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    Kuwait: a legacy as a trendsetter

    Thu, Jul, 21, 2022

As I heard about the recently concluded Oud Fashion Talks in Kuwait from my colleagues, it reminded me of the country’s pioneering impact on the regional fashion landscape.

It made me reminisce about how over 40 years ago, Kuwait is where my parents set up our truly unique, first-of-its-kind concept store Tanagra. The store soon became a reference point not only in Kuwait but across the GCC. Tanagra gained such popularity that it was frequently visited by heads of states and governments as well as royalties.

In 1983 we signed a joint venture to open the first Louis Vuitton store in Kuwait that not only performed exceptionally well in the country but also raised brand awareness among local consumers. Even back in the day, Kuwaitis were aware, fashion conscious and always on-trend.

Years later and now in the age of social media, Kuwaiti influencers are leading the way, inspiring youth to be bold about experimenting with new styles and be creative while proudly upholding their culture.

Kuwait holds a special position in our Group’s journey. My late father Michel Chalhoub was a true visionary who understood the potential of this small Gulf state even when “the city was nothing, but a single street surrounded by desert” as he once said.

In 1975 my parents moved to Kuwait to explore untapped growth possibilities, and for the next three decades, put in tremendous efforts to steadily grow our business in the country. Even when Iraq invaded Kuwait they refused to leave it and our people despite potential risks. Such was their deep association with Kuwait.

Kuwait has always been “Avant-garde”

What makes Kuwait truly unique is the fine balance between modernity and conservatism. As opposed to following global trends, Kuwaitis are always keen to be different in their choices, A big reason why Kuwaiti designers are making waves not only in the local but also global fashion scene. From combining calligraphy in jewelry designs to making kaftans and modest, glittering gowns trendy among celebrities the emerging local Kuwaiti designers are taking the world by storm.

In fact, the Oud Fashion Talks threw the spotlight on local Kuwaiti designers who showcased their works during a fashion event held in Louvre Paris. That’s the kind of resonance Kuwaiti designers are receiving.

Even global luxury brands are curating their collections – fashion, fragrance and more – in a manner that appeals to local Kuwaitis. Often exclusively launching products in Kuwait and the rest of the GCC countries ahead of the global launches.

In addition, despite being digitally savvy and comfortable with shopping luxury products online, Kuwaiti consumers appreciate immersive experiences in the brick-and-mortar environment that fuel their explorative nature.

Kuwait, a crown jewel

Kuwait continues to strengthen its already leading position in the luxury market. The recently released ‘State of GCC Personal Luxury in 2021’ report by Chalhoub Group in collaboration with the Fashion Commission of Saudi Arabia indicates strong and early recovery of the GCC luxury goods market. Kuwait led the way with 35% growth in 2021 over 2019 driven by a combination of factors.

A small but affluent and fashion forward population makes Kuwait truly avant-garde. The presence of global luxury brands, rise of trendy local designers and dedicated luxury districts and hotels are driving the growth of Kuwait’s luxury market.

Repatriation of spend by local Kuwaitis over the past couple of years has been a definite catalyst for growth too. Looking ahead, steady growth prediction in consumer spending through 2022 promises to further strengthen Kuwait as a luxury destination.

If anything, these are clear signs of a market that continues to be the crown jewel in the regional luxury landscape also making remarkable impressions globally. And as always, we remain committed to inspire and delight the fashion forward, savvy, and trendsetting Kuwaiti consumers.

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