What is Haute Arabia?
As we open our membership this week we have been flooded with enquiries and are so pleased you’re looking forward to something great as much as we are! In light of this I think it’s time we published some more information about the concept and vision behind Haute Arabia, the fashion incubator.
Haute Arabia was the brainchild of two separate individuals who came together to form one unique platform. I met Fatema Choudhury (co-founder) (who had just turned 16) after she sent us a proposal for VC funding in my previous position as Head of the UK office for Qatar Venture Capital. Her proposal was for VC funding for her concept ‘Tresor-de-Net’, a luxury fashion portal and membership platform offering a single destination for women seeking conservative and modest fashion from the world’s leading designers in one place. Fed-up of having to trawl through pages and pages of sites before coming across a suitable item for a modest but elegant style Fatema wanted to create a platform of difference.
I had also been observing this market carefully having been heavily involved in supporting brands inspired by Arabian and Islamic history looking to break into international markets. I found a few interesting problems that this flurry of young talent was facing and our brand distribution team supported them to overcome their various challenges, which included;
– Identifying international distribution opportunities;
– Branding and strategy review;
– Business development support;
– Identifying optimal supply-chain resources, i.e. new manufacturers/ more efficient ways to produce products;
– Market studies to understand the different market needs,
– Up-to-date changes and trends,
– PR in connecting celebrity names to their brand supporting their international recognition.
– Ethical considerations in supply chain, production and processes.
Heavily involved in Venture Capital in the last few years whereby we invest in companies that we see have high growth potential I noted that there were no platforms to offer VC funding especially for women, so whilst standard VC firms place no distinction on women funding, interestingly most of the great VC funds are run by men and the great companies you hear about are also largely male dominant. So the idea of a platform that supports women’s entrepreneurship with a team who understand the specific nature of female products was well overdue.
Interestingly there was a recent article on marketing to women entitled “Sports brands to go beyond p ink to woo women” and in the US a marketing firm called Women’s Marketing Institute is focused entirely on this issue, a belief that women’s relationship with media needs to be understood and women don’t want to be sold pink Nike sweat tops. Women actually have surprisingly non-streotypical tastes. Many women are buying from the men’s department (I for one own only Nike Dri-Fit men’s wear in Navy blue and black! Not very pink). This and many other initiatives are noticing that women need their own direct tailored solutions and a male CEO or investment group might not quite understand the market for the said products.
With this in mind I started the development process of the Women’s Venture Fund .
I have committed that $1 of every $50 spent on the Haute Arabia e-commerce platform will go to developing the first real-money Women’s Venture Fund. The fund will enable us to provide vital start-up capital and funding for women who have a great product but no way to bring it to market.
So Haute Arabia, the fashion incubator was born as the world’s first fashion incubator focused on developing local talent from the Arab region. We launched with a landmark fashion show at London’s latest fashion hotel, The Bulgari Hotel Knightstbridge in September, 2012. Filmed by two crews, with international celebrity Muna AbuSulayman as keynote speaker and a night of customised cookies and High Tea for guests. We presented 9 designers from across the world to guests including artists, royal family members, fashion bloggers, buyers of the leading retail houses to journalists.
With an upcoming fashion show planned for June 15th, 2013 in Moscow we hope to follow with our success in London. The next London show is anticipated for our one-year anniversary in September 2013 to celebrate the brands who have grown immensely over this year.
Haute Arabia, the fashion incubator has offered a hub for advertising designer’s latest collections, fashion shows, insights, illustrations and stories of the journey of many fashion designers providing a hub of development and creativity.
Additional services provided by our team include brand consultancy, website and marketing design and development and marketing support, introductions for entry into new markets and we won contracts for designers across international stockists from Harrods to House of Fraser.
Our commitment is to maintain this platform of creativity, showcasing the development of designers as they grow and emerge as internationally recognised brands supporting them in their every step. We will deliver a customised and advanced e-commerce system with intelligent recognition based software.
Every time you’re in touch with Haute Arabia you should leave inspired.
We also want to see this generation of designers developing long-term sustainable businesses, businesses who represent ethical considerations and have a conscience as we believe this is fundamental for sustainable business.
We want to see this new talent and creativity bustling across international markets.
Keep following for Part II of About Haute Arabia to be posted tomorrow!