The very best of Dubai Shopping Festival 2016
A guide to the events, markets and competitions happening this month
It's Dubai Shopping Festival, a.k.a the best month ever.
From Jan 1st till Feb 2nd, Dubai retailers can take advantage discounts ranging from a very reasonable 30% off to a whopping marvellous 70% off, including some gorgeous luxury labels.
But, if jostling your way through the sales rack at Bloomingdales isn't your cup of tea, there's plenty more going on this month to take advantage of, so chin up. There are performances to watch, markets to visit, and raffles – with massive prizes – to enter. There's a mammoth amount of sales stuff going on. So, here's a quick run-down of some of the must-dos-and-sees of DSF 2016.
15 to 17 (maybe 23 – there are mixed reports) January, Mall of the Emirates
Haute fashion takes over MOE with fashion labels new to Dubai making their debut. Think: in-store fashion shows galore. But the main attraction of Fashion Central is 'Fashiontainment', a fusion of fashion and...well...entertainment. Apparently it'll be a high-end fashion show interspersed by musical performances by OMI – the man behind the catchy summer hit 'Cheerleader'. Fans take note: this 'Fashiontainment' shindig will be happening on the 15th at 6:30PM.
15 to 16 January, Dubai Festival City Mall; and 22- 23 January, Ibn Battuta Mall
A bit zanier that 'Fashiontainment', Fashion Express involves pop-up shops, live Djs and flashmobs. Yes, flashmobs. Apparently they're still a thing. And of course there'll be the usual in-store competitions and all that stuff. But what we're really looking forward to is unsuspecting shoppers being ambushed by a group of synchronised dancing randoms.
Fashion on Ice
17 January, The Dubai Mall Ice Rink
Not to be left out of the sartorial huddle, TDM (an acronym I've made up that I'm hoping will one day catch on) will be hosting a fashion spectacle of its very own. This dramatic show will have pro-figure skaters modelling avant-garde collections courtesy of Galleries Lafayette. Expect lots of mood lighting, video projections and, avant-garde outfits permitting, a double axel or two.
18 January, Al Fahidi District; 23 January, Burj Plaza; 25 January, Meena Bazar
These events see fashion step out of the malls and onto the streets. Fittingly, these catwalks will showcase high-street fashion labels (you know, the stuff most people can actually afford) against a backdrop of some of Dubai's most iconic locations: the historic Fahidi District (a fort that's been turned into a locale for quaint cafes and arts and crafts galleries), the ultra-modern Downtown Dubai Burj Plaza; and the bustling Meena Bazaar area (Dubai's real downtown). Pretty cool stuff.
Bazaars, markets etc.
Carpet and Art Oasis
Ongoing till 15 January, Dubai World Trade Centre
If you love your carpets (which, as The Big Lebowski has taught us, can really tie a room together), artisanal goods and antiques, you have to pay a visit to this massive expo before it wraps up. There are over 100,000 exhibits of gorgeous rugs from countries like Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, China and India.
Market Outside the Box
21 to 30 January, Downtown Dubai
In a more hipster-direction, this pop-up market (in the little park outside of the Southridge complex) has smaller start-up retailers and artisans (mostly local) hawk their goods out of smaller versions of the funky cargo containers that make up the BoxPark in Jumeirah. Street food stands and sporadic musical performances make this a really good option for a cutesy day-time date.
26 January to 1 February, City Centre Mirdif and various other locations
Here in the Gulf we love our perfume, so its no surprise that DSF 2016 has a week of olfactory-based events lined up. The main venue for this scent-themed celebration is City Centre Mirdif’s Central Galleria. Day one will witness the world's largest ever perfume sampling: apparently some 200 personnel will spray 100 million dirhams worth of perfume all at the same time. Which sounds, and will probably smell, nightmarish and overwhelming.
On a less terrifying note, perfume experts will be around to teach visitors how to mix ingredients and test perfumes and they've set up perfume museum to educate folks about perfumes and the essential oils and ingredients that make them up.
Raffles and prizes
Infiniti Mega Raffle
Ticket sales and daily draws ongoing till 6 February
Buy ticket for this promotion and if Lady Luck looks your way you'll get to drive away with a slick Infiniti QX70, there's also daily draws and look out for the weekly AED 2-million cash draw. Get your tickets (priced at AED 200) from selected EPPCO & ENOC petrol stations, Al Ghurair Centre; Global Village; Al Fahidi Street; Al Rigga Street; Al Seef Street; Baniyas Road and the Gold Souk.
Nissan Grand Raffle
Ticket sales and daily draws ongoing till 6 February
Another hot deal brought to you by the Nissan Group. This raffle gives away eight Nissan models every day. To drive away with one of these cars (preferably a Pathfinder or a Patrol), just spend AED 20 at a ZOOM or Pronto outlet, AED 35 at Prowash in ENOC/EPPCO stations, or AED 100 for an AutoPro or oil change service. You might be able to just buy a ticket too though, but don't quote me on that. The draws for both of these Nissan Brand raffles happen at the Global Village every night at 10pm.
Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group Prizes
Ongoing till 1 February at various jewellery retailers all over Dubai
We're not entirely sure of the details here, but basically they've got about 56kg of gold to give away. For every AED 500 worth of gold or diamonds you buy, you get coupons that enter you into the raffle, where three lucky winners get the chance to win 1kg, 0.5kg and 0.25kg of gold daily.
VISA's Impossible Deals
Ongoing till 1 February, register at www.visamiddleeast.com/dsf
So I signed up for this one in an attempt to learn more about what was going on here. Apparently, registrants receive daily notifications about the 'impossible' deals via email and text. The deal goes live at 2pm and the first six entrants get to seal the deal. Today's sweet deal, for example, is a ladies TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch in stainless steel with a diamond-encrusted bezel. Click on the deal in time and you get this watch, which normally retails at AED 9,950 for just AED 2,000. IMPOSSIBLE! This one is a good one to take advantage of if you actually want what they're discounting.