“Apocalyptic tomb raider” is how the DJ twins Simi and Haze Khadra describe their aesthetic these days. Picture a web of black straps and safety pins; oversize sunglasses from their Off-White campaign; and shades of orange and magenta slashed across their eyelids. The neon beauty look, while rampant on fall runways, is the antithesis of top-model polish. “We dress and wear makeup as if the world is ending tomorrow,” says Simi.
The 25-year-old Palestinians grew up in the spotlight. Their mother owned a boutique in Saudi Arabia and took them to runway shows, where their once Pre-Raphaelite locks captivated street-style photographers. Since then, the twins have assumed a near-constant front-row perch supporting designer pals like Alexander Wang and Virgil Abloh. It’s not a stretch to say that SimiHaze (their DJ name) sets a certain tempo in the fashion community, as much with their party beats as with their no-rules ethos. “Our discovery of beauty didn’t come from a place of ‘Oh, I have to wear makeup to look pretty,’ ” says Simi. “It was more ‘How can we use color in an interesting, fun, and bold way?’ ”
The search for self-expression expanded at the University of Southern California, where the itinerant sisters—raised by Palestinian parents between Riyadh, London, and Dubai—graduated with double majors in film production and fine art. It was there they realized how much of the creative realm is “all about recontextualization,” says Simi, who counts Yoko Ono among her inspirations. A Picasso-like stroke of color across a face, for instance, can be art. “Pushing the limits on what’s out there has always been our main interest,” adds Haze.
That pioneer spirit finds a new outlet this fall, with a debut EP that further burnishes the DJs’ reputation on the international circuit. (“We turned Cannes into a trap party—they needed it!” says Haze.) Expect collaborations with unknown SoundCloud artists and sought-after beat-makers like Dev Hynes, as well as “summery dance songs with a global sound,” says Haze. Anticipating those who might be quick to call the project inauthentic, she asserts, “We’re actually Middle Eastern, we actually go to Jamaica—we’re from the world.” As for quality control, it comes down to a simple test: “If we really have fun dancing to it, it’s a song,” says Simi. Similarly, makeup is only worth putting on “if it makes us feel happier, like there are no limits.”
This article first appeared on Vogue.com