Dubai Fashion Week goes under fire
It’s interesting to see how UAE-based designer Aiisha Ramadan’s one-year-old blog post is resurfacing, around the time the seventh installment of the Dubai Fashion Week is going full steam ahead, in the form of a critical news item on online business title Arabian Business.
UPDATE: Since this article was published in April 2010, the Dubai Fashion Week brand has been passed on from Concept Group to Capital Marketing. Read our exclusive interview with Manoj Bhojwani, their chairman, on what to expect in the coming seasons of Dubai Fashion Week.
As you may have already guessed, we’re not here to talk about the designers and the clothes and the whole elaborate masquerade on the catwalk that apparently is only serving the interest of nobody but the enterprising organisers (Concept Events) of Dubai’s own take on Fashion week.
Last year, Ramadan criticised how the event was marketed to designers – an advertising campaign on a budget – and how this was not exactly what a budding designer would be looking for.
Designers are at DFW to do business. They want buyers. And DFW’s ability to scoot these important people over to the event venue, which ideally should be guaranteed considering the AED35,000 fee to participate, is questionable at best.
At least, that’s how we see it if organisers don’t reveal which buyers are attending the event. That’s according to the Arabian Business story published yesterday.
Fine, maybe there are buyers, but they’re not there to do their job. The buyers present treat DFW as some kind of social event where they can mingle and pose for photos which will appear in Hello! or some other sleazy print title that thinks people are braindead enough to pay attention to society pages.
Designers are there for business, while buyers are there for mindnumbing pleasure. So you can see now how the differing motivations of designers and buyers can make ensuring the event’s success just a little bit problematic.
We don’t want to get into the details of the selection process, but if a first-pay-first-served policy is subliminally implemented and is somehow determinative of which talents are shown during the event, then really, what hope is left for DFW to solicit the slightest smidgen of legitimacy?
A couple of suggestions to make Dubai Fashion Week even worth people’s time:
1.) Find a title sponsor for the event. Mercedes Benz Fashion Week isn’t as catchy, but at least the event organisers don’t have to rely on participation fees to generate income. If the Dubai Fashion Week name must be retained, the Government of Dubai should be considered the title sponsor. This way organisers won’t have to complain about being forced to cut corners, or do something shady, to make a profit.
2.) Internationally renowned fashion houses, please. When we asked if there was going to be a show by an international fashion house at this season’s DFW, we were told, “Yes, blah blah blah and bleh bleh bleh are going to be there!” Listen, we don’t know who blah blah blah and bleh bleh bleh are, and chances are the average Dubai resident doesn’t either. We need their attention, too!
Interest in events as big as Fashion Week NEEDS to trickle down to mass consciousness because this is the only way developments in fashion can have any kind of influence on regular people. One word: Transcendence. So we’re going to have to go with Aiisha on this one – International is Dior, Prada, Gucci!
Aiisha Ramadan photo courtesy of Aiisha.com