Rising star designer Khalid Al Qasimi of Qasimi talks to Vogue Arabia about his new Fall 2017 collection, the brand’s DNA of cool, and how Emirati influences are fused into the brand’s sartorial signature. The maison deftly combines an urban, utilitarian edge with traditional Middle Eastern garments in longline silhouettes. Inbuilt into the brand’s agenda is a political undercurrent, so expect each unfolding collection to have a thought-provoking twist that will undoubtedly appeal to renegade dressers. Your 60-second masterclass on one of the hottest Middle Eastern menswear designers begins here.
In what way do you show your Emirati heritage in your designs?
My heritage is touched through subtle nuances. For example, silhouette, fabrications, and even print. For Fall 2017 we reworked traditional military pieces, such as the field jacket and cargo trousers. We also applied embroidery of Arabic protest texts as, “If we knew who listened we wouldn’t write on these walls,” which brings together the notion of the silent protest.
What would you describe as your biggest achievement in fashion business since you started ?
Being stocked in major international retailers like Harvey Nichols.
How would you define your designs?
My goal is to create beautifully crafted product infused with cultural, social, and political undertones that inform and inspire.
List three key looks from your design archive that are quintessential to your brand aesthetic:
Three looks that really represent the Qasimi aesthetic are our Spring 2017 look 6, Fall 2017 look 13, and Spring 2018 look 4.
What makes a good menswear fashion designer, in your opinion?
With menswear you have to design within certain parameters and, in my opinion, have to push these slightly while still keeping a balance of fit, construction, and detail to make it successful.
Describe the menswear fashion scene in the UK in contrast to the Middle East?
You can’t compare the two. The menswear scene in the Middle East is very young with only a handful of designers, while London has a longstanding tradition with men’s clothing that goes back hundreds of years.
The Qasimi collection is currently available at www.qasimi.com and Spring 2018 Qasimi will be available in Harvey Nichols Dubai.