British luxury handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, who designed Catherine Middleton?s bags for her Royal Wedding to Prince William this summer, has signed a deal with Qatar?s SH Almana to open stores across the Middle East.
?We have just taken on a brand called Anya Hindmarch, which is a global power brand equivalent to Prada or Gucci,? Larabella Riaz, general manager of business development and strategic marketing at SH Almana Co, said on the sidelines of the Arabian Business Qatar Achievement Awards 2011 in Doha.
Anya Hindmarch is a British brand and already has a presence in Japan, US and the UK. It has no presence in the Middle East so far. The British designer was voted ‘Accessories Designer of the Year’ at the 2001 British Fashion Awards and her celebrity fans include Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Madonna, Claudia Schiffer, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Jemima Khan.
Riaz confirmed SH Almana Co. will be the exclusive licence holder and sole distributor of the British handbag designer and plans to open the first Anya Hindmarch-branded store in Dubai Mall, with further stores planned in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.
Essex-based fashion designer Anya Hindmarch opened her first store in 1987 in London’s West End and the brand now has around fifty stores in seventeen countries. The designer rose to prominence as a result of her bespoke bags, which allowed buyers to put their personal photographs printed onto a bag and the popular ?I?m Not a Plastic Bag? cloth bags.
US CELEBRITY FASHION
Along with branded handbags, a US-based fashion company whose customers include Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and actresses like Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Hilary Swank, said on Tuesday it has signed a deal to open shops in the Gulf region.
Tory Burch announced its partnership with Chalhoub Group, the distributor and retailer of luxury brands in the Middle East. With this agreement, Chalhoub Group holds the exclusive rights to distribute and retail Tory Burch products in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Tory Burch was launched in February 2004 as a lifestyle concept with multiple product categories, including ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes and jewelry. The first Tory Burch boutique in this region is planned to open in the autumn at Dubai Mall, the statement added.
“With fashion retail in exponential growth, we are delighted to join hands with Tory Burch for its development in the Middle East,” said Patrick Chalhoub, co-CEO of Chalhoub Group.?Several other Tory Burch boutiques are planned to open across Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait in 2012.
Lingerie is considered a growing retail market in the Middle East, bringing in $171m in 2010 alone, according to statistics from research consultancy Euromonitor.
American lingerie brand Baci is set to enter the Middle East market this year with plans to open 10 stores across the Gulf state by 2016. The first Baci store will open in Abu Dhabi Marina Mall before the end of September, with further openings planned in Dubai Mall, Dubai Festival City, Deira City Centre and Dubai Marina Mall in the near future.
?Lingerie is really a good bet in the Middle East, it?s something that works,? said Manda van Niekerk, general manager for United Fashion House, franchise partner for the brand.
?I want to concentrate on Abu Dhabi and Dubai first, open say the first three or four shops here and then move into the other emirates,? Niekerk said. Over the next four years, UFH is also planning stores on Al Reem and Yas Island.
US brand Frederick’s of Hollywood Group said it plans to launch at least 10 stores in six Middle Eastern countries over the next three years.
Many leading western fashion brands eye the Middle East for business growth. They want to reach out people who would like to own the products endorsed and used by western celebrities. To cater the needs of fashionistas, Dubai will be opening a concept Fashion Hotel, a 60-storey tower that features a resort, retail shopping outlets, theme restaurant, guest rooms with 4 diverse types of magnificent bedrooms, nightclub, all-day dining outlet, gym, sky lounge/skybar and a photo studio, all inspired by the Fashion TV brand.
Fashion pundits reckon it?s a high time for fashion growth in the oil-rich Gulf region.
Source: Arabian Business