A global shopping destination for style-setters items , Dubai is a gateway to the world’s top designers, chic boutiques, specialty and local market gems.
Though some Nigerians assume that the best, latest and affordable fashion and luxury items can only be found in Western cities of Europe and the United States, unique shopping experiences and stylish mementos are also available in Dubai. In fact, you can pick up a few statement pieces or be inspired to create your own signature look in the beautiful and scenic Emirati city.
Unique shopping concepts
If you are a Nigerian shopper looking to get your hands on one-of-a-kind pieces, a range of designers have recently unveiled limited-edition collections that you can only find in Dubai. International retailer Sunglass Hut has partnered with Dubai’s All Things Mochi for two limited edition sunglass chain designs that also double as jewellery pieces. The bespoke accessories have been crafted using traditional methods of intricate embroidery to create whimsical prints.
Sergio Rossi’s “SR Walk” collection stars two sleek new limited-edition styles – Godiva and the SR Slingback – in three and five different colourways respectively, available exclusively at their boutique at The Dubai Mall.
Comptoir 102 is one of Dubai’s first boutique-meets-organic-cafe concepts, combining the love for food, fashion, and interior décor. The gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan friendly cafe is also home to a market of handpicked oils, healthy snacks, tea and organic, local grocery products. The boutique part of the concept features handpicked styles from international designers, unique furniture pieces, quirky gift items as well as the brand’s first in-house jewellery line.
S*uce has been Dubai’s destination for a chic selection of casuals and evening wear since 2004, with five outlets across the city. The brand champions local and regional designers across the fields of fashion, art, accessories and homewares. You can also browse specialty shops like S*uce Rocks for the latest collections from regional labels, and S*uce On-Sea for beach and resort wear.
The Cartel is a Dubai-based fashion platform and concept store founded in 2012 as a creative space that houses edgy and unusual independent brands. The store currently has a portfolio of over 50 international, regional and local designers ranging from women’s wear, men’s wear, bags and accessories available for purchase in their flagship showroom in Dubai Design District (d3) as well as online.
The Good Life is the place to be for true sneakerheads, featuring some of the rarest kicks in Dubai. The brand prides itself on developing sneaker culture within the region with its access to the latest drops, unique styles, and most coveted collections. The Alserkal Avenue-based store was originally founded in Beirut before opening its second branch in Dubai.
Dubai is also sprawling with a wide range of trendy boutiques and stores that go to great lengths to source rare and limited-edition items.
Teeb Emirates Perfumes is one of Dubai’s oldest perfumeries, run by Indian expat Yousuf Mohammed Ali Madappan who has been concocting bespoke perfumes for 30 years. Based in Deira’s Gold Souk, the store houses more than 10,000 scents, used to create over 200 fragrances every day – each more unique than the other.
Flip Side is Dubai’s only independent record store, housing the best vinyl from across all genres. Designed to be a hub for the music community, the store also holds monthly sessions with DJs in the local music scene and hosts music production seminars as well as documentary screenings.
Comicave is a one-of-a-kind pop culture merchandise and collectibles store in Dubai, bringing high-end collectibles to pop culture fanatics – be it statues, sculptures, action figures, prop replicas and memorabilia from the most recognised and notable studios from around the world.
Noble Collection is a movie merchandise, props and collectibles store tucked away in The Dubai Mall, where you can pick up all kinds of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Marvel and DC Comics-related memorabilia.
Bargains on designer brands
With all the fantastic luxury fashion available in Dubai’s numerous malls and shopping districts, there are plenty of destinations to find marked down prices and delightful discounts. From big name luxury fashion brands to sports and high-street lines, you can find it all at the Italian-themed indoor shopping spot at The Outlet Village. The Dubai Outlet Mall is another shopping haven that houses big-name brands and designers, sold at a fraction of their original prices.
Bargain hunters in Dubai can also browse through curated selections of pre-loved finds, ranging from high street bargains to designer label steals for only a fraction of their original prices.
Bagatelle Boutique promises to authenticate all items by in-house experts prior to buying and reselling to new clients. Though they also have brand new items, a majority of the products sold at the store and their website are pre-loved items.
