Posted on January 03, 2019

The first ever Design District, which opens on Saturday as a main feature of the ongoing third Shop Qatar festival, will provide a strong platform to nurture Qatari talent and the local fashion industry, Alshaima Alshaikh of Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) has said.

To be held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC), the District brings a colourful showcase of pop-up shops, cafes, and more than 20 fashion shows and masterclasses along with live entertainment - all under one roof extending over two weekends from January 5 to 12. Fashion enthusiasts will find world-renowned designers from Paris to Mumbai showcasing their latest Spring/Summer collections and online-famous makeup artists offering beauty masterclasses and workshops, among others.

“We are very excited to be launching for the very first time the Design District, which kicks off this Saturday and extends over two weekends, offering a platform for local, regional, and international fashion designers and renowned makeup artists,” Alshaikh said while giving latest Shop Qatar updates to reporters yesterday at Mirqab Mall. “As with our other festivals we have always been very keen to provide platform for local entrepreneurs and talent to showcase their products and services, and this year Design District will be offering 75 spaces for these entrepreneurs and local businesses to showcase what they have been working on. We’re very happy that VCUQ  will have the largest space in the District,” she stressed.

Through a strong collaboration between Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA), which is another first for Shop Qatar, she said the District is expected to witness a lot of interaction between the public and fashion industry professionals. FTA is a non-profit organization aimed at raising the standards of emerging design talent in the MENA region.

“Qatar is definitely a hub for fashion, evident in the strong interest of local women and the youth in fashion coupled with a strong purchasing power, in addition to the presence of the VCUQ. There’s always this interest in fashion exchange whether in exporting our fashion trends or incorporating international trends in Qatari design; we consider Design District to be a very important platform for this exchange,” stressed Alshaikh. “We are happy big names in regional and international design will be here in Qatar and for the District to create this space foe exchange and we hope to provide that so we can continue to grow year on year and an example of that is we brought FTA on board as our partner to help incubate and develop our local talent,” she added.

With the official announcement of 2019 as Qatar India Year of Culture, Alshaikh said the cultural year is also in line with Shop Qatar and reflected in the Design District as well with five international Indian designers participating in the District, in addition to a concert by renowned Bollywood singing sensation Arjit Singh. “This is great news for the tourism sector because our efforts have been greatly focused on expanding our visitor source markets from Asia, particularly India. Last year we opened our first representative office in Mumbai aimed to attract more visitors to Qatar,” she added.

Mirqab Mall, which is taking part for the first time in Shop Qatar, will also be joining the Design District with a number of its brands. “We are the only mall that’s going to be featured in the Design District, which is a very nice concept and an opportunity not to be missed to further promote Mirqab Mall as a world class community mall,” said Fahim Matabdin, Marketing Manager at Al Mana Malls, the company which operates Mirqab Mall.

On Mirqab Mall’s first participation in Shop Qatar, Matabdin said the festival definitely helps in increasing footfall in the mall especially during the first phase of Shop Qatar which was the six-day National Day Trade Festival when most of their retailers offered up to 90 percent discount. “From December 15 to 20, our footfall was phenomenal;  we had literally double digit growth on footfall and during that period we noticed a lot of our customers were shopping for gifting. From December 15 until now, our footfall has reached over 400,000 customers which is really great specially for a world class community mall this size,” said Matabdin.

Al Shaikh also noted their strong partnership with public and private entities including with Embrace Doha which is offering authentic shopping experience in Souq Waqif as part of the festival as well as with Vodafone Qatar, Alfardan Motors, Katara Hospitality and Qatar Airways.

source: The Peninsula