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After investing billions of dollars in the luxury goods market abroad, Qatar has created its own chic fashion brand at home. The Qatar Luxury Group’s (QLG) Qela made its debut last week with the opening of a boutique store at the Pearl.

Many of its products, including purses, jewelry and clothes are designed and made by craftsman in Doha, and the shoes are made in Italy. Among its offerings are one-off pieces and items made to order.

Qela describes its autumn collection as presenting a:

“Flowing, almost minimalist line, subtle yet rich colour, and details recalling local landscapes and culture such as garments referencing the local man’s cloak or bisht or evoking fluid, organic shapes inspired by the desert dunes.”

Speaking to Doha News at its workshop at the Al Emadi Financial Plaza on C-Ring Road this week, a Qela spokeswoman explained that French artisans are behind the creation of many items in the boutique, but the goal is to increase the number of Qataris involved.

Because QLG falls under Qatar Foundation, the aim is to recruit some fashion-minded graduates, a company executive told the Huffington Post last year.

Internationally, the new brand is being viewed by some as an effort to shore up Qatar’s soft power and change people’s associations with the country from politics or its ecological record to luxury.

Next up for Qela will be signing with a French gallery to open up operations in Paris – although no timeline has been given – and then, New York City. Other fashion capitals like Milan and Hong Kong are also being eyed.

Have you seen the new store yet? Thoughts?

Credit: Photos by Gazanfarulla Khan


More than a year after announcing plans to introduce a new luxury brand to the global market, Qatar has set an official launch date for its first boutique.

Qela, Qatar’s first homegrown fashion brand, will open Sept. 25 on the Pearl, the Qatar Luxury Group has announced.

Among its offerings: leather goods, shoes, jewelry and women’s clothing with “desert-inspired smooth shapes and generous volumes provide a feeling of comfort and general well-being.”

Following its Doha launch, Qela plans to open a shop in Paris within months and will eventually establish a presence in several fashion-conscious cities in the coming years, including New York, Milan and Hong Kong.


Qatar is not unfamiliar with the luxury market, having invested billions of dollars in recent years into brands like LVHM, Tiffany’s and Valentino’s.

And according to Reuters, QLG, which is run by former LVMH executive Gregory Couillard, bought an 86 percent stake in the Paris-listed leather goods company Le Tanneur et Cie last year.

Some have viewed the new brand’s creation as an effort by Qatar to shore up its soft power. Last year, the Huffington Post reported that the image-conscious nation was pursuing a foray into the luxury market in a bid to change long-held international associations.

That could include Qatar’s reputation as a nation struggling with obesity, a country with a high carbon footprint and a political chess player.

And because QLG falls under the auspices of Qatar Foundation, the hope is also that Qela will provide jobs to some of Education City’s fashion-minded graduates, a then-company executive told HuffPo.


Credit: Photo for illustrative purposes only by Habier Lopez

Christian Dior.




The country may soon join the ranks of international luxury brands with a new venture that Qatar plans to push globally in the next few years, according to a report in the Huffington Post.

The brand, whose name has not been disclosed by parent company Qatar Luxury Group (QLG) but was discovered by HuffPo nonetheless, is planning to launch in 10 of the world’s most fashion-conscious cities in the coming years, including New York, Milan, Paris and Hong Kong.

But QELA, which is registered under US trademark law to sell perfumes, jewelry, shoes and leather goods, among other things, will open its first branch at home, in Doha. 

HuffPo reports:

“We have filed for trademarks in many countries to date so that no one will be able to take the name,” (Caroline Guillon, QLG marketing director) says. “But our priority is launching in Qatar. This will start as a local brand. Do not expect a launch with great fanfare or fireworks …” 

In Doha, the goal remains to launch by the end of the year, but as always, construction is never free from delays.

It appears that any advances that the self-proclaimed luxury brand makes in the global fashion industry would certainly serve more than QLG’s bottom line.

A positive reception for QELA also spells success for image-conscious Qatar’s desire to be seen as more than just a tiny gas-rich Arab emirate with over-consumption problems.

In short, all of the superlatives holding it back (obesity, carbon footprint, political chess player) could be forgotten, or left behind, if Qatar = luxury. 

Job generator

QLG falls under the auspices of Qatar Foundation and QELA, which is already recruiting in Doha, could also help the country employ some of the young nationals who graduate from Education City universities.

“Our main shareholder is the Qatar Foundation, which has a mission to educate young Qataris,” Guillon told HuffPo. “Our future brand will allow us to train some in the luxury sector.”

Qatar is no stranger to the fashion and luxury market, having invested billions of dollars in recent years into brands like LVHM, Tiffany’s and Valentino’s.

But at the end of the day, deep pockets notwithstanding, “branding cannot be decreed,” and Qatar will have to earn its stripes to make it as a luxury brand, the HuffPo report asserts.


Credit: Photo courtesy of Creative Action Design