Garderobe is a treasure chest brimming with authentic pieces at a fraction of the original price – be it vintage jewellery, bags, designer dresses or shoes. Shoppers can browse the site’s listings or visit the shop on Jumeirah Beach Road.
No trip to Dubai is complete without a few souvenirs to help remind you of your unique desert adventures.
Camel milk chocolate is a true home-grown delicacy in Dubai. Combining the finest traditions of chocolate-making with creamy camel milk, Al Nassma premium camel milk chocolates contain an assortment of flavours including whole milk, dates, 70% cocoa and Arabian spices. If you don’t have too much of a sweet tooth, you can also take back a gift of handmade camel milk soap from The Camel Soap Factory, made in Dubai using 25percent camel milk.
For a taste of gourmet sweets and teas, make your way to VIVEL Patisserie, which features a collection of over 300 pastries – each full of exotic and unique flavours with influences from Europe, Middle East and Persia. They are uniquely produced and shaped by hand using the highest quality ingredients, and are favoured at some of the city’s most prestigious weddings and occasions.
Arabic coffee (or “Gahwa”) is a testament to the long tradition of coffee cultivation and consumption in the Middle East,and is a mark of traditional Emirati hospitality. It is typically spiced with cardamom, cumin, cloves and saffron and poured from a classic Arabian coffee pot called a “dallah” (which is pictured on the one-Dirham coin) and served in small cups without handles called “finjaan”.
While Dubai is home to a plethora of clothing stores and shopping malls, why not make your own outfit? Satwa, one of the city’s most diverse neighbourhoods, is the perfect place for a cash-effective couture experience. Choose from a plethora of fabrics available in an endless number of textile stores, and walk over to one of the many tailoring shops in the streets of Satwa. Within a few days (or even quicker, if you’re willing to pay a little more), you can have your own custom-made dress or suit.
For a truly unique souvenir of your visit to Dubai, why not create a custom gold pendant with your name in Arabic. Places like Cara Jewellers and other shops in Dubai’s glittering Gold Souk or Gold & Diamond Park offer reasonable prices for 18K gold with a quick turnaround so you can have your custom-made piece of jewellery ready before the end of your stay. Or perhaps you’re getting ready to pop the question, in which case you can design the perfect engagement ring.
Nothing beats a product made especially for you. For a unique purchase in Dubai, visit these specialist fashion artisans to see what they have to offer. Nike opened its largest store in the MENA region, and the world’s largest single-storey store, at Dubai Mall late last year, spanning 3,290 square metres. Here, you can personalise your shoes and clothing for free with laces, straps, buttons, markers and labels – and even get a unique artwork imprinted.
Italian Shoe Factoryis the ultimate place for ordering top quality bespoke footwear for every occasion in Dubai.With over 25 years of experience, they specialise in delivering exceptional handmade custom shoes worldwide from their store in Al Quoz. They can make a design from scratch or replicate an existing shoe that you adore – from wedding and special occasions to custom polo riding boots.
Much more than your average tailors, Scissors Tailoring Studio is also home to local label Rewita, a back-to-basics Indonesian designer specialising in pieces that can be customised. Select your favourite style of dress, coat, pants or blouse from the in-store templates, then add in your pick of patterns and fabric. Inspired by a piece you already own? The in-house seamstress can replicate your favourite design, turning out your dream outfit just days later.
These include Fashion Forward, an avant-garde gathering of fashion designers, connoisseurs and enthusiasts from across the Middle East. Happening from October 30 to November 2; and Arab Fashion Week organized by the Arab Fashion Council, the world’s largest non-profit fashion body. It is the only official fashion week dedicated to promoting Ready-to-Wear-Couture and Pre-Collections that define luxury fashion in Dubai and the Arab World. It holds from October 9 to 14.
There’s also International Fashion Week Dubai that brings together renowned and emerging international designers to showcase their talents. The retail-focused event also hosts a two-day lifestyle exposition by top designers and vendors. It will hold from October 17 to 19.