A new UAE-based online boutique is paving the way for emerging global designers. Words Caitlyn Davey
A new UAE-based online boutique is paving the way for emerging global designers.
As e-boutiques increase in popularity, Dubai’s most fashionable folk are looking for new and dynamic designs, not typically found in run-of-the-mill high- street stores and mega malls.
Online Abu Dhabi-based shop The Style Chamber is one such e-boutique that is breaking the mould, with unusual and fashion-forward designs. Partner of The Style Chamber and head of marketing Maryam Al Hamly says the boutique aims to inspire residents to do their online shopping here rather than order abroad.
‘The younger style set is clued into the fashion world – and there is an appreciation for obscure designers who can make a bold impression. As such, Style Chamber recognised a void in the region that it wanted to fill, so we provide an exciting destination where consumers can discover exquisitely crafted and daring designs. It seems that Emiratis tend to do more spending when abroad, but the UAE is renowned for the buying potential of its shoppers – so what better place to introduce emerging global brands?’
Labels are pushing style boundaries in 2014’s spring/summer geometric lines, with high-rise shoes, asymmetrical dresses and jumpsuits, and cylindrical clutches. Director of sales Lester Lagoda says: ‘They often challenge certain norms particular to the region. For example, look at designer Demoo Parkchoonmoo’s anti-glam aesthetic, or Kei Kagami’s almost animalistic heelless shoes on pedestals.’
The products are sourced from across the globe, with a focus on local talent. Maryam explains: ‘With our next upcoming season, we plan to explore and carry local talent. We are reaching out to the local fashion design schools – as well as designers across the Middle East – who are aligned with the company’s aim to promote new and progressive brands. We want to offer daring options that challenge the more conspicuous brands.’
The website sells everything from scarves and dresses to phone cases and men’s trousers. The products do not follow the high-street trends – instead they opt for personality and individuality. Maryam says. ‘We look for designers that have their finger on the pulse of cutting edge. We want to see something slightly conceptual – but something that will also be wearable beyond a season. We champion designers that ignore the more conventional themes of design and offer something new – The Style Chamber wants to offer fashion selections that enhance the individuality of its clientele.’
The Style Chamber was originally founded in 2012, as an alternative to mainstream outlets and the qualified staff ensure the e-boutique maintains its roots as a unique and creative portal for sharing the latest and greatest in global designs.
Lester says the team procures the lines from various events and locations. He says: ‘We source at major fairs, more intimate showrooms, online and by word of mouth. The means through which we find innovative collections plays a secondary role to the actual collections themselves. We seek strong brands with a singular view that shun convention and enhance the individuality of the wearer. Good design offers something genuinely new and bestows a certain kind of energy when worn.’
Maryam says: ‘The Style Chamber is currently firming up its roster of local designers. One of The Style Chamber’s initiatives is to work with students in local fashion schools by offering them a platform to showcase their work – we have a keen interest in pulling from their graduate collections.
‘In terms of challenges, Style Chamber has a strong belief in potential for talent – but this talent needs to also gain exposure beyond the borders of the UAE. With access to customers from Europe, the States and South East Asia, we believe The Style Chamber can assist with offering increased visibility to home-grown talent.’ www.thestylechamber.com
More local e-boutiques to explore
The Exposed House With the tagline ‘where fashion meets art’, the Exposed House sells accessories and clothing that doubles up as art. www.theexposedhouse.com
Zahr Art A great place to pick up unusual and special pieces from across the globe, Zahr Art offers products that are ethically sourced, environmentally friendly and one-of-a-kind. www.zahrart.com
Judith Hobby Judith Hobby Clothing offers designs that are practical and stylish and specifically designed for the UAE’s working women. www.judithhobbyclothing.com