Qasimi, the brand founded by the late Khalid Al-Qasimi, the UAE’s most accomplished fashion designer, presented their Spring/ Summer 2021 collection this week. Simultaneously launching their womenswear line, Qasimi has been industrious under the creative direction of Khalid’s sister, Hoor Al Qasimi.
The collections, launched via a fashion film (we are still living through the pandemic, after all), were made to act as companion pieces, that focused on the ‘urban wanderer’. The film was soundtracked by UAE based rapper FREEK, who used a mix of English and Arabic voiceover to bring context to the collection.
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Spring/Summer 2021 takes its inspiration from a range of different sources. The Jamaican-born artist Nari Ward, the Bedouin weaving technique of Al Sadu and the relationship between textiles made, bought and sold along the trade routes of sub-Sharan Africa. Along these routes, Islamic symbols met West-African designs and the resulting textiles are reflected in the collection.
What you see first though are the tones. Mentioned in the film’s voiceover, the earthy and muted palette are the colours of the UAE’s natural terrain. The rose of the desert sun, marble, obsidian, plum and cumin, and khaki. Neutral colours that have great significance to a Middle Eastern brand.
The collection is easy wearing, executed with a mix of traditional craft and modern technology. The menswear still has a strong streetwear bent, with sweatshirts paired with shorts and cargo trousers worn with sneakers, but elsewhere there is a relaxed, off-duty feel. Loose shirts worn with cuffed pants and two-piece, traditionally patterned shirt and trousers referencing the Islamic textiles mentioned earlier.
This spring summer collection is an elegant evolution of the Qasimi brand which, like the nomads who inspired it, remembers where it came from and looks forward to where it’s going.