Meet Abduljalill of Since 2087, One of Saudi Arabia's Emerging Neo-Creatives In The Streetwear Scene
Saudi entrepreneur and creative Abduljalil is part of an emerging movement of Saudi creatives who are creating brands that reflect the Saudi identity in a fresh and unique way. Abduljalil's brand Since 2087 is doing just that, Since 2087, which has been based in Jeddah, originally started in 2010 as an online mood board on Tumblr. Its purpose was to document content from that era, before the rise of Instagram. The platform focused on various interests, including but not limited to Hip Hop, Streetwear, Art, European Football, and Pop culture.
Today, the brand is delving into the realm of Saudi streetwear and has aspirations to collaborate with like-minded individuals and brands in different creative spaces. They aim to engage in ventures involving Creative Consulting/Direction, Product Design, and Brand Strategy.
Since 2087's ultimate goal is ultimate to inspire the next generation of young creatives, with the mission to leave a legacy for Abduljalil’s future unborn grandchildren in the year 2087 & beyond.
In this interview we talk to Abduljalil about the beginnings of Since 2087, the fashion industry in Saudi Arabia, his vision for the brand in the next 10 years, and more.
What Was Your first job/venture as an Entrepreneur?
My first venture was during university in London in 2006, we had an assignment to present a project to a group of faculty “investors” [Dragons' Den/Shark Tank style] The product that we pitched at the time was “E-Balot” which was a two-sided vertical calculator playing cardholder, so essentially once you open the cardholder, you had only the Balot playing cards in the middle with the two calculators on each side, we had also pitched to sell sponsors on the product, and we won 1st place on this project.
I had several prototypes produced and co-designed with my cousin with various colors inspired by pop culture/sneakers colorways such as and not limited to the Nick Diamond OG dunk Nike “Tiffany” SB was a personal favorite.
I did not end up following up with the bulk order due to being quoted a hefty
minimum order from the factory at the time with also a risk in terms of quality
assurance of the product.
I still have those samples on my desk to this day though so you never know
Who were some individuals or brands that served as inspiration for the work you do
Growing up I was privileged to get exposed to several quotes on quote “cool” brands via the influence of my uncle Rakan who is 7 years older than me along with my other cousins Hani, Mansour, Badr, Ahmed, and my brother Omar.
I recall “KhaloRakan”, since he would not respond to me unless I referred to him as “such” even though he was probably 15 years old at the time and me being 8 or so, he would take me to areas such as Camden Town in London and we would explore all the stores/shops hunting for the baggiest jeans available along with all the cool stickers that we can collect, one of the brands that stood out was Stussy and we were pretty much obsessed, what's funny is still to this day my Family still recognize all these logos and brand names and would make it a point to highlight that on the lunch table to the various younger members of the family sporting their first Stussy hoodie to the lunch table.
Other notable brands: 100% Jordan's/Nike, since my cousins were very much highly competitive basketball players, we all idolized Jordan along with all the iconic basketball players and sneakers at the time, Reebok Shaq Attaqs was one of my all-time favorites along with Pennys, Barkleysto name a few.
How did the original idea for Since 2087 come about and did you envision it becoming
what it is today?
Being the eldest son in my grandfather's Family carrying my late grandfather's name, I've been raised and programmed with a mission at an early age to one day leave a legacy. 2087 is my mission statement on just that, I hope to one day leave a legacy for my unborn grandchildren [GOD willing].
Being that my grandparents worked in traditional careers in the Saudi public sector, I was always fearful as to how I would be able to even attempt to fill one of their shoes.
alhamdulillah, through my previous career as a management consultant (7.5 years), I've had the privilege to serve my beloved country in several sectors that my grandparents were passionate about such as not limited to (Housing, Health & Education).
And now with 2087, I hope to serve my personal passion in the booming culture sectors, today 2087 is producing Saudi streetwear, but with aspirations to express ideas on platforms beyond clothing and apparel.
The brand was sitting on the shelf as a“procrastinated dream” of“one day I’ll get it up and running”, and post-quarantine reflections are when and where I decided that I will be pursuing my passion project and really establishing Since 2087. This collection took around a year and a half to conceptualize and deliver.
What is the story behind the brand's journey, evolving from a Tumblr blog to a
consultancy and clothing company?
Back in the blog era pre-Instagram around 2007 or so, I had a list of websites that I would visit religiously and on a daily basis, the problem I faced at the time was that I would come across amazing content with no way convenient way to share it with my friends and or/documents, so when Tumblr came around I can truly say that it changed my life.
I now had an online space where I could share all the amazing content that I would
come across from websites such as not limited to (Complex/Hypebeast/Highsnobiety/Goal/NahRight/WorldStarHipHoP, to name a few) covering topics from sneakers, streetwear, football, hip hop, pop culture, design, and other diverse topics.
