Middle East hot for new Aussie frocks on their block

Australia’s new fashion brat pack have the Middle East clamouring for their designs after being introduced to Dubai retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Harvey Nichols and the region’s highest profile buyers from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Austrade’s Business Development Manager (Fashion) Asha James said following Austrade Dubai’s annual fashion event, AusStyle, retailers placed substantial orders for the new wave of young Aussie designers to hit the world’s catwalks including brands Camilla (Sydney), Jacqui Alexander (Melbourne), Yeojin Bae (Melbourne), Madame Marie and Hussy (Sydney) and Spencer & Rutherford (Melbourne).

"These designers, already the darlings of celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Paris Hilton, Cate Blanchett and Crown Princess Mary, were introduced to the local fashion scene at a glitzy event at Dubai's chicest night spot, The Apartment Lounge and Club," Ms James said.

"They absolutely wowed Dubai, indisputably the region’s trendiest capital, with their fresh and vibrant designs. "

"The Middle East, but particularly Dubai, is a very brand orientated market - customers are willing to pay high price points for well known, high quality brands and this is reflected in the high number of exclusive and prestigious brands available in the market."

"Despite this, fresh new designers who are innovative, cutting edge and who use fabrics suitable for this market such as cotton and silk will do well - as we have seen with this new crop of Aussies. "

"There are tremendous opportunities here with locals enjoying a tax free environment and therefore a high disposable income and significant purchasing power. The local retail scene is rapidly developing and by 2009, retail activities in shopping centres will contribute about 50% to Dubai's GDP."

Camilla Franks, owner of Camilla, said she was completely overwhelmed by the response to her collection.

"I know all of us were amazed at the positive response to us as completely unknown brands in that market," Ms Franks said.

"Camilla seemed to align really well as a high end label that acknowledges that a lot of women like to cover up but still be sexy and beautiful.""We received incredible support from Austrade and this was represented in the amazing interest and sales figures from the event. In just a week, and as an unknown brand, we secured $100,000 in sales."

"This was just the tip of the iceberg however and from this opportunity other doors have opened including an offer from Harvey Nicols, Dubai, to fly me back to do a more detailed showing of my range in the next couple of weeks. Also one of my stockists has already placed a re-order because two Saudi Princess’s bought most of the delivery before it hit the shelves. I’ve even picked up a distributor in the UAE who wants to take me to Paris."

Austrade has an established fashion industry specialist based in the area who can provide support and assistance to potential exporters. The next fashion event for the Middle East is AusStyle 2007 (November 2007) and details are available from Asha James asha.james@austrade.gov.au

 

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