The shoe’s on the other foot: How Dubai workwear is now dictated by its people after ‘hipster’ revolution transformed staff attire

PRESS RELEASE Dubai, UAE 14th September 2017: The Dubai designer behind many of the city’s most iconic uniforms has revealed how hipster-led trends have revolutionised UAE workwear, rewriting the rules of professional attire.

David Sprakes,design and production manager at Dubai-based hospitality uniform manufacturers A. Ronai, has spent the last 23-years at the forefront of modern workwear, dreaming-up award-winning ensembles for the region’s leading airlines, and a catalogue of its most popular hotels and restaurants.

Across his tenure as one of Dubai’s most respected industry designers, he has observed and helped drive many significant culture shifts in the style, shape and shading of work outfits adorned by thousands of the city’s people every day.

However, he believes that the transformation uniforms have gone through in the last year alone has forever revolutionised the city’s approach to workwear – and now leaves staff with almost a full closet of work attire.

Speaking ahead of presenting A. Ronai’s latest line of stand-out outfits at ‘The Runway’ feature at next week’s The Hotel Show Dubai, Sprakes said: “I have noticed many changes over the last ten years. There has been a real move away from the traditional Dubai look and feel, as the Emirate embraces trends from the rest of the world.

“The hipster trend, imported from the likes of Brooklyn and Camden, hit the UAE last year. With that, we’re now seeing a shift away from very formal uniform designs. What’s in fashion and heavily requested across Dubai at the moment is more denim, braces, checked shirts, waistcoats, even fedora hats. The hipster style is making a big impact.”

Sprakes relishes that ‘the hipster effect’ has signaled an end to the days of brash and stuffy workwear, ushering in an era of uniforms experts consider to be on the verge of haute couture.

He continued: “International hotels and restaurants opening across the city are like those you might find in London, Chicago, or Spain, and the looks are becoming just as intercontinental.

“Rather than staff looking very similar to one another, venues are being more relaxed with uniforms and employing staff with a more individual look and working with that.

“This year we’ve been delighted to work with Roda Al Murooj Downtown Dubai on the new look for the British-themed ‘Double Decker’ bar. The staff there are able to wear their own jeans, whilst the attire we designed is customized to each individual person, certainly with a hipster influence to it including a canvas blazer for management and checked shirts for service staff.”

The movement towards uniforms that reflect employee personality has gone hand-in-hand with the Emirates’ growing hospitality and commercial diversity, which will also be explored at The Hotel Show.

Sprakes added: “We are launching our new catalogue at The Hotel Show Dubai. ‘The Runway’ is a static fashion show that will showcase more than twenty of the latest looks from front of house service staff to back of house including chefs and housekeepers. We will also have a full range of our latest available materials with brand new styles, textures and colours.”

At The Hotel Show Dubai (18-20th September 2017) other trends to be covered reflect the latest developments in the fast-growing and diversifying hospitality industry including: ‘Market Positioning’, ‘Design & Layout’, ‘Technology’, ‘Women in Leadership’ and ‘Predictions for the Ongoing Development of Dubai’s Hospitality & Tourism Sector’ at ‘The Middle East Hospitality Leadership Forum’.

The conference, alongside ‘The Runway’ and ‘The Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions’ will take place across the three days of the annual hospitality exhibition.

This year, the 18th edition of The Hotel Show will take place as part of Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW). The Dubai Tourism endorsed event, organised by dmg events and the DWTC, is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors.

The three-day event, taking place at the DWTC, encompasses six hospitality and foodservice trade shows under one roof: The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show (owned and organised by dmg events); GulfHost, The Speciality Food Festival, and SEAFEX Middle East (owned and organised by DWTC); and yummex ME (jointly organised by DWTC and Kölnmesse).

To find out more and register to attend the events for free, visit:

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