Buyers Where Art Thou?

Panel Discussion “Buyers Where Art Thou?” – Cynthia Kattar/ Rozan Ahmed/ Dana Malhas/ Dina Jisr

buyers where art thou

Journalists at HIA Magazine, leading Arabic monthly magazine in the Middle East and experts from the industry are now speaking of fashion and fashion consumers. Taking part in the panel discussion are Cynthia Kattar, Fashion and Beauty Editor for Hia magazine, Rozan Ahmed, activist, motivational speaker and founder of, Dana Malhas, Creative Director & Saudi Co-Owner of CREAM Boutique in Jeddah, and Dina Jisr, furniture & jewelry design expert. Entitled “Buyers Where Art Thou?”, the panel discussion is focusing on the multiple relationships between culture, commerce, branding and consumer demand.

First thing designers should understand is that they have to connect more closely with buyers, boutique owners. It’s true that customers love buying what’s trendy and what’s hot, but designer clothing is often not wearable and provides the creator’s own vision with no thought of the consumer. However, retailers at stores and boutiques know exactly what is in demand. They can tell you what works and what don’t. That’s why the relationship between customers, boutique owners and designers is important. After all, in the Arab world, everyone always wants to look fabulous. So, more designer fashion should be available.

For ordinary fashion lovers style is a huge thing. However, there is a big difference between fashion and style – we shouldn’t focus on what is out there, but explore and develop our own style. This is why buyers are rarely interested in high-end fashion, eccentric, futuristic and simply unwearable pieces.

The discussion continues with the suggestion that right now, entrepreneurship is exploding in the Middle East. There are many young designers who are about to create their brands and identity. In order to create an identity, which buyers would like and purchase, young designers should work together with buyers. Of course, the idea of fashion existing only for itself sounds so pleasantly decadent, but this is far from recognition. A good idea is presenting a Junc show – it will give the designer more exposure.

Another important thing is that buyers should be encouraged to buy from local designers. In order to find better and higher quality fashion, customers should support local talent. Naturally, Fashion Forward is designed to support and promote local and regional designers. This way, it not only helps develop the entire industry, but helps small fashion and design businesses to grow.

According to many people, regional designers create mostly couture and they can’t reach many consumers. However, on the first day, Fashion Forward showcased very trendy, fresh and wearable designs by emerging talents. On the other hand, couture designers have their narrow, specialized clientele. And their pieces are often sold at higher prices. The truth is, in prêt-a-porter, there is not much space to develop and exist, because it’s monopolized. In couture, designers have more freedom and opportunities.

So, what could help both designers and buyers? Collaboration, of course.

Designers, especially young ones, should learn their craft well. Then, it takes even more time to mature and understand all aspects of the business. You can have talent, but that’s just the first step. Greatness only comes with hard work.

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