The members of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

The council has spoken. Members of Dubai’s first Design and Fashion Council held its first board meeting this week to discuss its mandate and thrash out some plans for the city. Their mission: To make Dubai THE destination for design and fashion in the region.

The council was set up following the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, earlier this year.

Some of their first plans will include attracting companies in design and fashion to locate to Dubai, create tourist attractions and help find and develop local fashion designers.

The council is chaired by by Dr Ameenah Al Rustamani, group CEO of Tecom Investments, the company developing the Dubai Design District (d3). Laila Suhail, the CEO at Dubai Festival and Retail Establishments, the organisation behind Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises, will act as vice chairman. Nez Gebreel, the founder of Noon Arts Gallery, who was instrumental in helping Victoria Beckham kick-start her fashion career, will be the CEO.

The Council’s board members are made up of the who’s who in the design industry. They include:

— Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of Chalhoub Group;

— Egyptian designer Azza Fahmy of Azza Fahmy Jewellery fame;

— Fashion designer Reem Acra;

— Mohammad Al Shael, executive director of commercial licensing at Department of Economic Development;

— Robert D. Booth, CEO of real estate at Emaar Properties;

— Iyad Malas, CEO of Majed Al Futtaim Holding;

— Khalid Al Tayer, CEO — Retail of Al Tayer Group;

— Ashok Sawlani, former chairman of and current honourary member of the managing committee at Dubai Textile City;

— Farida Abdullah Kambar Al Awadi, president of Association of Professional Interior Designers in UAE (APID) and managing director or Cinmar Design;

— Ali Jaber, Dean of Communication and Information Studies at the Mohammad Bin Rashid School of Communication at American University of Dubai;

— Raja Trad, CEO Leo Burnett and Publicis Group of Companies Mena;

— Gassan Harfouche, group CEO of Middle East Communication Network (MCN);

— Nisha Jagtiani, the director of Landmark Group.