The Business of Bespoke: Why is Luxury Tailoring Thriving in the UAE?

Amidst its glimmering skylines, Michelin-starred restaurants and designer boutiques, bespoke tailoring isn’t just a status symbol – it’s a booming business. The Middle East’s fashion industry is poised for a record 7% annual growth, and luxury tailoring is at the forefront of that flourishing landscape. According to a recent survey, one in every five luxury shoppers believes customisation or tailoring is essential for purchasing luxury goods.

Well, we couldn’t agree more.​​

So, why is the UAE such fertile ground for bespoke tailoring?

A global hub for business

At the heart of this tailoring renaissance is a thriving business environment. The UAE is one of the world’s best places to do business and, according to the UAE Ministry of Economy, one of the top three countries in the Global Entrepreneurship Index.

And, where businesses thrive, suits follow.

Unlike in the West, where dress codes are relaxing, in the UAE’s hyper-corporate landscape, appearances matter. Dress codes aren’t just formalities, they reflect respect, professionalism and attention to detail. In other words, suits are still supreme. For most, off-the-rack simply won’t do.

Bespoke attire is still synonymous with success; it signals a commitment to excellence and an understanding of the nuances of business etiquette. So, inevitably, this steady influx of entrepreneurs and investors has fuelled demand for luxury tailors that can meet the diverse needs of this fast-growing clientele.

A penchant for the finer things

It’s no secret that Emiratis love luxury. Recent data shows that the luxury fashion market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) generated USD 11bn in sales in 2023. Unsurprisingly, bespoke tailoring accounts for a significant share of this revenue. This upward trend underscores a deeper cultural appreciation for presentation and prestige. Combine this with some seriously high purchasing power – nearly 5,000 millionaires relocate to the UAE every year – and it isn’t difficult to see why the bespoke business is booming.

Power in customisation

In a world where one-size-fits-all is, thankfully, becoming a thing of the past, customisation is king. UAE customers are notoriously discerning and demands for unique and personalised luxury experiences, from exclusive memberships to bespoke services, are on the rise. This applies to our wardrobes too. Customers are increasingly prioritising quality and craftsmanship. Put simply, bespoke ticks all the boxes.

From fabric selection to silhouette, every aspect of a bespoke garment is meticulously tailored to the client’s specifications, ensuring a perfect fit and unparalleled comfort. In the wise words of Coco Chanel: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” So, true luxury is always bespoke. This level of personalisation also fosters a sense of intimacy between the tailor and the client to create a sartorial experience like no other – just what style-savvy shoppers are looking for.

Quality trumps quantity

Like much of the world, the UAE is experiencing a renewed appreciation for tailoring, alongside an interest in understanding exactly how clothes are made. Customers are also becoming more sophisticated in their purchasing habits, with health, purpose and social responsibility influencing buying decisions.

This applies to tailoring too. Our customers have broader concerns around sustainability than past generations, they choose independent brands over chains and are more influenced by their environmental footprint. Millennial consumers, in particular, say they prefer more sustainable brands.

By its very nature, bespoke tailoring is more sustainable. Instead of mass-produced suits, every item is hand-stitched so there is no over-production. Using a professional cutter means minimal cloth wastage too. Any tailor worth their weight will know exactly where their fabrics come from too, and they will ideally be sourced from ethical partners. Bespoke tailoring is also more circular; our clients return year after year to breathe new life into their garments.

A global reputation for excellence

The UAE doesn’t just settle for good; it aims for greatness – and this extends to bespoke tailoring too. The tradition of bespoke tailoring dates back centuries in the UAE and is deeply ingrained in the culture of the region, embraced by everyone from royalty and dignitaries to businessmen and influencers. Tailoring houses like Ascots & Chapels leverage cutting-edge technology and premium materials to create garments that exude luxury and sophistication. From 3D body scanning for precise measurements to sustainable sourcing practices for ethically sourced fabrics, these advancements are reinforcing the UAE’s reputation as a leader in the global luxury market.

Conclusion: Triumph in tailoring

As demands for personalised luxury continue to soar, bespoke tailoring stands as the ultimate investment, especially in the UAE where appearances matter and meticulous detail defines success. As the UAE continues to thrive as a major hub of business, commerce and culture, bespoke is only going to get bigger. After all, in a fast-paced world, who wouldn’t want a touch of bespoke sophistication?

Author: Gary Sweeney