Fashion Business in Dubai – 2024 Guide

Setting up a fashion business in Dubai is easier than learning to sew. Dubai is one of the world’s fashion capitals and sets the trends for the rest of the world. If you’ve ever dreamt of being in the thick of things in this colourful and fast-moving industry, Dubai is the place for you.

In this article, we’ll look into the following:

  • Fashion business in Dubai – an overview
  • Is a fashion business profitable in Dubai?
  • How to start a fashion business in Dubai
  • Cost of starting a fashion business in Dubai
  • Business setup in Dubai with Trade License Zone

Fashion business in Dubai – an overview

Dubai is one of the fashion hubs of the world. It hosts numerous fashion weeks yearly and is home to the world’s most glamorous and sought-after fashion brands. To top it all, 90% of Dubai’s population comprises foreign nationals from over 200 countries. The sheer variety of fashion created in Dubai is mesmerising.

Fashion in Dubai is not only trend-setting, it is diverse too. Starting a fashion business in Dubai in 2023 will see you enter a thriving market in the fastest-growing region in the world. As such, Dubai is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions and is regarded as the shopping destination.

The Dubai Design District (a Free Zone) was formed in 2013 to leverage the fashion, design and manufacturing aspects into a streamlined sector. All aspiring fashion business owners need to apply for a business license. We’ll dive into that in more detail below.

Is a fashion business profitable in Dubai?

Dubai is home to one the best and biggest shopping malls on earth, and its fashion industry has shown a consistent 5% annual growth to further underline its standing as one of the world’s fashion centres. Business opportunities are plentiful in Dubai. Whether you set up an online clothing business or a brick-and-mortar shop in the retail sector, your fashion business will undoubtedly be successful.Setting up a fashion business in Dubai is straightforward, meaning you’ll have more money for the best stock to keep up with customer demand.

How to start a fashion business in Dubai

These six steps will guide you in starting a fashion business in Dubai.

Step 1: Partner with Trade License Zone

The first step when opening a fashion company in Dubai is to partner with Trade License Zone. Our expert team will manage all aspects of your Dubai trade license application, company registration, liaise with relevant authorities, and guide you through the entire setup process and business journey.

Step 2: Choose a name for your fashion business

Part of the trade license application process requires choosing a business name for your fashion company. The UAE government has set company name rules, which include that a business name cannot contain offensive or profane language or references to Allah or Islam. As with other regions of the world, you can use your own name as part of the company name, but you must use your name in full instead of just your surname or initials.Trade License Zone will help you select three company names for your fashion business in Dubai. Our experienced business consultants will register your selected company names with the UAE’s Registry Office, which will use your selections in order according to availability.

Step 3: Select your business activities and business jurisdiction

Every business in Dubai must apply for a trading license. There are many types to choose from, but a General Trading License is appropriate for a fashion business.

You will need to specify the business activities for the trade license applications. It might be daunting to scroll through the over 2,000 eligible business activities, but you only need to find and select the business activity specific to your fashion company and the fashion sector.

Failure to list all your business activities on your trade license – and conducting those business activities – may result in severe penalties.

The UAE has two main business jurisdiction types determining company setup in Dubai: Free Zone and Mainland company formation.Free Zone companies are the most popular type of business setup, allowing you 100% ownership of your fashion company. However, a Free Zone company must take additional steps to trade within the UAE’s domestic market, such as opening a branch or a distributor.

A Mainland company setup allows you to trade within the UAE market without extra steps. However, you must partner with a local sponsor (an Emirati national) who holds a 51% share of the company.

You don’t need to worry about which is best for your clothing business in Dubai. Trade License Zone will help you choose the most suitable company formation and ensure that your trading license application, business setup and business activities are aligned. Contact us to help you with this critical step.

Step 4: Apply for initial approval

In applying for a trade license with the Department of Economic Development (DED), you must submit documentation for initial approval to continue with the remainder of the trade license application process.

Essential documents required for this step include:

  • Copy of the owner’s passport and visa
  • Copy of the shareholders’ passports and visas
  • Completed Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA)
  • Copy of the business plan
  • Copy of office space and retail store lease agreements
  • Dubai municipal approvals and other external approvals
  • Company name approval from the Registry Office

Step 5: Submit application

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you can submit your General Trading License application to the DED. Trade License Zone’s expert staff can help you with this critical step to avoid errors, delays, or rejections.

Step 6: Final approval

Once your trading licence has been approved and you’ve paid its issuance, you can apply for your UAE residency visa to live and work in Dubai. This trade license may entitle you to sponsor the visa applications of family and staff, depending on the conditions of the specific trade license.

You can also open a corporate bank account at this step, which means you can begin trading as soon as you’re ready.

Cost of starting a fashion business in Dubai

The cost of starting a fashion business in Dubai ranges from AED 15,000 to AED 30,000. This cost can increase depending on other factors such as rental space, government and municipality fees, business registration and setup costs, the number of visas attached to the business license, and more.

Trade License Zone can tailor (excuse the pun) a free quote. We’d need a little basic information about the nature of your business and services, and we’ll get back to you with a list of likely costs to get your business started in Dubai.

Business setup in Dubai with Trade License Zone

Business setup in the UAE is streamlined with an expert partner such as Trade License Zone. When starting a fashion business in Dubai, the company set-up and trade license process can be tricky for foreign nationals without prior experience.

Partnering with Trade License Zone will save you from unnecessary delays or rejections and simplify the entire process.

The specialists at Trade License Zone can get started once you provide us with some basic documentation of your business and a little information about its nature. Then, just sit back and let our team take care of the rest.

We’ll manage your trade license application, communicate with all relevant local departments and authorities, and report when you’re ready to open your fashion design company. It really is that simple.

Contact us to get a personalized quotation based on your business activity