UAE speaks: Confessions of shopaholics
Abdul Rahman Emirati Director Business Development Jallafco Group Dubai-ite since birth (1988) "I love watches and shoes and all men's accessories. And Dubai is great for my kind of shopping. Almost all my watches have been bought in Dubai. It's definitely the shopping capital of GCC countries. I have about 32 watches. I don't care about the brand; I care about how it looks. I do have a Hublot but also many cheaper brands. The dial matters size of the watch matters and how it feels matters. Last month I bought a Dhs600 watch very old style very classy. I shop at least twice a month. Last week I bought a pair of LV loafers in pure leather (Dhs5000) from Dubai Mall but only because my cousin was also buying a similar pair. I rarely shop online. There is no guarantee of quality. The last time I shopped outside a mall was maybe 4 or 6 months back when I bought a carpet. I can't buy carpets in a mall. I once saw a man in a mall paying Dhs27000 for a Turkish mat. I wouldn't be able to step on it not even with my LV loafers." Adriana Usvat Romanian Managing Partner at FLC Group Dubai-ite since 2003 "I have a love-hate relationship with shopping. I love clothes but hate the time it takes to buy them. What do I shop for the most? Shoes shoes shoes! A pair of shoes can transform any outfit I wear and enhance my look instantaneously. My favourite shops in Dubai are BCBG Max Azria Elisabetta Franchi and Carolina Herrera in Dubai Mall. I also love shopping from smaller boutique shops like S*uce. Of the possessions I have shopped for in Dubai I love my Patek Philippe watch as I wear it regularly. And who doesn't love a pair of Louboutins or Jimmy Choos? I bought those in Dubai too. The world's biggest brands are in Dubai along with local and regional designers. And Dubai Mall is a brilliant experience. All malls here have cultural and touristic appeal; for instance Mall of the Emirates has Ski Dubai Dubai Mall has Dubai Aquarium Ibn Battuta is designed to reflect the travels of the explorer it is named after. these USPs make the malls more than just shopping destinations." Veena Elizabeth Kurian Indian Heads Runway Cranberry a fashion and design agency Dubai-ite since 2006 "No other place in the world is like Dubai when it comes to the diversity of brands available. Ibn Battuta mall is an everyday stopover for me since it's right next to my house. Either I go to Gant or I take my son to Fun City or Chuck E. Cheese's or I go to a nail spa. something or the other everyday. And now I'm really excited about the 120 new brands opening there. Mall of the Emirates is my favourite. I go there at least once or twice a week. If you go to say Europe you may not find American or Asian brands there. In the US you may not find Australian brands. Here people are very fashion conscious and you get everything. Because of the number of expats and tourists pricing is very competitive. You can get good deals on sales and promotions. A Gucci bag for example might be cheaper in a big department store where you might find it at 25 per cent off. The trick is to be on the lookout for promotions. And when the sales start go early. I bought a Fendi bag this year - on sale - during DSF. And if you really want to shop don't wait for the weekend. You will lose your passion for shopping. Be a smart shopper go on a weekday mornings". Erum Ansari Pakistani Communications professional Dubai-ite since 2003 "Meena Bazaar is great. I love going there. Malls are nice too. I bought my Kate Spade bag from a mall. But the chaos and bargaining at Meena Bazaar reminds me of home (Karachi). I like handbags. I bought an embroidered clutch in December from Meena Bazaar. I love shopping for clothes. I also help my husband buy his clothes and give him feedback on what colours I think would work on him. We're in malls about twice a week. My favourite is Mirdif City Centre. It's not too crowded. And the shops are it's well- structured. The same kind of shops are clustered together so it's a good experience. I also like Outlet Mall as it can often have the best deals". Shamlal Ahamed Indian MD International Operations - Malabar Gold & Diamonds Dubai-ite since 2007 "Gold is a must-buy in Dubai. When people go to Switzerland they buy chocolates. When they go to Italy they buy Murano glass. Similarly gold is the flagship product of Dubai. You get all latest trends because Dubai can import jewellery from all over the world. You have the best of designs and latest trends from Italy Spain Bahrain Turkey Singapore India and Pakistan. And the quality is assured. Dubai also has one of the best consumer protection policies. In the long term gold prices will go up it's a good investment. You can liquidate it anywhere. Tourists in Dubai if they're not buying gold jewellery should at least pick up a gold coin. Gold prices are 10-12 per cent cheaper in Dubai than in any of the countries in the subcontinent." Chona Nocido Filipina Front-office secretary with a property developer Dubai-ite since 2003 "The sales in Dubai - my God! I love shopping. And because salary is tax-free everything is so easy. I used to shop every weekend. Now I am trying to save money. But I still love sales. And I still shop every other weekend. I bought a coat last week from Zara and a blouse from New Look. I also shop online sometimes if I see a promotion on something from Korea or Thailand but the quality is sometimes not good. The pictures look good but when the stuff arrives it's not that great. It's better to buy in the malls here. My favourite mall is Mercato. I really like the way it's laid out. And in the evening it looks really nice with the lights. It looks like Venice."