With a ravishing fashion market, Dubai poses its position as the fashion capital of the region and it seems only timely to discuss the current regional fashion industry, rising talent, and the directions needed to be taken where creative education is concerned. The project was collaboration between two organisations that support creativity and the creative economy respectively. The coming together of London College of Fashion and Caspian Arts Foundation culminated in a project that saw the Art of Dress exhibition and the Creative Circle Symposium hosted at the A4 Space by Alserkal Avenue, cultural partner of the event. The symposium brought fourteen speakers from the Middle East, London and those based in the UAE, to explore the multi-faceted nature of the creative sector. The event was held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and was supported by the British Council.
The symposium attracted an audience actively involved in the industry as well as appealing to a younger member audience visiting from local Universities and High Schools. The Creative Circle Symposium intended to create a platform to reflect on the fast growing and ever-developing regional creative industry, and its place in the global creative economy. The discussions unravelled the concept and trend for modest dressing and the various marketing strategies brands employ to target this niche market. Numerous speakers touched on the increasing influences modern day technology and social media holds over the fashion market and addressed the ways designers could take advantage of this through exploring opportunities presented within its sphere. Conversations also addressed the challenges that local creative industry faces; firstly, the prejudice against pursuing a career in the field or existing consumer bias towards international brands and flooding of the local market with franchises that overtake the malls. Evidently, throughout the course of the event, existed a strong will to communicate these issues and a necessity to collaborate to find solutions to the challenges that organisations are faced with in their growth.
With the rise of regional talent, the strategies emerging designers will face for building commercially viable brands will become a necessity for sustainable and long lasting presence. Equally, the challenges young designers face that were raised throughout the symposium will need to be studied and researched in the short years ahead as well as the eventual founding of the first school of Fashion and Design in Dubai.
Caspian Arts Foundation and London College of Fashion look forward to elaborating on their collaboration that will delve further into Fashion and Contemporary Culture, the important role Dubai places in bringing about an official creative economy within the region, through workshops and a major conference.
Caspian Arts Foundation and London College of Fashion would like to thank all the sponsors, supporters and attendees that have contributed to making the Art of Dress event so unique and a great success.