Fashion in Dubai: How to Wow on Your Trip

Fashion in Dubai is unique and powerful explains one of the city’s top personal stylists

Nicola Flifel is a professional fashion stylist in Dubai who is known throughout the region for her ability to style her clients with flair, passion and attention to detail.

Her fashion styling company, MyStylistDubai offers a highly personalized service to women who call on Nicola for style consultations, personal shopping sprees, wardrobe reviews and overhauls.

As well as working with her private clients, Nicola undertakes commercial and editorial styling work in the city.

Nicola is also accredited as an International Professional Stylist by the British College of Professional Styling.

Nicola Flifel the fashion stylist with a client

Fashion in Dubai is more about creativity rather than trend or sophistication like it is in other parts of the world. Women in particular are looking for unusual pieces that are handmade, vibrant and flamboyant‘ – Nicola Flifel, Professional Fashion Stylist, Dubai

Here Nicola tells Nativa World about her personal styling journey  and gives her top fashion tips for a business trip to Dubai…

Nicola, how and why did you begin to work as a Fashion Stylist in Dubai?

After studying Fashion Merchandise Management at University and beginning my career in the buying office at House of Fraser I soon realized that the corporate world was not for me. I wanted to work closely with small brands and have one on one relationships with individuals that needed help with their style which in turn build their confidence. Creating your own sense of style to me, is a huge reflection of someone’s personality and individuality. I came to Dubai in 2009 to join my family who had recently immigrated to pursue different careers. Together with my husband and 2 year old son we embarked on a new journey. I saw this as a challenge and an opportunity to bring my international knowledge to a new region that was soon to become a fashion capital.

What’s your signature look?

As I said previously I think it’s important to express your individuality through fashion and style which to me is taking a simple look and adding a twist. Whether it be a hat, a scarf around the neck or as a hair band or the use of layering such as a shirt under a jumper, style is that added element which indicates your efforts.

What’s been your defining moment as a fashion stylist?

I have had many and count myself extremely lucky to be working in a job that I love. Moments such as styling stars on their latest music video, directing my first fashion show in the Middle East are defining moments in my career however what tops them all is helping a wonderful woman in remittance from Cancer find her smile again and gain her confidence back with a whole new wardrobe.

How does it work when a client comes to you for personal styling services?

I would let them know what a personal styling session entails and establish what the goals of the client are. If the client is based in the region then I would visit their home and have a wardrobe ‘weed out’ initially so that we can identify the missing staple items before heading to the shops. However for those coming from abroad the focus is learning what is best for their color palette, body shape and spending time together shopping in order to teach the individual to try different shapes and most importantly that shopping can be a very liberating experience when you know what to look for.

How easy is it to look fashionable in Dubai for work?

The fashion clothes industry in Dubai is rapidly growing and new designers are coming onto the scene every minute so I would say that keeping up with the pace is quite difficult IF you let it be. Glam is the word on the street here and even a casual look here in Dubai consists of all the latest trends. There is no going out in your tracksuit and no make- up here I’m afraid. Personal styling in London or Dubai is no different to me…we all have our style hang-ups wherever we are in the world.

Nicola Flifel a personal stylist in Dubai

What do businesswomen need to consider when creating their work wardrobes in Dubai?

Clean lines, clear block colors are key to your working wardrobe. Concentrate on the staple pieces such as a pencil skirt, tailored trousers, jumpsuit and classic dress to start with then the rest will fall into place. Also take into consideration that Dubai is a Muslim country and we should all respect the culture which includes dressing respectfully i.e. skirt below the knee etc. Keep it elegant and sophisticated and you won’t go wrong.

How different is fashion in Dubai compared to other locations?

Fashion in Dubai is more about creativity rather than trend or sophistication like it is in other parts of the world. Women in particular are looking for unusual pieces that are handmade, vibrant and flamboyant. Color and texture working together to make an eye catching outfit is key. The fashion industry in Dubai is now making its mark on the map and more and more talented designers are coming from the region. I would say it is very unpredictable and exciting industry to work on as who knows what crazy trend is upon us!!

What should women pack before heading to Dubai on a business trip?

Come with your best work attire. Think ‘strong woman with impeccable style’ and pack all your garments and accessories that have the wow factor.

What about makeup?

In terms of makeup there are no rules and what is important is that it works for you.  Neutrals are obviously beautiful and such a trend right now, but working with your strong wardrobe I would go glam in the makeup department. If ‘too much’ is not your thing then experiment with your lip color.

Are there any great fashion designers coming out of Dubai or nice shops to visit?

Where do I start, beautiful boutiques are popping up every month such as Sauce, Bambah, IF, Das, West LA, Symphony and Valleydez together with new talent such as Madiya al Sharqi, Mochi, Endemage and Zayan the Label. Dubai has so many options to find something a little different.

Which are your favorite fashion apps?

My favorite apps have to be Pose which I like Instagram for fashion. Users post their favorite outfits and share those with followers. You can like or comment on photos and find inspiration for your own wardrobe. I also like the app The Hunt – where you can add a photo of something you found in a magazine or that someone on the street is wearing and the users will go to work to find it for you.

Who inspires you in the business world with their sense of style?

Stella McCartney is not only a very talented designer, but is a huge influence to all women in the business and style communities. Amal Alamuddin (wife of George Clooney) is also becoming a woman to watch, with beauty and brains. Lastly I have a lot of respect for Victoria Beckham who has become a huge style icon, fashion designer and entrepreneur since her Spice Girls days.

Nicola’s Top Packing Tips For Dubai

  • Glamorous swimming costumes ( of different varieties)
  • Large rimmed hat
  • Sky scraper designer heels
  • Selection of sunglasses
  • Your best dresses
  • Designer handbags

Nicola’s Top Style Tips For Dubai

Dare to be different – it’s not about what label you wear or what you wear, it’s how you wear it.

Photography courtesy of Nicola Flifel