Qasimi, A Groundbreaking Fashion House Bringing Middle Eastern Culture to the world.
The Middle East's variegated and colorful world of clothing is making it's way to the world stage with the quick rise Arab fashion during recent years. One Arab brand that has been making a lot of noise in the fashion scene lately, is Emirati brand Qasimi. Founded by the late Sheikh Khalid Al-Qasimi, Qasimi is a London-based fashion brand with a Middle Eastern heritage that focuses on crafting understated and refined garments from a perspective that reflects its multicultural origins.
The clothing features elements from different Arab countries, that is because The brand's narrative centers around the idea of an urban nomad who's endeavors takes them through various journeys across the Arab world. Which in turn, creates a culture dialogue and exchange, seeking to unite rather than divide through the powerful medium of clothes. Qasimi was built upon four pillars: architecture, color, military and messaging.
Architecture informs the approach to design and underpins the philosophy behind the label: that clothes are to be lived in. The colors are inspired by the Middle Eastern hues of where desert meets sea. The military influence stems from the designer’s memories of growing up during the Gulf War. Messaging to allow the designer to express his views, weaving politics and poetry into his collections; deftly and delicately exploring subjects ranging from the strained relationship between the Middle East and the West, to his own life experiences.
The brand's founder, Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi, was the second son of Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, who has been ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah since 1972. He moved to London when he was nine years old[and was educated at the Tonbridge School in Kent. That enabled him to forge a unique perspective of the world around him and was able to channel that through his work as a designer. He was a strong visual communicator and won two golden prizes in the First Arab-Euro Festival for Photography in 2004. His goal was to move people, to get them thinking and questioning the world around them. in 2008, he founded the brand Qasimi Homme, acting as both it's CEO and Creative Director. he would then go on to incorporate Arab elements in his male and female costume designs. Much of Al Qasimi's women's collection was inspired by the Gulf’s colourful jalabiya dresses. Al Qasimi said models should "resemble warriors walking out of a crypt and down the runway. Al Qasimi also used his brand to raise awareness and support for the #blacklivesmatter movement touched upon in his AW17 collection as well as objecting the wars in Syria and Afghanistan and those affected by them. This consequently resulted in the brand's collaboration with War Child - a charity for the silent victims of war: children - in 2018.
Al Qasimi's garments have been rocked by celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Florence Welch and Cheryl Cole.[In an interview with Japan Fashion TV, Al Qasimi said: "Qasimi is a way for me to discuss what's going on around us whether it is politics or economics". Some of his most popular designs include a £115 ($144) T-shirt with the writing in Arabic, that read: "Press. Don't Shoot." Al Qasimi was also the chairman of the Sharjah Urban Planning Council as well as the leader of the region’s first international platform for architecture, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial – a non-profit initiative funded by the Government of Sharjah, to focus on encouraging dialogue on architecture and urban-ism in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.
Sadly, Khalid Al Qasimi passed away in July 2019. A ripple shock ran through London when he passed away and three days of national mourning across the UAE were declared, beginning with flags to be flown at half mast. He was laid to rest on 3 July at Jubail Cemetery. In September 2019, Hoor al-Qasimi, Khalid's twin-sister, assumed the role of Creative Director continuing the legacy of her brother's work. She delivered the brand's collection in London Fashion Week for the autumn / winter 2020 collection. Hoor is a practicing artist and curator, as well as the President and found Director of Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) and the internationally respected Sharjah Biennial. Having a similar upbringing to her brother she shares many of the same sentiments with regards to current affairs and global issues, aesthetic and the arts.
The Autumn / Winter 2020 collection featured Tops that were printed with "Rise From The Darkness", and suits and jackets carried labels on cuffs that read "Renewel + Rebirth + Immortality", as a stark reminder that behind it all is a grieving sister. Embroidered inside some clothes and across the back of others was a golden setting sun with the words "Every Sun Has To Set" in English and in Arabic. This proved that Sheikha Hoor is unashamed of reminiscing on what has been lost, while resolutely moving forward. Sheikh Khalid would be proud.
Check out Qasimi's webiste and Instagram at:
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