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Doo-buy. Or Dubai. The place reeks of retail and driving along the large pathways that line this concrete jungle, you’d think there were no inhabitants humans in this place. Only looming buildings, speeding cars and lights. It’s only when you step into the malls that you see the hustle bustle of life. Aaah, the smell of retail, and it’s not just therapy when you’re shopping. Even when you’re window shopping, it’s retail aromatherapy!

So obviously, Doo-buy is the best place for fashion brands to flourish. Especially Pakistani fashion brands that attract South Asian socialites like bees to honey. Indeed, that is what one witnessed when Labels opened at Studio 8 on the lush Jumeirah strip. Studio 8 that day was a place that packed more LVs and Jimmy Choos than allowed in a healthy standard diet. There was nothing standard about these women. Diamonds and all, had this been Pakistan we would have had Brinks Security vans parked outside next to the Rolls, Mercedes and Lexuses that lined the main road. Security vans and armed guards.

“I would easily spend up to AED3000 (PKR 69,000) on a dress that I liked,” spoke one woman who had a pile of clothes – by Faiza Samee, Elan and Nickie Nina on her arms – on her arms. Indeed, I saw her swipe her card for at least four of them. “This is Dubai where the social circuit is very small. No one can afford (note the pun) to repeat clothes so no one wants to spend more than 3000 Dirhams on an outfit.”

Yeah. Okay. 3000 means 69,000 rupees. If I were a designer stocking at Labels I’d be seeing dollar signs fluttering around me like flies. Of course, not all designers will be popular in Dubai. It is the blingy, dressy types that will be priceless. And Sarah Belhasa, who owns and operates Studio 8 did reiterate that any label not turning over enough would have to be replaced by another. Welcome to healthy competition.

Indeed, the launch was very happening with local newspaper reporters excited over the flurry of activity, videographers bumping into each other for lack of space and people not buying looking for that cold glass of water to wash away the heat of the moment. Local models and muses Ayesha Omar, Tooba Siddiqui and Maria Wasti shimmered in designer clothes. Zahir Rahimtoola, of course, despite the heat was like the Cheshire Cat, grinning from ear to ear. the Ambassador inaugurated the event (entire ribbon cutting and all) and I have to add that I’m ecstatic that Mr Amin Faheem (yes, of PPP political minister fame) who was the Chosen One was called back at the nick of time. Lucky for us. Who needs wants unfashionable politicians at fashion events.

Being the foodie that I am, I have to add that the Studio 8 menu was delicious. Bhelpuri, pani puri and authentic dosas made on the spot. Kulfis in little clay pots. That said, the plastic plates were a tad bit unexpected considering the grandeur of the event. Drinks and finger food would have been more fashionably appropriate.

Nevertheless it was a good day for fashion. Of course I’m curious to know who sells more and who moves out. I guess we will find out in good time. Till then I’m just happy that everyone is there. In Doo-buy where retail is religion (pardon me) and fashion has a fair chance to flourish.

Designers who are stocking at Studio 8: Faiza Samee, Elan, Ayesha Hashwani, Body Focus, Jannat & Sadaf, Saai, Sonya Battla, Nomi Ansari, Zara Saeed, Zara Shahjehan, Nickie Nina, Mina Hasan, Sublime and a couple more. What a feast, you must admit. Now if only all these designers can sustain production and regular stocking. All eyes open…

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