Kate Fisher, left, and Jan Curtis display some of the dresses on sale Image Credit: Xpress /Zarina Fernandes

Dubai: Those old forgotten dresses and ball gowns gathering dust in closets are set to be given a new lease of life — thanks to a unique new concept.

For the last two months the Bare Essentials swimwear store in Jumeirah Centre off Beach Road has devoted a section of the store to dresses from the likes of Louis Vuitton, Georgio Armani and Jean Paul Gaultier, as part of their ‘frock exchange' scheme.

The concept

The idea, common in the UK and Europe, where second-hand clothes shops are common, has been brought to Dubai by Kate Fisher, one of the co-owners of the 15-year-old store.

"It's been through word-of-mouth so far and we have about 28 customers who have donated clothing items for sale," she said.

The most expensive item so far is a Georgio Armani dress that was Dh12,000 when bought new and is now being sold for Dh4,000.

Fisher said: "There are a lot of bargains to be had. There is a big culture of attending formal balls in Dubai where women buy these amazing dresses but wear them only once."

Dress to sell

Women interested in being involved in this exchange concept contact the store and Fisher then visits them to collect the items and also advise them on potential dresses that may sell. The client then agrees a sale price with the shop and after a few weeks when the clothing is sold the original owner splits the proceeds 50-50 with the shop.

"The clothing has to be in good condition. We dry-clean them before they go on sale. It's a good way of getting some benefit from clothes you don't wear any more," Fisher said. The dresses generally cost between Dh600 and Dh800 and the type of items involved in this exchange also includes handbags and shoes.

  • 600-800 dirhams is the cost of the dresses