The mall experience
While we have spoken a lot regarding the future of online fashion, there is still no beating the mall experience. According to Jane at WGSN, ‘The entire shopping experience is fundamental to the way of life in the Middle Eastern market where women have an expendable income, and the touch and feel of product is vital. Therefore, the enclosed mall with individual designer stores will become even more important, particularly since many designers have moved away from the modest clothing that has been a part of Middle Eastern culture, embracing new and extremely glamorous trends in single shopping.’
So while moving with technology is key and convenient for consumers, in a country where shopping is so important, there is still room for our incredible malls and shopping districts, something that’s set to grow even more in 2017 with new openings and expansions across the country.
It feels like every time I go out I stumble across a new mall. Just this weekend I happened to come across the latest mall by Nakheel in Al Fursan, which has fashion and beauty stores including Tips and Toes and Beyond the Beach, as well as a huge Spinneys. Just opposite my home, work has begun on Al Khail Avenue, which will be a huge shopping and dining complex. It seems there is no end in sight when it comes to building more and more malls in the country, and with so many newly developed areas there’s no doubt there will be even more places to shop this time next year.
The Dubai Mall, already the largest in the world, is getting a 300-square-metre expansion this year, giving space to more luxury fashion retailers than ever before and also (which we are thrilled about) adding more space to its Fashion parking area. Production also continues on Mall of the World as well as on two new malls on Palm Jumeirah (we hope they expand the parking here, too!) It’s fair to say, then, shopping in the UAE is as popular as ever and with so many options it’s likely fashion lovers from all around the globe will be flocking to splash the cash.
It’s also all about department stores, with two major openings this year: City Walk in Dubai is getting an outpost of French department store BHV in September; while over in Dubai Festival City, the city is finally getting a taste of the Far Eastern shopping experience with the opening of a Robinsons from Singapore this spring.
Abu Dhabi is also upping its mall ante with two mega malls due to be completed in early 2018. Reem Mall, which is currently being built on Reem Island, will have 450 stores as well as the world’s largest indoor snow play centre. Al Maryah centre will feature the city’s first Bloomingdale’s as well as the region’s first branch of world-renowned department store Macy’s.
Singaporean department store Robinsons will come complete with a living wall designed by botanist Patrick Blanc New malls on the horizon include (from top) Mall of the World in Dubai, and Al Maryah Centre and Reem Mall in Abu Dhabi