The Arab state of Qatar is set to launch its own luxury brand called Qela. According to the Huffington Post, the Qatar Luxury Group, financed by the Qatar Foundation, plans to launch the brand worldwide in fashion capitals such as New York, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, Tokyo and London.
According to a source, the brand has been busily scouring shop locations in New York and Paris. Qela is said to have its eye on a particular property in the French capital's rue Saint-Honoré, where Dior, Louboutin, Prada, Hermès and Dolce & Gabbana are also located. A spokesperson for the brand, however, emphasized that Qela's first priority is a shop in Doha, Qatar's capital. "We want to establish Qela as a local brand. (…) In time, we will grow the brand into an international name."
This is not Qatar's first foray into fashion. In July, Mayhoola for Investments - an investment vehicle comprised of private investors from Qatar - acquired Italian fashion house Valentino for 700 million euros. The oil state also holds shares in French luxury powerhouse LVMH and the country is a majority shareholder in accessories brand Le Tanneur. Sheikha Mozah, the wife of the current emir of Qatar sheik Hamad, recently acquired a 34 million euro share in luxury accessories brand Anya Hindmarch.
During the past few years, Qatar has also been busily investing in French luxury hotels such as Hotel du Louvre, the Royal Monceau Hotel Lambert and Concorde Lafayette in Paris, the Martinez and the Carlton in Cannes and the Palais de la Méditeranée in Nice. The Qatari also own part of the Société des Bains de Mer, owner of various luxury hotels in Monaco. Considering these investments and the establishment of its own luxury brand, it seems likely that Qatar is slowly looking to join the high fashion market. The brand name Qela has already been copyrighted in dozens of countries worldwide, including the US, Switzerland and France.
Besides the luxury market, Qatar has also targeted the sports market. Since acquiring football clubs PSG and Malaga, Qatar has launched its own sports brand called Burrda. The label's ambition is to topple Nike and Adidas off their thrones as world leaders in the sports apparel branch. Whether Qatar - currently the world's richest Arab country thanks to its enormous oil and gas wealth - will succeed remains to be seen, but the upcoming world championships handball and football to be hosted by Qatar in 2015 and 2022 respectively will certainly contribute to Burrda's brand awareness.
Photo 1: Qela's logo
Photo 2: Valentino