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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Dubai’s newest concept store The Edit is an ode to life behind the high street

The Edit offers you a space to shop, eat, exercise, relax and network

Home furniture on display at The Edit store on Al Wasl road in Dubai. Courtesy Pawan Singh / The National
Home furniture on display at The Edit store on Al Wasl road in Dubai. Courtesy Pawan Singh / The National

There’s no denying that the UAE’s large, beautifully designed, all-encompassing malls, which are occupied by high-end and high-street brands (and just about everything else in between), are still a big draw for shoppers. But this more traditional way of shopping is slowly making way for a newer global phenomenon: the concept store. Mixing fashion and design, and a variety of brands and products – all under one roof – concept stores offer a more curated, niche proposition.

Rumana Nazim, founder of Dubai’s latest concept store The Edit, is well aware of this change in the retail landscape. “Concept stores are an experience,” explains the lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, who hails from India, but was born and raised in Dubai. She lived in London for just under six years, and still travels back almost every month. “I shop a lot; I’m a huge consumer and I like beautiful things,” she says.

The inspiration behind The Edit

“But it’s not just about buying for the sake of buying for me. It’s very much about the experience as well. We’re millennials, we’re from this generation where we want to add more value to everything, turn everything into an experience. When I buy a dress, I want all my senses to be engaged. Plus, don’t forget,” she points out, “we live in an Instagram world where we want to share anything beautiful that we experience,” Nazim adds.

That was the starting point for the creation of The Edit, which is situated in a beautifully converted villa on Al Wasl Road in Dubai. “I’ve always loved fashion, art, home decor, interiors, jewellery, all of it,” she reveals. “And I’ve been wanting to do something a bit more creative than law. So why not address what people are looking for these days when it comes to shopping, and open up a store that has all that; all the things I love?”

Entering the store is like stepping into someone’s carefully considered, extremely chic home and that, says Nazim, is exactly the feel she was hoping for. “I wanted to create an environment that people enjoy being in. I like doing that with my own home, and in the store it creates a space where people can be comfortable, welcomed and happy. I want them to come read a book in our lounge, schedule a meeting in our cafe, step into a place that’s a little Zen, a community space that’s not just for shopping,” she explains.

The store carries clothing from six brands, plus furniture, accessories, skincare and haircare products, stationery and coffee-table books
The store carries clothing from six brands, plus furniture, accessories, skincare and haircare products, stationery and coffee-table books

To that end, in addition to carefully selected clothing from six fashion brands (four from London, one from Australia and one from Los Angeles), pieces of furniture from Tribe Dubai, homeware accessories from Georges of Dubai, hair products with ingredients sourced from the Amazon forest, exclusive art from India, skincare products by Grown Alchemist, stationery, sunglasses, jewellery and coffee-table books.

An ode to Dubai’s evolving retail landscape

Nazim has also set-up a cafe serving artisanal coffees and light, healthy snacks. Decorated in black and brass, there is also a lounge where guests can sit and relax while friends continue to shop, and an open-concept area upstairs to host everything from art exhibitions and workshops to yoga sessions, seminars and pop-ups.

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It’s an ode, really, to Dubai’s evolving retail landscape, where stores might incorporate a salon or barber, or join forces with a cafe or restaurant, or host events complete with DJs and canapes. It’s not new; Comptoir 102 pioneered the concept in Dubai, along with places like The Collective in Al Quoz, where Tribe and Georges Dubai are located alongside Gardener and the Gang for children’s clothing, retro bicycle brand The Movement, and Boston Lane coffee shop. Even concept stores that originated elsewhere, like Parisian store LE66, which opened in City Walk and offers affordable luxury brands in addition to a cafe and an area for gifts and gadgets, have proved better.

“We grew up in a mall culture, but things are moving away from there, especially in Dubai. We’re drawn to what’s different and unique. We want something new, where we can get more bang for our buck, build personal relationships and network”, says Nazim.

What shoppers can expect

She hopes to collaborate with other designers, brands and boutiques, to keep the store current. Already, The Edit has hosted a discussion on nutrition and a balanced diet, through a partnership with a local gym. A calligraphy class is in the works, an interior designer will soon host a session, and creative classes for little ones, so mums can shop in peace – are also in the pipeline.

Best of all, the shopping will appeal to all budgets. A Lizzie Fortunato necklace, made of crystals, ­rhinestones and jet black ribbon, can set you back Dh1,340, but there are beautiful rose gold ear cuffs by Luv AJ for just Dh135. A silk floral jumpsuit by Seren London is Dh3,595, but a crisp white backless top by House of Sunny is just Dh258. A sheet of marble-inspired gift ­wrapping paper sells for Dh14; gold wire baskets are Dh160; while a great pair of black palazzo pants by Acler are priced at Dh1,281. “I didn’t want people to walk in and be intimidated by the prices, so we have a range that I think is inclusive,” says Nazim.

Five favourites at The Edit

“There’s something there for ­e­veryone, and what ties it all ­together is this beautiful aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and items picked because they are all ­really flattering on a woman’s body, and really take into account the ­importance of a beautiful silhouette. There’s a variety of materials and styles and shapes, but it’s all in the cut.”

For Nazim, creating The Edit meant bringing like-minded brands under one roof, so her customers would benefit from a variety of ­experiences in one place, while forming part of a shared community. “It’s not just a store,” she says. “It’s a lifestyle.”