cotton and linen.

The site also stocks a number of Middle Eastern accessories labels, including the Egypt-based Amr Saad, which stands out for its abstract-shaped sunglasses and jewelry label Alia bin Omair, who creates jewelry pieces from fragments of frankincense, which forms part of the UAE’s heritage.

Not Just a Label said these designers are shifting long-held perceptions that the region is solely focused on haute couture and overly glamorous styles, by offering contemporary ranges which stick to the region’s modest dress codes.

Haal Inc., a Saudi label stocked on Not Just a Label, offers a fresh take on the traditional abayas by treating them as outerwear and updating them with different color palettes and fabrics, such as tweed embroidered with pearls.

Collections are prized between 240 pounds, or $317, and 1,500 pounds, or $1,981.

As reported, Not Just a Label embarked on a partnership with Dubai Design District in April. In addition to e-commerce sales, it will also work with D3 to choose the talent that will take up residence in the creative destination and organize an international competition for fashion designers with the aim of incentivizing talent to produce in the Middle East.

Not Just a Label chief executive officer Stefan 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.”

Siegel told WWD he’s 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.”

D3 includes purpose-built buildings to support creative businesses and by 2018, will feature a 1-million-square-foot Creative Community, aimed at attracting businesses and tourists alike.

By 2019, D3 will also unveil a waterfront development, with international and design-led hotels, boutique retail concept stores and an outdoor events space, as well as hospitality and leisure facilities.