“I like my money where I can see it — hanging in my closet,” proclaimed Carrie Bradshaw. This week, it has been revealed just how much our wardrobes here in the Middle East are actually worth. According to a new report commissioned by the Dubai Design & Fashion Council (DDFC), the UAE saw fashion sales of $22.2bn last year. As the most prolific spenders in the region, the UAE accounts for 28.3 per cent of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s fashion retail revenues, which topped $75bn in 2014. Second place in the spending league is Saudi Arabia, commanding 16.8 per cent of MENA fashion revenues, followed by Qatar and Egypt with 12.9 per cent and 11.5 per cent respectively. Other countries across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Levant and North Africa collectively account for 30.6 per cent of MENA’s fashion apparel revenues.
While these figures do not take into account spend by Middle Eastern customers overseas, or indeed on e-commerce fashion websites that deliver to the region, it’s fair to say that Carrie would be proud, with the report stating that Dubai now competes with London and Tokyo in terms of fashion retail sales.
Indeed, the MENA fashion market has outpaced global industry growth by over 4.7 times since 2010, according to the report’s authors, Deloitte and The Future Laboratory. The findings also suggest that there is significant opportunity for regional designers to increase their share of the fashion market, with 80 per cent of the MENA region’s fashion and furniture consumption currently accounted for by imported brands.
So the next time you use the phrase, “This old thing?” when your husband questions the provenance of your new Balmain x H&M blazer, remember, your spending secrets are not quite so hush hush any more.