The Arab world’s young creatives have new ways of looking at the world and a fresh perspective to lend. For Jordanian-Palestinian sister duo Aisha and Muna Khalaf, that’s exactly the case with Tintein, a production house based in Toronto, Canada. Tintein, Arabic for “the two of us,” launched in June of 2020. “The name came naturally. Our friends would always say ‘those two’ when referring to us,” says Muna. “We’ve always been so harmonious with the way we express creativity, even though we have our own individual styles, they compliment each other too well. I’d say we’re the same person, but also very different,” adds Aisha.
Tintein Productions was founded to establish a safe space for anyone needing creative refuge. “Tintein started out as a creative outlet or an escape that is slowly morphing into our reality,” says Muna. “We wanted to create a safe space for creatives to feel like they have a voice, and in order to do that successfully, we had to start with finding and expressing our own creative voices.” As such, their work focuses on scouting people who are underrepresented as well as brands that are just starting out. “A lot of the people we work with have low budgets, so we have to be as crafty and resourceful as we can.” Whether it’s unloading 20 bags of sand in their small apartment in Toronto, which also doubles as their studio, or visiting every thrift store in the city and picking up everything from couches to lamps, the Khalaf sisters always make it work.
Tintein Productions’ aesthetic is best described as one that blends time. “Through Tintein, we wanted to create a time capsule of an entirely new era and time,” Aisha says. “We’re inspired by everything around us, whether it’s random situations we encounter or snippets of dialogues we hear.” Adds Muna: “We also love the 2000s, so our style is very much inspired by Y2K. Our creative process involves watching a lot of music videos. We love Haifa Wehbe, Nancy Ajram and Aaliyah.” Their love of Y2K is highlighted through futuristic editorials that are often styled with vintage and thrift items, marking a unique identity that is both a statement and powerful. “Culture is ingrained in everything we do, however, it’s frustrating at times because you are often boxed in what you can and can’t do. But we’re privileged that we have the support of our family. which is rare for creatives, especially in the Middle East,” says Aisha.
As for the future, the Khalaf sisters, who currently work full-time jobs separate from Tintein, want to eventually focus primarily on their production house. “We want to build a cool creative team and a space for the unheard creatives voices,” says Muna. “We started creating custom cowboy hats and are currently working on a small collection of reworked items. These are going to be hand-sewn and reworked exclusive pieces. However, we want to expand beyond fashion. The options are limitless.”