Experiencing a New Season at Qasimi

Hoor Al-Qasimi reflects on the British-Arab fashion label’s latest collection

Qasimi is a British-Arab brand that has carved a niche for itself on the London fashion scene. Its creative director, Hoor Al-Qasimi, hails from the royal family of Sharjah, and she just presented her fall/winter 2021 collection at London Fashion Week

The Qasimi label was started in 2008 by Khalid Al-Qasimi, the second son of Sharjah’s ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi. After his untimely death in 2019, his sister Hoor stepped into the creative director position. She presented her second collection for the label at London Fashion Week over the weekend, and it included pieces for both men and women. Hoor is also the president and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation and has been working in the art world for many years now.   

This latest collection is titled “We all Live Under the Same Sky,” and it fuses sportswear details with sartorial savior faire – something that has become a trademark of the label. Qasimi’s fall/winter 2021 collection also paid homage to the Bloomsbury Group – a set of British writers whose work embraced social issues such as feminism, sexuality and pacifism, from the early to middle part of the 20th century, and the houndstooth pieces were an obvious reference to that era. The press notes explain that the muted color palette is inspired by Yemen. Slogans have always been a part of Qasimi’s design language, and “Dream!” written in Arabic calligraphy on a purple hoodie was a nod to Martin Luther King’s landmark speech of 1963. This was a collection with a clear message. 

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Qasimi’s fall/winter 2021 collection is inspired by Yemen

FTA caught up with Qasimi’s creative director Hoor Al-Qasimi shortly before the show went live on the London Fashion Week digital platform.

Q This is your second show for Qasimi. What would you say you learned from your first show? 
A I have learned a lot, as this is a new field and there are some crossovers with the art world, but it is at the same time a very different industry. I am learning a lot about the process of production and the commercial side of things, as well as working with the designers, stylists and the rest of the creative team. 

Q You always reference Middle Eastern traditions. Tell us how you celebrated Arab heritage in your latest collection.
A In fall/winter 2021, we looked at the heritage and culture of Yemen. We included the colors, stripes and military camouflage, alongside the tulip motif found in Islamic arts and crafts. 

Q Qasimi has always been known for its sportswear elements. At a time when loungewear is the dress code of the day, has the brand benefited from this new and relaxed approach to dressing?
A We always introduced streetwear, which is made with elevated materials and fabrics. These days, as people are working from home yes, I am sure people are choosing to wear more comfortable and loose-fitting items of clothing. 

Q Tell us about the creative talents you worked with for this film. How did you select them? 
A We worked very much as a team. This includes our artistic director Nicolás Santos and head designer Adam Rice. The film was produced and directed by Studio Premices, who all worked with Khalid for quite a while. For this season, we worked with stylist Raphael Hirsch, choreographer Bakani Pick-Up and musician Visionist. We wanted to come together as artists and produce something special.

Q How has the digital show experience been for you, and are you looking forward to your first physical catwalk show? 
A The digital show has been great. I am enjoying the collaborative process of producing a film where you can be more creative and aren’t restricted by the traditions of a fashion show. In saying that, I understand and know the importance of the physical presence of the show, and I don’t think the collection can translate as well on a digital platform. Also, the energy that is built around the show and all the people attending cannot be replicated either. I am looking forward to experiencing that properly soon.