Dubai is famous for many things; its world-renowned attractions like the Burj Khalifa, its influx of influencers, the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood and its incredible water parks, to name but a few.
But one thing that the City Of Gold is especially well known for is its status as a nirvana for shopping. Indeed, Dubai is home to the world’s largest shopping centre, the Dubai Mall, where you can indulge in some retail therapy from designer houses such as Gucci and Armani.
That’s not all, though; there’s also a wide selection of high street stores and unique boutiques in several of the city’s other major skyscrapers, as well as an ancient appreciation for the art of textile and outlet villages where, remarkably for a place of such luxury, you can even snaffle a bargain. Hey, Dubai even boasts a theme park, Global Village, with a firm focus on cheap designer goods!
Only in Dubai, hey? Should you be visiting the City of Gold and are planning to live the high life in style, here are some of the best things to do in Dubai for fashionistas.
STAY IN STYLE AT THE ARMANI HOTEL
First things first, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Dubai is known across the globe for its endless list of luxurious places to stay, but if you love all things fashion, then the obvious place to lay your hat is a hotel dreamed up by a global luxury brand. Yep, the Armani Hotel bills itself as a ‘world of sophisticated beauty’, living up to that boast and then some.
Indeed, this designer hotel is a haven of luxury for fashionistas, combining couture with Armani’s signature minimalist design to create a luxurious environment to unwind and relax.
What’s more, with eight restaurants on site you’ll have abundant options for dinner and plenty of opportunities to flaunt the new wardrobe that you’ll be buying here, speaking of which….
ESCAPE THE HEAT AND SHOP TILL YOU DROP AT ALL THE MALLS
Dubai is world famous for its malls, that much we have already established. While, of course, they are wonderful for shopping, they also represent a great place to escape the sweltering temperatures. What’s more, these malls are equipped with food courts to satisfy all tastes and cravings, just in case all that shopping makes you hungry!
The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world with a whopping 1,200 shops, and should be your first port of call. But there are several other brilliant malls that you simply shouldn’t miss:
- Mall of the Emirates – Ideal for skiing in between shopping (really!)
- Jumeirah Emirates Shopping Boulevard – Ideal for luxury businesswear shopping
- Ibn Battuta Mall – Ideal for a themed mall with a frivolous side
- WAFI Mall – Ideal for an Egyptophiles
- Souk Madinat Jumeirah – Ideal for a more traditional bazaar shopping experience
- Dubai Marina Mall – Ideal for retail therapy with with a gorgeous waterfront view
Though Dubai does boast a metro, if you’re keen to truly do this thing in style then be sure to google “rent Ferrari in Dubai” to find that luxury car so you can go from mall to mall in the ostentatious way so beloved of the city. Oh, and when you’re shopping at a high-end store, be sure to ask what’s in the back as you may be able to get an off-season bargain!
If you’re a fashionista who likes to make their own clothes, or you simply have an appreciation for fine craftsmanship and finer materials, then the Textile Souk is a must visit. Here, you’ll find the closest thing to the traditional shopping style of the country from the days before the skyscrapers (and the prices) shot up. Oh, and as an extra added perk, there are lots of fake handbags in the souk.
Bartering is expected here and you should be able to get a little movement on prices. Though English is widely spoken in Dubai, to get a good deal and, moreover, to be polite, it’s a good idea to learn a little of the language. In Dubai, the Emirati dialect of Arabic is spoken, but a more standard Arabic will be understood everywhere.
THE GROWING INDIE SCENE
Dubai might be known for its mega malls, but as Lonely Planet reports “The city has a growing independent shopping scene, hidden in detached villas or smaller community malls that will ensure you go home with something more exciting than the ubiquitous Gucci, Prada or Chanel.”
As such, it’s actually an incredibly fashionable place, when you look beyond the more gaudy displays of wealth. We’ll defer to WHAT’S ON AE for a roundup of the best concept stores in Dubai, which include The Good Life, Kulture House, Summer Soul. and Urbanist, the latter of which we’re particularly fond of.
If you’re after big name brands for less, then a must visit is the Luxury Closet. As the Gulf News explains “It sells mostly luxurious pre-loved items from Chanel to Chopard, Dior to Dolce and Gabbana, Hermes to Louis Vuitton. They have massive selection of branded clothes, shoes, accessories and high-end watches from Cartier to Omega, Rolex to Hublot”.
ATTEND THE DUBAI SHOPPING FESTIVAL
If you’re looking for inspiration on the ideal date for fashionistas to visit Dubai, why not plan your trip around the Dubai Shopping Festival? This annual six week extravaganza is a shopaholic’s dream, with global brands rubbing shoulders with local artisans with super exclusive ranges, all set over a series of bespoke, themed outdoor markets.
This year, the Dubai Shopping Festival is happening from the 15th December 2021 to the 29th January 2022, and features live entertainment and plenty of fabulous food stalls as well as all things fashion.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Consumerism is the very DNA of Dubai and if you enjoy flashing the plastic, you’re in for a real treat in the City of Gold. Even if you’re of a thriftier disposition, there are bargains to be found in between the skyscrapers and amongst the bigger brands. Bon Voyage! Or, as they say in Dubai, ‘’رحلة سعيدة!’’