At some point, I would then start to create my own designs and post them online to test the waters. I recall being hyped when designs would receive positive feedback.
One of my favorite Tumblrs at the time was curated by the late Virgil Abloh, I recall having the privilege of meeting him in 2010 in Chicago at the RSVP gallery with “KhaloRakan” of all people. I remember him being so cool and humble, we talked about all the areas in London to shop I remember him mentioning Carnaby Street as one of his personal favorites along with the former BAPE store nearby, that interaction is one that I hold super dear to my heart and served as a critical moment to spark 2087.
What are your thoughts on Saudi Arabia’s creative scene, where it is now, and where
it will be in the coming years?
I was and still am very much inspired by the tremendous amount of creatives across all sectors in Saudi and the region, the floodgates have opened! Especially today with the recently established cultural commissions along with the great persevering team members behind them along with all the supporting private/public sector entities, I am very much excited for the next years across all the cultural sectors.
Today some are more advanced than others, so I still believe there is still more to come and we have only just scratched the surface.
I believe with the support the creatives have now been granted along with all the various channels and platforms to express, that we will hopefully not only inspire the next generation of local creatives but will also hopefully inspire the world. I am very much inspired by the trailblazing music scene, and hoping to see more of the new Saudi Hiphop scene grow, I am also particularly excited to see what Saudi cinema is brewing as well, and very much inspired by the recent efforts across film and TV to name a few.
With your heavy focus on streetwear, in your opinion, what does the fashion industry
in Saudi need for local streetwear brands to be successful?
Today, it is so apparent that a lot of young Saudis have aspirations to start a streetwear brand, so it is important for the youth to learn and do their homework as to how they can stand out from the growing competition. My best advice for anyone is to really “be yourself” and to tell “your story".
Try to find inspiration from your idols, your upbringing, and your inspirational figures, what is your story? What are you trying to tell with your product? On the other hand, I would love to see more local factories here in Saudi to support the growing demand of young creatives/entrepreneurs to produce their garments to the highest level and not have to sort to challenging external manufacturing sources.
For my side, I am very much approachable in case I can be of any help to any creative within the scene, I am very much pro the idea of knowledge transfer and transparency, and with my work, I really hope to inspire.
Your most recent collection paid homage to one of Jeddah’s most iconic
establishments, can you tell us about the story behind the collection and how the
did the idea come about?
In 2005, I was homesick while in London, and on a cold winter night craving a particular dish from home, I was admiring the Supreme and New York Yankees logos and their strong affiliation to NY city and thinking of the lack of symbols that are specific to Jeddah, and the idea of having this particular dish tells a story of the Westside region of Saudi Arabia and to me personally was a big part of my upbringing and associated with so many nostalgic memories such as [Home, Jeddah, comfort food, family lunches at my grandmother's house, weekend dinners with my cousins]
So when I came back to Jeddah, I went to the Red Sea mall with 3 portions of the dishes and did the photo shoot, I then printed life-size stickers that I would share on my travels around the world tagging many artistic sites with the chicken symbol of Jeddah.
Some of my favorite interactions were being stopped by random Muslims while away on travels who recognized the dish as a fond memory as part of their religious pilgrimage. To me, as my first collection, just like rappers with their first album, I wanted to tell my origin story, so my first collection was very much inspired by my '90s Jeddah upbringing consisting of (the Jeddah iconic dish, 2pac, The beach/Durrah & Al-Ittihad) fused with my favorite streetwear brands (Stussy, BAPE & Supreme)
From the beginning of your journey until today, what are the 3 most important things
Learn to live with pain, you cannot escape pain, and there are two kinds: the pain you go through putting in work, hustling to make your dreams come true, pain at the gym, the pain of cutting social activities for work, the pain of sacrifice...or alternatively, the worst pain of them all, the pain of not trying at all and living with regret, choose one.
Trust yourself and your gut instinct, I’ve had many instances of people who I am very much influenced by telling me not to peruse this idea, or that I would be crazy to peruse that idea, or the harmful words of “be careful” that lock you to your comfort zone.
In the words of the late Steve Jobs: “Stay humble, and stay foolish” I believe it is critical to always sustain the student mindset, there is always new information that will add value and improve your approach and perspective, knowledge is power.
One last piece of advice when producing your work, is to truly challenge yourself and your team, you have to aim to make your work undeniable and impossible to ignore.
Where do you see yourself and Since in the next 10 years?
On a personal level, I hope to establish a family by then with children to raise and to share all my straight-up gangster rap playlists with.
On the 2087 front, I hope to build a team/network of visionary like-minded partners and to have delivered inspiring projects across multiple cultural sectors both locally and internationally.
“If you’re reading this, reach out”
I have dreams of culinary experiences, music videos, music art covers, film scripts, reviving “sleeping giants” brands, boutique hotels, and other dreams that I will continue chasing, as the Clipse says “Till the casket drops.”
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