Key Market For Emerging Modest Fashion
The UAE will be a key Modest Fashion market for international brands, on the back of its large Muslim population base, with over 75% of the population being Muslim. The global fashion industry is increasingly adopting the Modest Fashion trend, which has often been largely associated with religious observance by the conservative Islamic culture. Mainstream international brands have started to expand their clothing lines into the Modest Fashion segment, launching across the Middle East and also stocking Modest Fashion products in western markets. Modest Fashion is best known as the modernisation of traditional Islamic attire with the purpose of looking stylish while remaining relatively covered up.
A wide range of brands, from luxury, fast-fashion and sport have launched their Modest Fashion collections since 2016. Italian luxury brand, Dolce and Gabbana, launched its first collection of hijabs and abayas for the Middle East in early 2016. In June 2016, Burberry launched its exclusive Ramadan collection, while sports brand Nike also launched its Pro Hijab for female Muslim athletes in March 2017. In the fast-fashion segment, Japan-based Uniqlo has already launched its second Modest Fashion range.
The high proportion of spending on clothing and footwear in the UAE will further underpin our view that the UAE is a key growth market for the emerging Modest Fashion trend. We forecast that over our five-year forecast period to 2021, the UAE consumer will allocate 7.7% of total spending on clothing and footwear. This will exceed western markets such as the UK, US as well as France, where spending on clothing and footwear will range from 3.4% to 5.6% of total household spending in 2021.
Key to this is the demand and supply dynamics that are on offer in the UAE. From a demand perspective we highlight the high proportion of young adults in the country. The 20-39 age bracket is forecast to account for 50.3% of the country's total population in 2017, with the female population of this age group steadily increasing from 1.1mn in 2017 to 1.2mn by 2021. This age group, specifically the female cohort will be the key drivers of demand for Modest Fashion, as theirs is the age group to embrace new trends and that also have higher levels of disposable income to spend within the fashion sector.
In terms of supply the UAE's fashion retail sector in general is benefitting from investment. The country's mall development is booming offering real estate options for international fashion retailers to set up shop, with large shopping centres in place and a substantial number of large shopping malls in Dubai and Abu Dhabi planned for completion by 2020.
There is even greater potential, especially on the luxury side in the UAE market, with the country boasting a wealthy consumer base. We highlight that in GDP per capita terms the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi (reaching USD43,605 and USD71,580 respectively) out rank regional and global averages, with these regions GDP per capita levels forecast to reach just USD7,915 and USD12,440 respectively in 2021.