Eid Al Fitr 2024: UAE tailors sew up orders but business still below pre-pandemic levels

Residents are placing orders for custom-made outfits ahead of the holiday

Powered by automated translation

Tailors across the UAE are experiencing the usual surge in customers as Eid Al Fitr approaches, but say business is still not back to pre-pandemic levels.

Residents are prioritising tradition and elegance, choosing to invest in custom garments to ensure the holiday is marked with the finest attire. But cautious spending means clients are not splurging like they used to.

Master Mumtaz, from Shafeeqah Fashions in Meena Bazaar, a popular district in Bur Dubai that offers garments for citizens of South Asian countries, has seven to eight staff members working longer hours to meet the high demand and complete orders on time.

We have customers from all over the world who want custom-made clothing for Eid
Tanveer Arif, Yellow Scarf

But despite the increase in customers, Mr Mumtaz said the numbers were still lower than what the shop had before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

“It was different before the pandemic. People are more aware of spending carefully now because of what happened during the pandemic,” he said.

Shops in Meena Bazaar struggled to make sales during Covid-19, with outlets having to close temporarily because of restrictions.

“But still, the Eid rush is always welcome, and we are making sure we meet the needs of our customers," Mr Mumtaz added.

Tanveer Arif, owner of Yellow Scarf – a tailoring shop that has been operating in Dubai's bustling Karama district since 2000, said she was welcoming up to 10 customers a day in the weeks leading up to Eid – double the number she had on a regular day.

She said the Eid rush was important for her, because business on normal days was not as good as it was before the pandemic. Her business used to receive about 12 customers a day before 2020.

"There used to be a lot of customers before the pandemic who used to come in for stitching," she said. "Now, it's Eid rush so people are coming in, but it's not the same."

Her shop stitches traditional outfits that South Asians wear, but also Arab-style dresses such as kaftans and jalabiyas.

"These are more popular now and are being sold a lot since last Ramadan," she said. "We have customers from all over the world who want custom-made clothing for Eid and we have also built a loyal customer base over the years."

Major boost in business

Other tailoring shops are also recording an increase in the number of customers, with some welcoming about 15 to 20 customers a day in the last few weeks leading up to Eid – twice the number they have seen in the past three years.

Mr Mumtaz, whose shop has been operating since 2006, said they charge a starting price of Dh75 for a custom-made traditional Pakistani dress.

“We are seeing an Eid rush. We have made a lot of loyal customers over the years that are putting in orders for Eid, as well as new customers," he said. "Our old clients are also sending fabric through Careem delivery to have their outfits ready in time.”

Sikander Ali, from Angel Style in Meena Bazaar, said his tailoring shop was welcoming up to 15 customers a day who were looking to place orders for Eid – nearly twice the figure he sees on a regular day.

His shop, which has been operating for two years, charges a starting price of Dh65 for a basic style of shalwar kameez, traditional Pakistani clothing.

“I think people are spending openly during Ramadan and Eid because it is an important time in the religion,” Mr Ali said.

“That is why tailoring shops are seeing more customers now than they usually do because they want to celebrate Eid properly after fasting for 30 days during Ramadan, so they want custom-made clothing and to look good.”

Updated: April 06, 2024, 7:05 AM