Shop Qatar’s Design District will feature the latest spring/summer collections from world-renowned French and Indian designers from January 5 to 12 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).
“The Design District offers a platform for local, regional and international designers,” Alshaima Alshaikh from Qatar’s National Tourism Council (QNTC) said at a press conference on Shop Qatar updates at Al Mirqab Mall Wednesday.
The designers’ collections will be showcased in more than 20 fashion shows between 3pm and 10pm daily at the Design District, which will occupy halls 1 and 2 at DECC.
While most fashion shows are free, QNTC noted that seats will be made available on a first-register-first-served basis. Those looking for front row seats can buy tickets for some of the shows. Registration can be done through the Shop Qatar mobile app or at the district's registration desk.
“In most of our festivals we also like to be in line with other celebrations or special initiatives that are happening across the country. This year, it will be the Qatar – India Year of Culture so we are very happy to have that also featured and being reflected in the Design District,” Alshaikh stressed.
“This is great news for the tourism sector because our efforts have been very focused in expanding our source markets from Asia, particularly India,” she said. “This is also being reflected in the festival with the fact that we have five of our international designers coming from India.”
Last year, QNTC opened its representative office in Mumbai aimed at attracting more visitors from India. Qatar is the only country in the region which allows Indian visitors, among other citizens from 79 other nations, to come visa-free, according to Alshaikh.
She noted that QNTC festivals are keen to provide a platform for local entrepreneurs and businesses to display their products and services, providing a total of 75 spaces for them at the district.
“We are very happy to have Virginia Commonwealth University – Qatar and they’re going to have the largest space in the District this year,” Alshaikh said. 
The district will also bring a colourful showcase of pop-up shops, cafes, and 12 masterclasses and workshops by online-famous make-up artists, along with live entertainment.
Shop Qatar, in collaboration with Fashion Trust Arabia, which is an initiative by Qatar Museums chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani, will feature a ‘fashion speaker corner’ aimed at bringing more interaction between the public and the fashion scene in Qatar.
Al Mirqab Mall’s marketing manager Fahim Matabdin said they are the only mall in the country which will be featured in the district, describing it as “amazing and beautiful concept”.

Emerging hub for fashion
Qatar is an emerging hub for fashion due to the strong interest of local women and the youth in developing this industry, Alshaima Alshaikh from Qatar’s National Tourism Council (QNTC) has said.
“There is always this interest whether it’s exporting our fashion trends or incorporating international trends into the Qatari design,” she noted.
Alshaikh was stressing the role of the upcoming Design District at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (as part of Shop Qatar 2019) as “a very important platform” for such fashion exchanges.
Apart from Virginia Commonwealth University – Qatar, she cited the participation of renowned local, regional and international designers at the District, which offer platforms for exchange whether through tutorial, workshops, meet and greet, or Question and Answer sessions.
"We have brought on board Fashion Trust Arabia to be our partner and help incubate and develop our local talents.”

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