Pre-loved fashion pop-up takes Dubai by storm

The Luxury Closet is the Middle East’s premier e-portal for authenticated pre-owned high fashion items. (Shutterstock)
Updated 09 July 2019
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Pre-loved fashion pop-up takes Dubai by storm

DUBAI: The Luxury Closet (TLC) is the Middle East’s premier e-portal for authenticated pre-owned high fashion items. It has been in the market since 2011 and made its maiden mall appearance a few days ago. Its pop-up format at Dubai’s Marina Mall will be open till October and houses about 500 secondhand fashion items, ranging from a crocodile skin Hermes Birkin to an animal print Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress. (The website has an inventory of more than 29,000 luxury items). 

Its timing could not be better. The RealReal, one of America’s leading on-line luxury resellers started trading on the NASDAQ last Friday and its share prices jumped by more than 40 per cent within the first few minutes of trading. As the backlash against excess consumption in the fashion industry grows, “pre-loved” fashion is the industry’s new buzzword.

America is the second largest market for Dubai-based TLC when it comes to buying — but when it comes to supply it is all about the Middle East. Women here are known to love their high-end shopping and TLC offers a great solution for off-loading pieces you may no longer want.

“When we first opened in this market we were not really well received but today the story has changed,” says Pablo Durante, chief marketing officer of TLC.

It seems the under-25s even in the GCC are more open to buying pre-loved items. For them platforms such as TLC are trading places where they can buy pieces they want and sell pieces they no longer desire. “It’s like a trading site,” explains Durrante.

Pop-ups such as the one in Marina Mall are a way of educating this market and showing the region there is also nothing wrong with buying secondhand pieces. “Brick and mortar spaces helps build trust,” says Durante.

You can find some real value buys — a Prada bag that if new might may cost you around 10,000 AED dirhams ($2,700) can be found at TLC for little more than 6,500 dirhams.

The plan for TLC is have more such spaces in the GCC—and one of the next ports of call could be Saudi Arabia. So, it looks as if you could soon be going to the mall to buy secondhand or, as the industry likes to call it, pre-loved fashion.


Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

Elie Jr. and Christina Mourad. (Social media)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

  • The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels

BEIRUT: Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab has been hailed by tourism chiefs for staging his son’s lavish wedding reception on home turf.
The influential Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon saluted Saab “for holding the wedding party of his son, Elie Jr., and the Lebanese bride, Christina Mourad, in Lebanon instead of abroad, as do tens of Lebanese leaders and lords.
“Holding wedding parties abroad has deprived the tourism sector as well as other sectors in Lebanon of important revenues that can revive the national economy,” the syndicate said.
The nonprofit body that represents restaurateurs, added that the glittering event had “turned the country into a huge wedding attended by more than 3,000 guests from inside and outside Lebanon.
“People shared their joy on social media, communicating Lebanon’s image of civilization and tourism to the world. This wedding filled Lebanese hotels, restaurants and nightclubs and stirred the economic cycle for more than 10 days before and after the wedding. We salute the man who loves peace and Lebanon a thousand times.”
Jean Abboud, president of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon (ATTAL), told Arab News: “The syndicate’s stance comes in response to a phenomenon that emerged a few years ago. Distinguished people have been holding lavish weddings for their children abroad, where they spend millions of dollars. This has not only been done by politicians, but also businessmen and senior employees, as if it has become a trend or an added value.”
The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels. “We have outstanding wedding planners who get employed to plan weddings abroad,” he added.
Abboud pointed out that the tourist season in Lebanon this year had so far been promising with the number of visitors from GCC countries, and especially Saudi Arabia, up on 2018 figures. He added that the 2019 draft budget approved by Parliament last week had not put “any burdens on the tourism sector.”
Chairman of the Hotel Owners Association in Lebanon, Pierre Al-Ashkar, estimated the cost of wedding parties held by Lebanese people abroad to be around $400 million, including hotel accommodation, purchases and transportation, in addition to the expenses of the wedding itself.
He said: “There is no longer a difference between politicians and businessmen who choose to hold their children’s wedding parties abroad. It is true that these weddings are no more than a few hundred, but their expenses are huge and, therefore, deprive Lebanon of this money.”
Al-Ashkar pointed out that the number of tourists choosing Lebanon this summer had risen, highlighting a significant 30 percent increase in the proportion of visitors from Europe.
“However, the number of tourists from GCC countries, especially Saudi Arabia, has not been as we had wished,” he added.
“Maybe this is because these tourists, who have not been visiting Lebanon for five to seven years, now have business in other countries or investments in tourist places outside of Lebanon, especially as some countries now offer incentives to attract tourists carrying certain passports and residence permits.”