There’s so much that Dubai is known for the world over. Sightseeing, food and culture, luxury, nightlife, beaches – it checks all the boxes on our list. But when it comes to shopping, especially for clothes, there really is no place like it.
The city has something for those who only walk into premium stores, the minimalists who prefer the simple classics, the maximalists who can’t live without a little bling, and the street fiends with great bargaining skills.
If you’re the kind of traveler that prefers to take off with empty bags and return with full ones, Dubai should be on your list of places to visit. No matter the kind of shopper you are, this list will give you a quick taste of the best places to go shopping for clothes in Dubai.
Dubai Mall (Luxury)
Why go here: To find multiple luxury brands and the best in global fashion in one space.
Your hunt for designer clothing can start (and end) at Dubai Mall. Touted as the world’s biggest mall, this shopping haven houses the world’s most premium clothing brands under one roof. Think Balmain, Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino – there are over 1200 stores you can visit to get your fashion fix. If uber luxury isn’t your style, you can also walk into the Zara, Mango and H&M stores for more mid-range clothing.
Tips: The mall has separate themed sections for shopping, which will help you save on time spent hunting for stores. Also, if you visit during the Dubai Shopping Festival or Ramadan, you’re bound to find some great discounts.
Mall of the Emirates (Luxury)
Why go here: The mall is a designated shopping resort, and has an indoor hotel and a lot of entertainment options. You can spend an entire day here, and take a break from shopping with a movie or a round of bowling.
The Prada and Gucci lovers can head straight to the Mall of the Emirates, which is synonymous with the premium fashion experience. It has some of the largest flagship stores of luxury brands from around the world, which also means you have a large collection to choose from. It’s shopping like you’ve never experienced before, and whether you’re a window shopper, looking for a one-time splurge or a true luxury fashion junkie, this is the place to visit.
Tips: The mall has a convenient Hands Free service, which means you can leave your shopping bags at a designated drop off spot, and they will be delivered to you later, either within the mall or at your hotel.
Textile Souk (Local’s Favourite)
Why go here: For vivid textiles and clothing, and tailored pieces that fit like a glove
The wares on sale in the Bur Dubai Textile Souk can dress you from head to toe in traditional gear – Indian sarees, Kashmiri Pashmina shawls, abayas, t-shirts, bottoms, slippers and accessories. Many locals prefer to come here to source beautifully patterned and vividly coloured fabrics and work with the expert tailors here to create bespoke pieces. Some of the most unique items of clothing are handcrafted in this very market, so it’s a great spot for fashion lovers who want their ideas sewn into one-of-a-kind garments.
Tips: Haggling is a given! Shop owners will often offer greater deals on already discounted items, so pick a reasonable price that works for you and go with it.
Ibn Battuta Mall (Local’s Favorite)
Why go here: For clothing from different parts of the world in an ambience that transports you to those very places.
A local haunt, and quite an architectural masterpiece, Ibn Battuta Mall is the world’s largest themed wall, with six devoted sections for fashion from India, China, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia and Andalusia. Consequently, the clothing options here are distinct. That’s not saying that the more general brands aren’t available – larger retail labels like Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and Decathlon are also part of the 250+ brands found here.
Dubai Outlet Mall (Local’s Favourite/Affordable)
Why go here: If you don’t mind second hand clothes, these are great places to get designer clothes. Also, shopping this way will reduce your carbon footprint!
True fashion lovers in Dubai often make their way to one of these three stores, for pre-owned goods from luxury brands. All these stores encourage sustainable buying by sourcing their clothing items from Dubai’s swish set, and offering them to buyers at cheap rates. The products are well cared for, and hardly worn, so you’ll be guaranteed a great outfit while helping the city recycle and reuse its fast changing fashions.
Tips: Garderobe has a record of all its pieces on its website, where you can buy, or simply browse before visiting the store.
The Outlet Village (Affordable)
Why go here: For a huge variety of brands at great deals in a fun, Italian-themed setting.
The Outlet Village is where shoppers go for retail offers and heavy discounts on high-end brands like DKNY, Roberto Cavalli, Armani and over a hundred others. You can claim designer goods at a fraction of their original price, with occasional offers bringing the price even lower. The stores are harboured in an Tuscany-inspired design with brick arches and quite a rustic European vibe, which makes the whole shopping experience quite enjoyable.
Tips: The place is known for selling some of the best party dresses, handbags and trainers in all of Dubai, at discounted prices. Don’t leave without some!
Dragon Mart (Affordable)
Why go here: For branded, mass-produced items at low prices, and for a ton of options to choose from.
The 4000 stores inside Dragon Mart source their wares from China at wholesale prices, and pass these rates on to their customers. It’s got all the makings of a good shopping mall for those on a budget. The more popular brands like H&M have outlets here too. Just ensure you check the garment before buying it, and ask check beforehand for the store’s return policy.
Al Karama (Budget)
Why go here: For serious bargains on everyday clothing items.
A walk through Al Karama or the Karama District will make you feel like you’re a world away from the more glitzy Dubai. Located a few minutes outside of the main city, near Dubai Creek, Al Karama is lined with tiny shops selling the same clothes you might find at a mall, but at prices as low as just 10% of the original. Haggling can bring the price lower, but you won’t always get the best quality. Counterfeit goods are quite common here, though they won’t be displayed out in the open.
Brands for Less/Tchibo (Budget)
Why go here: Though the rates are low, you don’t need to worry about quality. They’re both reputed brands that make everything from kids clothing to winter jackets.
There are multiple stores of both these brands across the city, and they’re quite popular for selling quality products are good prices. While Tchibo is a German brand that makes all kinds of clothing, Brands for Less is where you can get certain branded products at discounted rates.
Though the mall culture and brick-and-mortar stores are still thriving in Dubai, the online shopping market has seen a big boom in recent times. Value added services like free deliveries and easy returns make virtual shopping quite a smooth experience in the UAE. While on holiday, you can request for your clothes to be delivered to your hotel. In case you’re on a short trip and don’t want to risk missing the delivery, you also have the option of pre-ordering items before you arrive, and have it delivered within a particular time frame.
Namshi.com has a tremendous following for its vibrant stock of brands and quick deliveries; Souq.com is the UAE’s Amazon, with immense options for all kinds of clothing items and Sivvi.com is fashionable, offers great deals, and very reliable when it comes to bulk purchases. You can shop till you drop (off your chair)!