The Interview: In Conversation With D3's Executive Director, Khadija Al Bastaki

BY Harper's BAZAAR Arabia / Feb 16 2020 / 12:09 PM

Dubai Design District's influential Executive Director, Khadija Al Bastaki elaborates on D3's pivotal role in the development of the UAE's design and fashion sectors

The Interview: In Conversation With D3's Executive Director, Khadija Al Bastaki
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Dubai Design District (D3) is literally the heartbeat of Dubai's burgeoning fashion and design sectors. With a plethora of initiatives to nurture the what is one of the world's most vibrant emerging design hubs, D3 is a thriving art and design community that is continuously evolving and innovating

The purpose-built-master-plan development near Business Bay in Dubai is dedicated to the design community and you can find everything from emerging designs, established luxury brands, regional design ateliers and more within the hub. With a year-round schedule of fashion and design events, Dubai Design District has become a regional destination for all those looking to divulge in business of fashion and design. 

BAZAAR caught up with Khadija Al Bastaki, one of the key figures driving the growth of Dubai Design District to understand discuss her influential role, the UAE's design community and her vision for the future of D3. 

Harper's BAZAAR Arabia (HBA): How did you become Dubai Design District's Executive Director, can you tell us a little about your journey?

Khadija Al Bastaki (KAB): My journey with TECOM Group started at the end of 2015 when I became Director of Business Development for Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City . This was a wonderful journey which set me on the path to becoming Executive Director of D3 in 2019.

I joined D3 because I saw an exciting opportunity to grow the UAE’s design community and support the creative businesses, entrepreneurs and start-up creating jobs and opportunities for this country.

HBA: How would you describe D3 to someone who has never been?

KAB: Dubai Design District is the beating heart of creativity in the UAE and home to local and international brands including Dior, Burberry, Zaha Hadid Architects and Foster + Partners. We have an excellent mix of restaurants, office spaces, showrooms and shops creating a vibrant community for creative thinkers, with basketball and volleyball courts, a skatepark, outdoor gym, climbing wall and an urban beach.

HBA: What is the biggest change you have witnessed within the UAE's art and design community within the past ten years?

KAB: The UAE fashion and arts community has evolved greatly in the last decade and we have seen an increase in the number of promising artists and designers, both from the UAE and MENA region, and D3 plays an important role in creating an ecosystem that nurtures talent, fosters innovation and encourages collaboration between our business partners.

HBA: How do you forsee the growth of this sector in the next decade?

KAB: In the UAE, the creative sector will continue to go from strength to strength with design contributing billions to the UAE economy, creating more jobs and opportunities and making Dubai a diverse and exciting place to live and work. Careem and Souq are success stories from Dubai Internet City, and my hope is that D3 will be a springboard for the UAE’s creative sector to enjoy similar global achievements.

HBA: What event do you most look forward to in D3’s annual calendar? 

KAB: I love all our events equally because each one is unique. All these events - Dubai Design Week, Fashion Forward Dubai or Sole DXB - bring the creative community together, reinforcing D3’s position as a strategic partner and an enabler for success of this community.

HBA: What would you say is D3's ultimate goal?

KAB: As D3 continues to strengthen its position as a leading hub for local, regional and global creatives, we will continue to support the design industry and promote home-grown talent. D3 wants to create an ecosystem that helps our business partners thrive.