One day, the Sudanese culture will be grateful to him. Abdelgader El Tayeb is one of FTA Prize 2021 debut talent’s finalist, and the founder of El Tayeb Nation.  The young Arab designer submitted a video commissioned by Sara Maino which was shown during the Milan Fashion Week (July 18 to July 23), along with eight other emerging international brands. “I am proud to be a part of the MFW. This collection is important to me on an emotional level. It is an homage to my father, who passed away few weeks before I graduated. And I am very grateful to Sara Maino for her trust in me.” says El Tayeb.


What is the thing you wish people would stop wearing?
Fast fashion, definitely.

What creation of yours are you mostly proud of?
My favorite creation is the look 1 of the collection. I did as part of my graduation project. It synthesizes my vision of EL TAYEB NATION, the symbiosis of my Sudanese’s roots through a contemporary silhouette. It is composed of a basket sculpted navy leather short, with a red spencer military pea coat, embroidered with the Sudanese technique of basketry with palms leaves, a seamless red stretch tulle patchwork body assembled with tape, long henna leather officer’s gloves, and a sculptural military hat made of palm leaf basketry.

What was your worst fashion faux-pas?
When I was a teenager, Rock’n’ Roll was a trend at school and all the guys were wearing slim trousers and had the Beatles’ haircut. I used to dry my hair and put on a lot of gel to get the same effect, but I ended up looking like a hedgehog.

If you were to choose one of your looks, or that of any other designer of your choice, to wear every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
The full “Pleats Please” line from Issey Miyake.

Who do you dream of dressing?
The list is long but I would say: Tamino, Solange Knowles, Sevdaliza, Tracee Elis Ross, Leila Bekhti, Golshifteh Farahani.

When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter?
A few days before a shooting with Rokhaya Diallo and Rayan Nohra for Fashion Trust Arabia’s series The Muse and the Designer.”

What is your dream guest list of five persons (dead or alive) for a private dinner party at your house?
I love this question. I would choose: Nina Simone, Oumi Janta, Azzedine Alaïa, Jean-Paul Goude and Michelle Obama.

What does the word “sustainability” mean to you?
Giving back to the planet as much as we can in order to sustain our lifestyle and transmit a better world to the next generations. In fashion, I believe in circular economy, in slow fashion, in less production for more quality.

What would be the title of your Netflix documentary?
“Don’t Stay in your Place” – the title of the last book of the Franco-Senegalese journalist Rokhaya Diallo.

Describe the MENA region in 3 words.
Vast, Diverse, Young.

How is “Young, Arab and Proud” translated in your work?
First of all, just by the Arabic name of my brand. I also try to embrace the rich history of the Middle East, by showing the beauty of our culture, and also by questioning societal issues that need to be faced.

What is the Arab DNA made of?
I would say family, hospitality, and generosity.

What is the most common misconception about being an Arab?
Direct association with religious extremism.

If you could travel in time to meet any Arab icon, who would it be, and why?
I would travel in the Cairo of the 20’s to meet Asmahan. She was an enigmatic, emancipated and strong woman, all of which are today the qualities of a punk attitude. She was the James Bond girl of that era, and such an inspiration!

What makes you uncomfortable in the MENA fashion industry and that you would like to see changed?
I have the feeling that in this region, fashion is considered as a futile hobby. I would love the next generation to realize the cultural impact that fashion can have in society, and that they will use it as a tool to express their individual Arab identity.

How is the gender-neutral trend translated in the MENA fashion? 
I’m not informed enough to answer this question.

What is the one Arab tradition you would want to change, and what is the one you adore?
I would let women in the Arab world decide what they want to do with their lives. And the tradition that I love the most is Arab weddings, which can last for more than a week and are full of joy and generosity.

What is the Arab dish you could eat every day?
I could eat a nicely cooked and spicy shawarma every day. 

What is your favorite Arabic song, that is often stuck on repeat in your playlist?
One of my favorite at the moment is Kandaka by Mazmars. I’ve heard it so many times!

Um Kulthum or Fairuz?
Um Kulthum.

What is this one city in the MENA region you could live in forever and why?
Omdurman in Sudan, where my family house is, because it is a dynamic city where everything is moving. In comparison to Khartoum, where people are becoming self-centered, Omdurman has kept its conviviality, with real connections between neighbors, and I love that!