British style is filling retail shelves this year as Burberry, Hackett and Mulberry report increases in global sales. Alfred Dunhill, another classically British clothing brand, is growing in recognition across the UAE and is preparing to open a restaurant in Dubai. Nader Elmir, Dunhill's general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, explains why.
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q Dunhill is a clothing brand, why are you opening a restaurant?
a We are a luxury brand that is expanding not only to let our customers buy our clothing and products, but to experience the brand live through our restaurant. It's a British brasserie, and its design inside will be of British excellence. It will look luxurious, like we have always offered with the clothing brand.
q Where is the restaurant opening in Dubai?
a We're pretty excited about launching Alfie's through a partnership with Jumeirah Emirates Towers [JET]. The restaurant will be next to the Dunhill store in JET.
q So you'll be competing with the new Ivy, also a British brand?
a The Ivy is a restaurant that built its own brand in the UK. Alfie's is a different concept because it is a brasserie offering an experience that reflects our designer brand. It's a reflection of the lifestyle of a gentleman.
q How are you splitting responsibilities with JET?
a We will capture the feel of the restaurant with the design and everything you touch. The menu is a joint effort, and they will run the operations for us.
q Is this the first Alfie's restaurant?
a No, this is the third. We have had successful launches in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
q Is British fashion becoming more popular globally?
a It's a return to the roots, because the British started tailoring. You cannot forget how good the tailors are in the UK. The British still have some of the most imposing and iconic products on the market and know-how in craftsmanship.
q Why do people relate to that in the Middle East?
a Obviously there's an experience of British brands because people spend a lot of time in London. People in this part of the world appreciate quality and clothing that has a story about it.
q Have sales been strong this year?
The market is still a good market. There's been an influx of buying tourists this year, particularly from China.
q You were looking to expand stores in the UAE, is that still on the cards?
We are still open-minded about opportunities, but we do not have exact plans. I think the brand is very well respected. We are careful with the opportunities we pursue because they need to tick a few boxes and complement our existing stores.