His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued a decree to set up the Dubai Council for Design and Fashion.
The move comes as part of a series of initiatives to support the talent and promote creativity across the emirate of Dubai. The decree reflects the strategic importance the Emirate is placing on the design and fashion sector as it seeks to further diversify the economy  and increase the talent pool.
The announcement is the next step in Dubai’s commitment to this sector, and follows the joint efforts of the Executive Council of Dubai and the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (DTMFZA) to develop a roadmap for the design and fashion industry.
In June, plans for the Dubai Design District, which will be created adjacent to the Business Bay area of Dubai, were announced.
One of the Design and Fashion Council’s initial mandates will be to oversee the delivery of a comprehensive strategy that will outline and guide the growth and development of the Emirate’s fashion industry.  The new council is designed to nurture and support regional talent and existing design events and initiatives that recently attracted design enthusiasts on regional and international levels.
The objectives outlined in the decree include fostering SME growth in the fashion and design industry, developing international market appetite for regional and Emirati design products, increasing jobs in the sector, providing an additional appeal for tourism to the Emirate,  and increasing the overall contribution of the creative sector to GDP.
The council will also plan and execute events related to the design and fashion sector.
Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, Chief Executive Officer of Business Registration & Licensing Sector at the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, told Gulf News that this move will have unprecedented impact not only on the fashion business sectors but on the overall fashion industry.
“Having a Design and Fashion Council in Dubai will be fixing solid roots for the industry overall and ultimately will create a comprehensive sphere for this business.”
“While the Middle East and Mena region are thirsty for such a council, Dubai Design and Fashion Council will be the fourth worldwide after Italy, Paris and New York.”
The Council will put Dubai on the map of world fashion design, Al Saadi added.
In Dubai, there are about 60 fashion designers licenced by the DED, however, this business will be growing further not only in the number of designers but workshops, factories, franchisees, brandowners, exhibitions on the local and international level, he said.
Al Saadi said that the council will be able to find out academies and institutes to train and nurture talents across the emirates.
Finding a council for design and fashion in Dubai will lead to having policy-making authority, concrete legal infrastructure, growth monitoring and control body, he added.
Walid Atallah, International Fashion Designer based in Dubai, described Shaikh Mohammad’s initiative as a supportive move.
“Having a Design and Fashion Council in Dubai is setting a main pillar where fashion industry can stand on.
“The council can also help businesses related to fashion industry to achieve high level of professionalism and competency on the local and international level.
Atallah, who started up his business 20 years ago in Dubai, said: “Dubai has brought me to the international scene.”
However, he added that the council will bring international exposure to the whole industry not only in Dubai or UAE but it will help to promote this business in the region overall.
He also remarked that the fashion industry has witnessed a remarkable leap during the last years in the UAE and could attract a lot of Emirati talent who proved themselves as a serious designers and brand owners in the market.
Pointing to the importance of nurturing young talent, Atallah remarked: “I do always train and adopt young talents to help them setting up their business in design and fashion. However, the council will be a solid ground for these talents.”
Yaqut Schmid, Designer and Brand Owner of WHYESSE, said that the council will boost confidence in the fashion industry in Dubai market as well as it will attract more brand owner and designers to set up more businesses in the emirate.
Moreover, she added: “The move will be very helpful to run our businesses in Dubai. The council will create an ideal platform and an organisational body to discuses all issues related to this business sector.”
“In Dubai, we need proper networking, cooperation as well as a unified body to regulate our business and respond to our requirements. With this council, our business will grow faster and easily not only in the local market but in the international one as well,” she added.