How to start a fashion design company in Dubai

Dubai is one of the most fashion-forward cities in the world. With a cosmopolitan population in which 90% of residents are foreign nationals from over 200 countries, it is no surprise that fashion is big business in the United Arab Emirates. Malls are bustling with fashion brands, boutiques and local designers. If you’re looking to start a fashion company in Dubai, now’s the best time to make your dreams a reality.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • An overview of the fashion industry in the UAE
  • Steps to start a fashion business in Dubai, UAE
  • Documents needed to start a fashion business in Dubai
  • Cost of starting a fashion business in Dubai
  • Working with Trade License Zone

An overview of the fashion industry in the UAE

As we have mentioned, Dubai’s vibrant fashion community is thriving. It is estimated to be worth over USD 12 billion. It is driven by the growing population and its cosmopolitan makeup. The retail sector continues to increase exceptionally, with independent fashion designers that shoppers demand. For a budding fashion designer, the UAE has created a robust infrastructure around this burgeoning industry, such as supporting textile companies to grow, manufacturers, and retailers. The Dubai Design District was developed to facilitate this industry and its growth.

Furthermore, the Dubai fashion industry serves a global audience. The potential market is enormous as Dubai is one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations for shopping. Company setup in Dubai is easy thanks to recent changes to USE’s business regulations. It offers zero tax on personal and corporate incomes and full ownership of businesses for foreign nationals.

Steps to start a fashion business in Dubai, UAE

These are the seven steps to follow to start a fashion business in Dubai.

Step #1: Partner with Trade License Zone

When starting a fashion design company in Dubai, you should first partner with Trade License Zone. Our professional team will manage all aspects of your trade license application, company registration, and setup process to guide you through all the documentation required by the various UAE government authorities so you can begin trading.

Step #2: Choose a company name

Choosing a name for your company is a straightforward process, but you must abide by the UAE government’s rules.

The business name must adhere to the UAE’s naming policies, including that a business name cannot include offensive or profane language or references to Allah or Islam.

You can use your name in the company name, but you must use it in full instead of just your surname or initials. Trade License Zone will help you choose and register your fashion design company’s business name with the UAE’s Registry Office.

Step #3: Select your business activities

All businesses in the UAE are required to select their business activities for their trading license application to trade legally in Dubai. An entrepreneur can choose from several business activities for their fashion design company but can only carry out those business activities listed on their trade license.

Dubai’s Department of Economic Development issues trade licenses, and you can select relevant business activities from a list of over 2000 on its website.

Failure to list all your business activities on your trading license may result in penalties. Partnering with a company formation expert such as Trade License Zone will ensure that your trading license application and business activities are aligned.

Step #4: Choose your business jurisdiction

The UAE has two main business jurisdiction types. You can choose from a free zone company or a mainland company setup. Each class has specific company formation regulations and benefits that determine how a business can operate in Dubai and the UAE.

The business activities you’ve selected for your company’s trade license determine the company formation setup.

If your fashion design company manufactures and retails your items for the Dubai market, you will require a specific type of business setup and trade license.

Suppose your business only operates as a fashion design company where you sell your designs to other companies; you will need another type of company setup and trade license.

Free zone companies are the most popular and cost-effective of the two types of business jurisdiction in Dubai.

They offer foreign nationals 100% ownership of their companies, but additional steps (such as opening a branch) are necessary for a fashion design company to trade within the UAE legally.

There are specific free zones for creative enterprises such as fashion design companies, and one such free zone is the Dubai Design District.

A mainland company setup allows you to trade within the UAE market without extra steps, but it means that a local sponsor (an Emirati citizen) must hold 51% of the company’s shares.

Selecting the correct business setup for your fashion design company might seem complicated.

When you contact the highly experienced consultants at Trade License Zone, we will help you to choose the best company setup formation to start trading as soon as possible.

Step #5: Apply for your trade license

Once your company name has been registered with the UAE’s Registry Office, you have selected your business activities and chosen a business jurisdiction, you can apply for your trade license for your fashion design company in Dubai.

All trade license applications are made to the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). For this critical step, you can trust Trade License Zone to avoid any errors or mistakes.

Step #6: Apply for your visa

Once you’ve completed the trade license process, you can apply for your UAE residency visa to live and work in Dubai. This step requires a medical test, biometric scanning, and more. Your trade license may entitle you to sponsor the visas of family and staff, depending on the conditions of the trade license.

Step #7: Open your corporate bank account

Opening your fashion design company’s corporate bank account is the final step to make before you can begin trading. For advice and assistance with this vital step, contact Trade License Zone‘s helpful team.

Documents needed to start a fashion business in Dubai

These are the documents required for a Dubai trade license to start a fashion business:

  • A comprehensive business plan
  • Completed trade license application
  • Completed company name registration
  • Initial approval certificate from the Department of Economic Development
  • Tenancy contract (if applicable)
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA) documents
  • Passport copies of all shareholders/directors (and local sponsor if applicable)
  • Two colour passport-sized photos of directors/shareholders (and local sponsor if applicable)

Cost of starting a fashion business in Dubai

The cost of starting a fashion company in Dubai ranges from AED 15,000 to AED 30,000. This cost varies depending on many factors, such as office premises, shop rent, materials, hiring staff, design and manufacturing equipment, and more.

For an accurate quote, please contact Trade License Zone to help you determine the necessary costs and fees. The more you know about the costs, the better decisions you can make regarding your company formation setup and other details.

Working with Trade License Zone

Business setup in the UAE is streamlined with an expert partner such as Trade License Zone. When starting a fashion design company in Dubai, the company setup and trade license process can be lengthy and tricky to navigate 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 the nature of your business. Then, please 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