Conceptual streetwear brand Exhale has unveiled a new photographic campaign, which aims to promote unity during the current pandemic.
Lensed by UAE-based photographer Waleed Shah in collaboration with Sukoun studio, the series of images capture a group of young creatives of varied ethnicity and cultural backgrounds.
“The aim is to highlight and emphasize that we are currently dealing with and adapting to all that is going on in the world as a collective,” explains Nawal El Masri, founder and director of Exhale. “The #CompassionIsContagious campaign promotes unity as the key to solving a crisis. But this does not only resonate with the pandemic — it should be our everyday understanding. We are experiencing life as a single unit, no matter our ethnicity, our culture and our background; we are nobody to judge, discriminate, seclude or behave in any way that is not human. The aim is to awaken your most basic human elements – intuition, emotion, feeling – in order to come together during a challenging time.”
Evocative and powerful, each black and white portrait is set against a smoke-filled background with the subject, eyes to camera, wearing a mask emblazoned with the message ‘Compassion Is Contagious.’
“At a time like this, we felt the need to remind people of their true identity, one that is not classified by race, age or class but rather the emotional trait of compassion,” adds Mohammed Abualqumssan and Noor Ali, creative director and art director of Sukoun studio. “As visual creatives, we were keen to work with like-minded individuals to help spread a message that resonates with us all — come together for the better…We wanted to involve the youth to take the lead in this conversation, as they are the true seeds of change.”
With their range of unisex T-shirts, joggers and light athleisure jackets – many splashed with inspirational slogans – Exhale apparel is certainly aimed at a young demographic but their message is one that will resonate with the wider community.
“This virus doesn’t discriminate,” says Shah. “It has no racial, political, or gender bias. Let’s recognize that, adapt to it and come together as humans to help combat its severity.”