And so, I present to you The Butik. You can find below an interview with Futtaim herself, as well as a few photographs of their pop-up store that is currently at Galeries Lafayette in Dubai Mall. I’ve also included some sneak-peaks of one of the style shoots I put together – I was lucky enough to work with Fanny Turcotte of FT Photography on the style images…you can see more of these photographs soon 🙂
And see more of FT Photography here: www.ftphotographystudio.com
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO OPEN THE BUTIK?
The Butik was an obvious answer to a gap in the market for unique fashion designer that have an interesting story to tell. We realised that people buy fashion that is mass-produced in factories, leaving a gap for that personal element between the designer and client.
The main focus of The Butik is more than selling the product itself, we target a city and curate a collection from a small number of designers (ranging from emerging to established). We explore the fashion of that city and how it is represented through the work of the designers we select. We dive deeper into their world to discover more about their sources of inspiration and methods for constructing their collections.
The Butik takes the customers through a journey from the designer’s point of view, starting with the city from which the designer originates, their design process and sources of inspiration, up until the end product that we offer.
WHICH PIECES/DESIGNERS HAVE BEEN THE MOST POPULAR, AND WHY?
The designers we discovered in Skopje have been the most popular to date, and surprisingly it was the statement pieces that were the most popular. Structure dresses with exaggerate peplums were immediately sold out within two months of our launch. I believe what made those pieces very popular is the fact that they are very unique and different, and cannot be found anywhere else. Skopje is a city that is not well known, especially here in the U.A.E. We had to repeat ourselves several times whenever we mentioned the city, and sometimes we found ourselves giving people a geography lesson to explain where the country Macedonia is located in Europe.
It was a risk for us to showcase designers from a place that is not very familiar, but by featuring their stories and taking out customers through this journey and into the designer’s studio, we found that our customers were able to establish a connection with them and immediately fell in love with them as people. We then started getting requests about more collection sfrom certain designers, such as ‘When is Tanja Kokev launching her next collection?’ The fact that people not only request more from a certain designer that they have never heard about before, but that they also know who she is, reinforces the idea that people are intrigued by new concepts and are also constantly on the move craving new things and embracing innovation in various forms.
WHAT DO YOU SEE FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION IN THE MIDDLE EAST?
The Middle East has a lot of culture that can be showcased in fashion design, which goes beyond the obvious abayas, kaftans and evening gowns. Globalization hit us and it hit us fast, but have an advantage because we have the best of both worlds.
I think once we understand the difference between ‘fashion’ and ‘fashion design,’ we will not be able to move forward in this industry. I think fashion design in the Middle East still have a long way to go to compete with the international scene. However, we are definitely getting there with many exceptional designers that have recently emerged in places like Doha, Beirut and Saudi. Fashion is all about the design of a garment, the construction, the inspiration and the thought process. Fashion is another form of art, and we can definitely learn a few lessons from the fashion industry and designers in Amsterdam, Sweden, Seoul and even Ukraine!