WHAT DOES UAE VISION 2021 MEAN TO ITS FASHION INDUSTRY?

UAE Vision 2021 – Making UAE one of the 10 most sustainable countries in the world

Our seven states are but 44 years old but the growth of our country, the strong heritage and the richness of culture are palpable. In the United Arab Emirates we enjoy one of the most successful and dynamic fashion industries in the world. But where are we heading? What is the future of our fashion industry? When it comes to sustainable fashion, can we keep up with the competition and perhaps even surpass them?

Fashion is so important to the UAE. Our humble origins as a country reliant on fishing and the fading pearl industry were altered dramatically since oil was discovered in the 1950s. When Abu Dhabi became the first of the emirates states to start exporting oil in 1962, we saw the first signs of the industrial and social success that we enjoy today. The areas of business, fashion, tourism and construction have all reaped the benefits of the oil trade which sits at the heart of our success. By 2000 Dubai was a brilliant cosmopolitan hub and regarded as the financial gateway of the Middle East. Even in 2009 when the global financial climate was severely rocked, we managed to hold our own and although areas such as property and construction met difficulties, we still blossomed when it came to tourism and retail. Our growing fashion industry refused to be hindered and we have only grown from strength to strength.

Our forefathers identified what resources were available to them and utilised them to the best of their abilities, using oil as a way to great cultural and financial success. This resourcefulness and determination is very much part of our culture, and these are qualities that we need to celebrate in order to keep evolving towards a better future. Oil stocks are depleting fast, we can no longer rely on them and fashion is the 2nd largest of the key industries that are draining these precious resources. It is our responsibility to look at the changing world, to embrace the need for sustainability and to celebrate our originality and ingenuity. The shift in industries is changing, the need for sustainability and ethical choices is increasing.

Our country is built on industries and fashion is one of the top industries in UAE. We have the creativity, sense of luxury and success to compete with the global fashion market and to push forwards, eventually making our glorious country the next global fashion hub. The United Arab Emirates could enjoy the sophisticated success that cities such as Paris and Milan are renowned for. Can this realistically be achieved? Only if we embrace sustainability. When we look at the bigger picture, we need to consider that our resources will eventually run out but nowadays more consumers are making ethical choices. Sustainability matters. If we want to be part of the constantly evolving fashion world then we need to keep up with the changing demand. Customers are seeking out sustainable fashion and we have the wealth, the creativity and the business sense to meet their demands. Because this is the right thing to do and it makes good business sense.

The UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda focuses on making substantial environmental improvements in areas such as the quality of air, the preservation of water resources and the contribution of clean energy. All of these areas are hugely important in the fashion industry. Fashion production methods traditionally rely on excessive quantities of water, the use of pollutants and the depletion of our precious supply of fossil fuels. Our country’s unique vision for the future, shows that we can be pioneers in the field of sustainability, but we must not neglect our growing fashion industry. In order to stay ahead of the game, to remain cutting edge and current, we need to fully embrace the changes that have been laid out in the National Agenda. We need to support our home-grown fashion designers and encourage the most environmental and ethical production methods. We need to do our bit to protect this beautiful world.

We have the power to make a mark on the world, but let it not be a damaging scar as we deplete our world of her resources. Let it be our pioneering spirit, our ethical intelligence and our sustainable fashion that celebrates the true heart of UAE culture. The essence of our culture has been in, not only evolving with the tide but in being at the helm. Sustainability is the future, and we need to be the pioneers. And we will.

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