x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

If you survived and like Dubai, say it loud and proud

An Emirati couple will launch a range of shirts, notebooks, bracelets and smartphone covers to celebrate the recovery of Dubai's economy.

From boom to bust and now on the journey back, Dubai's economy has had a turbulent ride over the past two years.

And to "celebrate" those who made it through the storm, an Emirati couple will launch a range of T-shirts, notebooks, bracelets and smartphone covers.

The new line will carry the tag "iamherebecauseilikedubai", designed by Mishaal al Gergawi, a prominent Emirati writer and commentator, and his wife, the graphic designer Bushra Badri.

"When the dust of the bust has settled, I feel like those who are still here are here for more than just monetary reasons," Mr al Gergawi said.

"They are here because they like Dubai. Here's something you can wear or you can show around to say that 'I'm still here'."

But it is not a campaign in response to the "Dubai bashing" in the media as of late, Mr al Gergawi said.

"Somebody asked me, 'Is this a response to the Dubai-bashing articles?' I said, 'Absolutely not'. The Dubai-bashing articles should be engaged but in a different way," Mr al Gergawi said.

"We are hoping to produce a well-designed, well-produced set of products for the local population of Dubai, by two people from Dubai."

The concept has been in the works since April but the idea was sparked earlier when Mr al Gergawi was preparing a presentation about the history of Dubai and the next steps for the city.

"And it just came to me when I was writing the presentation. I am here because I like Dubai," he said.

A friend of his posted a message tagged "#iamherebecauseilikedubai" on the social networking site Twitter and a few people began "tweeting" the phrase along with scenic photos or positive anecdotes about the emirate.

Then Mrs Badri had a few requests from friends about branding T-shirts or bags using the phrase and she mentioned it to Mr al Gergawi.

"She said: 'I think there is interest. Why don't you turn this into a business'?" he said.

They used their own money to start the venture and got help with the legal and marketing requirements from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development.

Their website, iamhere.ae, went live on the web on October 25 and will be taking online orders starting this week, said Mr al Gergawi.

Prices are still being finalised but the items will all be less than Dh100 (US$27.22), he said.

The products are aimed at UAE residents, unlike the famous "I love NY" T-shirts in the US.

"It's something that we wanted for the city," Mr al Gergawi said. "We wanted to pull people together."