Start a fashion and design company in Dubai, UAE


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If you’ve spent time in Dubai, you’ll be aware of what big business fashion is in this part of the world. Not only is the local population known for their style, but the malls up and down the emirate are lined with fashion brands, from local boutiques to household names like Gucci and Prada.

In all, the UAE’s fashion market is estimated to be worth over USD 12bn, with apparel accounting for over two-thirds of that figure.

That represents a vast potential market for newcomers looking to stake a claim. And there’s more good news. With the right support and advice, starting a fashion business in Dubai can be quick and straightforward.

What are the benefits of starting a fashion company in Dubai?

There are many great benefits to starting a fashion company in Dubai. For one, you’ll benefit from the emirate’s 0% taxation rate on both corporate and personal income. When you start a mainland business, there are also no restrictions on location. You are free to set up your store and warehouse anywhere in the UAE.

You’ll also be joining a vibrant and growing market with a strong consumer appetite for new brands and styles. If you’re planning to bring materials in from outside the UAE, you’ll also find import duty to be significantly lower than in other parts of the world.

Finally, the company formation process is time tested by hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, meaning it’s built for speed and efficiency.

How to start a clothing brand in Dubai, UAE

The first thing to do when starting any business in the UAE is seek out the services of a local company formation expert. Set Hub can manage every step of the process on your behalf, from trade name registration to license, visa and bank account applications.

Steps to start a fashion and design company in Dubai

1. Selecting your business activities

First of all, you will need to decide on your business activity. This could be a retail store, fashion import/export, fashion design, or other sub-sector. While you are permitted to list more than one business activity on your license, it is important that you include the specifics of every activity that you intend to carry out. Failure to do so could lead to issues later.

All permitted business activities are outlined by the local Department of Economic Development (DED).

2. Choosing your company name

The next step is choosing a name for your business.

When choosing a company name in the UAE, you must abide by a strict set of naming conventions.

In short, you should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations and avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e., Dave Mann Consulting, rather than D Mann Consulting. You must also check that your chosen name is available to register.

3. Making your license application

With your activities listed and your trade name registered, you can now apply for your license.

This application is made to the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). You can conduct this process yourself or allow Set Hub to manage it for you. In either case, you are usually only required to provide a few details and some basic documentation, including:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
  • Two colour passport size photos.


4. Making your visa applications

As well as a trade license, you will also require a residency visa to work in the UAE. The process consists of several steps, including biometric scanning, a medical test, and a chest x-ray.

As the holder of a UAE business license, you can also sponsor others for their visas too. This could be a spouse, parent or child, or a domestic worker such as a housekeeper.

The maximum number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your company, your chosen setup and, for dependant visas, your personal earnings.

5. Opening a corporate bank account

The final step is the opening of your corporate bank account to trade in the UAE. This can be a complicated process for entrepreneurs from outside the GCC.

However, Set Hub can once again handle this process for you, liaising with relevant authorities on your behalf.

What is the cost of starting a fashion company in Dubai?

There is a lot to consider when calculating the cost of starting a fashion brand in the UAE. For example, the location of your premises, materials, staff numbers, and much more can have a bearing on the final price.

There is also the cost of your trade license, of course, which you can expect to be in the region of AED 18,000 to AED 30,000.

The best way to get a comprehensive understanding of the costs involved in starting your fashion business is to get in touch with Set Hub. After understanding your requirements, we can find the right package for you and provide a detailed quote.

Are you ready to start your fashion business in Dubai?

Hopefully, this guide has made clear that setting up a fashion business in Dubai doesn’t have to be overly complex if you’re armed with the right knowledge.

That being said, it does require a level of prior understanding of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Set Hub when establishing a new company in the UAE.

We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.

As well as handling your license application, Set Hub can also assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.

We also offer visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits and visa applications that are required to trade in the UAE.

In short, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.