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Interview with Karim Zarka CEO Qatar Expo

Interview with Karim Zarka CEO Qatar Expo

1 – Please let us know how the current situation of Qatar and Middle East textile and fashion industry is?
Certainly the Middle Eastern wedding fashion industry – specifically Qatar – is booming.

Back in 2007 the industry lacked unity and needed a flagship event to promote wedding fashions, products and services. The country’s economy was growing at a staggering 18 percent a year and Qatar had become the wealthiest country in the Middle East with the highest per capita GDP in the world. ‎

Yet the vast majority of this money was spent outside Qatar, mostly in the UAE. So the decision was taken by Qatar Expo, the country’s #1 exhibition, conference and event management company,  to launch Qatar’s first major wedding exhibition and fashion show to bring the latest wedding fashions and the best designers to Qatar from the Middle East, Asia and Europe, encouraging Qatari brides to spend their money locally.‎

‎2 – What are the programs of Qatar Expo for holding IWED 2010 ever successfully in Doha?
Ever since the first event in 2007, the International Wedding Exhibition & Fashion Show (IWED) has grown and grown. In 2009, 30,000 trade and public visitors came to the 4-day event and 37 countries participated in the exhibition. ‎

IWED 2010 will be even bigger. Bollywood designer C’RAJ is our special guest and this is very much because we are looking to India as a wedding market that will join Arab and European companies in bringing a range of traditional and modern wedding products and services to Qatar in May 2010. ‎

3 – Please explain what is the effect of holding IWED exhibition in the Middle Eastern country?
As you may know, Qatari citizens and residents are now the richest in the world. The average annual income is US$87,000 and luxury brands are everywhere. Cars, jewellery, real estate, fashion – the people of Qatar demand the very best.

When it comes to spending on weddings, the number of customers maybe smaller than elsewhere but the amount they spend is phenomenal. IWED’s own research shows the average cost of a Qatari wedding is more than US$ 32,588 and many families spend much more. ‎

One other important point to mention is the vast range of wedding products that are popular in Qatar. If you visit IWED 2010 (4th to 7th May 2010) you will see a terrific mix of the latest wedding fashions and products from around the world displayed side-by-side with traditional Islamic fashions and products.‎

‎4 – How do you evaluate this year exhibition in both visitor and exhibitors aspect?
Even though IWED 2010 will be only the third edition, we know this year’s event to be bigger and better than ever. Already more than 15,000 sqm of prime exhibition space has been booked at the Doha Exhibition Center and exhibition sales have reached 65 percent.‎

One of the reasons exhibitors are keen to register and return to IWED is the priceless business opportunities the exhibition presents. More than 30,000 trade and public visitors came to IWED 2009 and our research shows that Qatari brides spend on average US$4,619 on their wedding venue, US$4,300 on their dream honeymoon and a whopping US$6,831 to feed their wedding guests.

‎5 – How is your idea about developing Islamic fashion industry in recent years among Arabian and Islamic countries?
I welcome the recent report from Esmod Dubai which estimated the international Islamic fashion industry to be worth more than US$96 billion.
Designers are growing more aware of what the international and Arab markets want. Muslims and Arabs are being more open-minded about combinations of colours, fabrics, higher standards in terms of finishing and techniques.
Look around and we see Arabian styles steadily influencing European street fashion as the growth and expansion of the Muslim middle class makes them more dress- and fashion-conscious. As more and more Muslim men and women become educated and take up professions and develop businesses, they will continue to adopt modernism with a touch of Islamic tradition to match their modern lifestyles.

‎6 – Please tell us about this year exhibition highlights.
An exclusive partnership with the World Fashion Channel is guaranteed to give exhibitors their biggest ever audience. Via the www.worldfashion.tv channel IWED 2010 will reach a potential global television audience of one billion people.

The undoubted highlight of IWED 2010 – just as in 2009 – will be the twice daily fashion shows on a magnificent 1,000 sqm Catwalk. Top wedding designers from two continents fight it out for exclusive opportunity to get their designs in front of the wealthiest wedding buyers in the world.‎

IWED 2010 will also welcome a special guest from India, the Bollywood designer C’RAJ who will open IWED 2010 on Tuesday 4 May. And we’re not just thinking of 2010; we have just announced the first IWED International Young Designer Award for 2011 which will inspire student fashion designers to show the Qatar market what they can do.‎


About Kohan Journal

Kohan Textile Journal is the leading magazine for the Textile industry, Textile machinery, Synthetic Fibers and Nonwovens in MENA region (the Middle East and North Africa) and is published every two months. It basically emphasizes on textile machinery, textile products, carpet and synthetic fibres distributed among the factories, manufacturers, and traders of floorcovering industries.l

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