United Arab Emirates: The GCC gateway to the fashion World

February 4, 2024
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In the tapestry of global fashion, the UAE emerges not just as a trendsetter but as a key player in the import and export of ready-made garments. From being the top GCC importer to serving as a bustling export hub, the UAE's garment industry weaves together tradition, luxury, and innovation in a captivating narrative. As the market continues to evolve, businesses must stay attuned to consumer preferences and market dynamics to thread their way to success in this vibrant landscape.

Key Statistics: UAE Is the GCC Regional Trade Hub for Ready-Made Garments

Dubai, with its strategic location and world-class infrastructure, proudly leads the GCC as the top importer of ready-made garments. The region's proclivity for luxury fashion and its pivotal role as a global trading hub have positioned the UAE at the forefront of the garment trade, with import figures consistently reflecting its dominance.

In 2022, UAE imports of ready-made garments reached (USD 6.2 billion) with an increase of 26% compared with 2021. Since UAE serves as an export hub for the region, about (USD 3.8 billion) are re-exported again leaving a balance of (USD 2.4 billion) in the country for domestic consumption. China leads the list of suppliers contributing with (USD 1.75 billion) accounting for 16% from total imports. Following closely are India, Bangladesh, Italy, Vietnam, and Turkey with shares (15.8%), (10.4%), (9.2%), (6.3%), and (5.9%) respectively. (Source: UN Comtrade)

The growing supply of ready-made garments from Asian nations to the UAE can be attributed to the substantial Asian diaspora hailing from India, China, and Bangladesh. Their robust desire for reasonably priced and top-notch clothing has become a key driving force in this trend.

As for the top imported products; women’s suits, blazers, and jackets hold the first space with values reached (USD 1.3 billion) contributing to (20.7%) of total imports, followed by T-shirts, Man’s suits and jackets, and then Jerseys and Pullovers with shares of (13.4%), (8.5%) and (8%) respectively.

Source: ITC – Trade Map / UAE Imports for Ready-Made Garments

Threads of Change: UAE Paves the Way for Sustainable Fashion

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a rapidly growing country that has been making strides in promoting sustainable fashion practices. The UAE recognizes the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry, and various stakeholders in the country have been taking steps to promote sustainable fashion practices. The government, fashion brands, designers, and consumers are all playing a role in this movement. 

The government of the UAE has implemented policies and initiatives to promote sustainable fashion practices. For example, the Dubai Design District (d3) launched the Dubai Sustainable Fashion Pact in 2020, a commitment to promoting sustainable practices in the fashion industry. Additionally, the UAE has launched several initiatives aimed at reducing waste and promoting sustainable production, including the “Zero Waste to Landfill” campaign and the “Circular Economy” initiative.

Fashion brands and designers in the UAE are also making efforts to incorporate sustainable practices into their operations. Brands like Stella McCartney, H&M, and Gucci have launched sustainable collections and initiatives in the UAE. Local designers are also incorporating sustainable materials and practices into their collections, such as using organic cotton and upcycling materials. 

Consumers in the UAE are increasingly becoming aware of the environmental impact of their clothing choices and are demanding more sustainable options. Retailers are responding to this demand by introducing sustainable clothing lines and educating consumers about sustainable fashion practices.



Unlocking Opportunities: Navigate the UAE Market with International Trade Fairs

In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a prominent player in the world of international trade fairs, solidifying its position as a global hub for business networking, innovation, and economic collaboration. The country's strategic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and visionary leadership have turned it into an ideal destination for hosting diverse and impactful trade exhibitions.

Exhibiting at trade shows offers several benefits to your business. Unlike other marketing activities, exhibitions and trade shows offer a wide platform for brands to showcase their products, services and communicate their key message to a more receptive audience. Exhibition participation can help you meet with customers who are pro-actively looking for a deal, which will result in you being able to collect more leads.

The International Apparel and Textile Fair (IATF): A leading trade show for the fashion and textile industry, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC). The DWTC is an impressive exhibition and event center, centrally located in the vibrant city of Dubai. The IATF has been held twice a year, usually in April and November, since 2014 and has established itself as a significant platform for business relationships in the industry. Dubai is a major trade and business hub, serving as a connection point between Europe, Asia, and Africa. This facilitates access to international markets and promotes networking among professionals from various regions. You can get more information about the fair through their website:  


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