Team TMN chat with Zahirah Variawa, Managing Director of Think Liquorice, to discuss this week’s Fashion Weekend event at Souk Madinat Jumeirah…
Tell us a bit about Fashion Weekend?
Fashion Weekend is a concept created by Souk Madinat Jumeirah to celebrate fashion in Dubai against the backdrop of the Souk and showcase what the venue has to offer.
Tell us about the concept behind Fashion Weekend …
Souk Madinat Jumeirah has historically been viewed as a destination to visit by tourists or guests from out of town. By working with the management team we were looking for a way to change that perception and showcase the establishment’s many other offerings to not just tourists but with a focus on residents as well. Fashion Weekend is only one of the initiatives that will allow people to see the diverse range of shopping and dining available. We also hope to grow this concept each year alongside the retail spread of the Souk. Fashion Weekend, along with other projects planned for the upcoming months, will open up the Souk to residents through collaborations and events to allow Dubai’s community to rediscover what is on offer.
What makes this event unique?
Unlike traditional fashion shows, Fashion Weekend takes place in the walkways of the Souk, as opposed to a catwalk. There will be interesting elements that bring the show to life and emphasise key components of the Souk Madinat Jumeirah brand.
Models will be interacting with the live entertainment and the guests as well. The show’s format is designed to make the clothing, as well as the event, a pop up feature during the day. Our focus is not to repeat the standard fashion show format, but rather offer a snapshot show that is fun, interactive and enjoyable without taking away from the other activities you may have planned at the Souk or in the city over the weekend.
How will Fashion Weekend be marketed differently from previous events at Souk Madinat Jumeirah?
The event marketing is focused primarily online. Thursday’s showing is aimed at press, bloggers and invited guests, but still open to the public. Souk Madinat Jumeirah receives great interaction globally across it’s social media pages and we wanted to use these events to build on that. Live feeds, video content and interactive posts before, during and after the event will be the key drivers. Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a lifestyle brand, and with that we want the events to be inclusive and enjoyable for all ages and nationalities.
It’s difficult to compare the marketing of Fashion Weekend to the marketing of previous events as it’s the first time the Souk brand is branching out and hosting events like this under it’s own banner.
Do you think it’s more difficult marketing Souk Madinat Jumeirah to UAE residents than it is to tourists and, if so, how?
I don’t believe it’s more difficult, it is just different. Tourists generally go looking for iconic locations – everything from the Arabesque architecture, style and traditional stores as well as the retail offerings within the souk. Residents are familiar with the Madinat but, given the many other choices available across the UAE market for shopping and dining, we need to work at reminding them of what’s on offer; and look to create unique experiences such as Fashion Weekend.
Can anyone attend Fashion Weekend?
Yes, it’s an informal ‘pop-up’ show in the walkway outside Costa.
How can media companies get involved in Fashion Weekend?
Easily! We love collaborating and are always open to ideas and partnerships to help build on this concept and others. To get involved, even in next week’s event, just drop the team an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Could you tell us more about who/what we can expect to see at Fashion Weekend?
Interactive runway shows with warm and friendly models working the walkways, live entertainment with a DJ and sax player as well as a free-to-attend fashion workshop with Kelly Lundberg talking about this season’s trends and how to travel smart while looking fabulous.
Are you planning to make this an annual event?
Yes. We’re starting small and intend to build on the concept each year.
What can media visitors expect to gain from Fashion Weekend?
Fashion Weekend will allow media and influencers to rediscover the Souk through the medium of fashion. They will not only get a good overview of the retail offering on the models and the runway, but by traveling through the walkways of the food, fashion, gift and signature stores. Through exercises like these we want to open up the souk to the media and remind them that it still is one of the most beautiful shoot locations, event locations and able to offer a unique mix of culture, shopping, dining, entertaining and more. It’s one of the only theatres in the city and the entire team are keen to welcome the media to consider and utilise these spaces. Coupled with the showcase of fashion, it will make for a short and sweet but enjoyable Thursday afternoon out of the office! The media show takes place at 12pm on the Thursday, May 19.
How do you think Fashion Weekend can/will be developed in the future?
As an agency we always strive to build on everything we do. A concept like Fashion Weekend has endless possibilities for growth, extending into and including the food and beverage sectors, as well as expanding the fashion workshop into an exhibition, panel discussion or series of events – the sky is really the limit. The concept is very malleable at this stage and as we work through the first few seasons I hope it will develop into a calendar highlight and take on a personality of its own.