Business & Technology Review

A runway for aspiring designers


Last updated on August 30, 2021 at 01.39 pm
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In5, an enabling platform for tech, media and design startups, recently announced the official launch of the in5 Fashion Lab — a boutique production facility for emerging and established designers located next to Dubai Design District (d3).

The UAE has made great strides in enabling and empowering micro, small and medium-sized enterprises over the last decade and has firmly established itself as attractive global start-up capital. In line with the vision of our leaders to empower talent, the UAE has the most active start-up ecosystem in the region, with 33 of the 50 most-funded start-ups headquartered across the country. Among them are in5 startups such as e-commerce platform eyewa and buy-now-pay-later platform Tabby, as well as those on its alumni network like Crowd Analyzer.

The in5 Fashion Lab is a design-to-delivery agile facility with state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment where aspiring designers are provided with the support, guidance and mentorship to launch their own fashion brands. Led by a team of experts with years of experience in major fashion houses such as Marc Jacobs, local creatives have the opportunity to create new collections across women’s ready-to-wear, prêt-à-porter, children’s clothing, menswear and modest fashion.

The in5 Fashion Lab is part of in5 Design, a creative centre for start-ups located near Dubai Design District (d3). It offers a wide range of services to in5 members and the wider public at competitive rates, including apparel design, textile design, sampling, grading, production, business development, mentorship and material procurement.

Some of its key benefits include small-scale manufacturing with low minimum order quantities, which allows aspiring designers to start small by making between one to 1,000 units before scaling up. Its proximity to d3 also provides an inspiring environment for aspirational creatives to work in close proximity to some of the world’s biggest fashion brands such as Dior and Burberry.

Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, said: “After His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced plans to transform the emirate into a global hub for the creative industries by 2025, we immediately began to explore how we could contribute to this important initiative.”

In Al Suwaidi’s view, 2021 will be a pivotal year for the UAE’s startups. The government has created actionable solutions to support the ecosystem effectively. Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, is keen to boost the startup economy with initiatives such as Operation 300bn, business-friendly policies and state-of-the-art infrastructure. The UAE is well-positioned to attract entrepreneurs from all over the world and cement its position as a global talent hub.

He added: “Through the in5 Fashion Lab, we believe we can develop and empower a new cadre of homegrown leaders that inspires growth in our knowledge and innovation-based economy. Since its inception in 2013, in5 has played a key role in cementing Dubai’s position as the region’s leading startup and innovation hub. We provide an enabling environment with state-of-the-art infrastructure, mentorship programmes and access to angel investors and venture capitalists to turn new ideas into commercially viable ventures. The in5 Fashion Lab is an exciting next step forward in our continuous efforts to deliver on the UAE’s vision and inspire the next generation of talent.”

Expo 2020 Dubai

The UAE will bring together 195 countries and 25 million people during Expo 2020 Dubai, which will undoubtedly have a positive knock-on effect for the region’s SME sphere. The inflow of international investors looking to support the next big idea will present a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to raise capital and accelerate growth plans. “We believe the world fair will serve as a springboard for tech, media and design start-ups; one that will raise their profile, establish stronger relationships with industry leaders and create new pathways to exchange knowledge and ideas — all of which are vital to creating successful companies,” outlines Al Suwaidi.

Future looks bright

The Dubai Creative Economy Strategy aims to double the creative industries’ GDP contribution to five per cent of Dubai’s economy by 2025, up from 2.6 per cent at the end of 2020.

With this move, in5 aims to accelerate its commitment to support aspiring design entrepreneurs and start-ups. Over the next five years, in5 seeks to empower a new cadre of homegrown designers by providing them access to a state-of-the-art boutique design-to-delivery manufacturing facility to launch their own fashion lines. Furthermore, we will present networking opportunities and a platform to connect with investors so anyone who has a dream to break into the fashion world has an opportunity to do it. This is part of the country’s mandate to create a knowledge and innovation-based economy in line with our leadership’s vision.

The in5 Fashion Lab is available to all in5 members. The wider public is welcome to use its industry-grade equipment, which includes top-of-the-range German and Japanese sewing, stitching and cutting machines at competitive prices.

 
 
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