A chat with Zeina Ladki, founder of Dubai’s coolest concept store FLTRD
As you walk through the long hallways of Gate Avenue DIFC*’s super sleek mall, a cute concept store catches the attention from afar. Neons, colors, patterns, are spotted from a distance while a charming little café at the front tempts us to sit down and indulge in yet another flat white.
This joyful fashion and design temple is no other than FLTRD, a place where clothes meet design, meet jewelry, homewear and more. Behind this concept, Lebanese shoe-lover and entrepreneur Zeina Ladki, who first dove into the world of fashion with the opening of her own multi-brand shoe store in her home country. The store, she reminisces, “featured well known international designers, such as Sergio Rossi, among other brands.“
Later on, Ladki pursued her entrepreneurial journey with the launch of a multi-brand accessory store where she “secured exclusive rights to showcase brands” amongst them, Reminiscence.
Zeina, who clearly knows a thing or two about the world of multi-label boutiques, eventually settled in Dubai, where she kickstarted the FLTRD adventure back in December 2020, amidst a very challenging COVID era. Understanding the huge potential that the Middle East had to offer, the store, she says “has been dedicated to highlighting the talent of local and regional designers (…)“.
And that’s how “For the love of Talented and Radical Designers” FLTRD, was born. Over the past 3 years, Ladki tells us that the store “has developed into showcasing a well curated selection of both international and regional designer,” and that “FLTRD has opened several opportunities for a bigger selection of talents to showcase their work in exhibitions,” the latter, she reports, being their focus for 2024.
With an impressive portfolio of brands sold under the FLTRD umbrella, we’re itching to understand how Ladki undertakes her curatorial process: “In curating the selection of brands for FLTRD, I prioritize quality, uniqueness, and commercial appeal. Each brand is carefully chosen to ensure it aligns with the store’s vision and resonates with our clientele.”
A commercial appaeal being, as she mentions, necessary in Fashion Buying: “Being a successful Fashion Buyer involves more than just having good taste; it requires the ability to identify commercial items. The curated items need to have a broad appeal in the market I am targeting,” she explains.
Talking of targeted markets, we’re curious to know who’s the FLTRD demographic?: “our target audience is not defined by demographics but rather by loyalty. The consumer behavior towards concept stores in Dubai reflects a desire for exclusive and unique items that stand out and cannot be found anywhere else,’ tells Zeina.
In a city where shopping has its own festival, we love these destinations that truly develop a relationship with their customers and focus their efforts on fostering these relationships. For the future, Zeina aims to “expand [their] online platform to accommodate the growing number of talented designers in the region, providing wider access to the curated selection of unique and innovative designs showcased at FLTRD.”
We can’t wait to see it.
*Dubai International Financial Center