The Brazilian fashion industry has great potential to elevate its participation in the market in the Arabian Gulf, mainly in the United Arab Emirates. This is the conclusion of a recent study by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB).
According to figures in the study, the Middle East is currently responsible for 5% of the clothes and accessory market in the world, evaluated at approximately US$ 205 billion.
“The Emirates are the main importers of these articles in the region, having purchased US$ 9.8 billion last year. Then comes Saudi Arabia, with US$ 3.8 billion,” explained César Liagi, Foreign Trade analyst at the CCAB.
Brazilian participation in this market is still modest. An average of 0.2%, as the study shows. The sector that stands out most is the shoe sector. “In this sector, Brazilian products answer to, on average, 3.1% of the total imported by the countries in the Gulf,” stated Liagi.
One of the companies that is taking advantage of this opportunity is Bical, a shoe producer from the city of Birigüi, in the interior of the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo.
This year, the industry intends to ship at least 30% of its exports to the countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Sales to the Arabs began in 2003.
The first client was a distributor from Saudi Arabia. Soon after that, the company started selling to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt.
These countries, according to information supplied by the company, already absorb around 20% of exports.
Garments are also finding fertile territory among the Arabs. Among the factors that created this opportunity, as shown by the study, is the great change in the consumption habits of the local population.
The access to information, products and services offered by countries all around the world and the cultural exchange have simplified the entry of foreign fashion into the Arab nations.
Brazilian stylists are, little by little, discovering this market and, with this, levering exports.
In the first four months of this year, the sector sold the equivalent to US$ 79,442 to the nations in the League of Arab States. In 2004, in the same period, the figures were smaller: US$ 59,557.
Names like Walter Rodrigues and Lino Villaventura are already well accepted by Arab women. The models made by Rodrigues, for example, may be found at Harvey Nichols, stores in Saudi Arabia and Villa Moda, in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. These stores offer products made by famous brands like Prada, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
“Except for some cases of clothes with transparencies, female clothes exported to the region keep the same cleavage and prints as those traded on other markets, like the European,” stated Liagi.
In Dubai, in the Emirates, beach fashion is very much sought, especially by the Europeans and Russians, but some Arab women, like the Lebanese, are great consumers too.
“Strong and different colors, and slightly broader garments than those sold to Brazil are the most sold,” stated Liagi.
One of the brands betting on this market is Rosa Chá. Clothes made by the Brazilian brand have been traded by boutiques in the Emirates and Lebanon for the last four years.
The buyers purchase articles in two ways: from the Rosa Chá showroom in Paris or import them directly from the factory, in the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo. The company intends to open a distribution center in the Middle East up to the end of the year.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency