This season, Hoor Al-Qasimi stepped into her late brother’s shoes as the new creative director of Qasimi, the London-based label he founded in 2008.
Doing so amid the coronavirus pandemic was no mean feat, but she came through with a collection that was filled with easygoing, desirable pieces imbued with subtle sociopolitical messages.
Al-Qasimi is set on continuing the narrative her brother started, and is using the brand as a platform to comment on current politics. She did so through the lens of art, referencing a sculpture by the Jamaican-born artist Nari Ward that spells out the words “We the People” with hundreds of shoe laces, in reference to the opening phrase of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.
In a bid to pass on the same message of inclusion, Al-Qasimi embroidered the same words in Arabic across bomber jackets, hoodies and shirts, replacing the shoe laces with hanging thread.
She has also commissioned the Somali-born, UAE-based hip-hop artist Freek to work on the music for the collection’s launch, which mentions the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English and Arabic.
Another priority for Al-Qasimi is to offer clothes that are easy to move in and can adapt into day-to-day life. She employed that sense of ease across the men’s and newly launched women’s line.
Some of the most striking pieces included a series of jacquard separates featuring original Al Sadu patterns, a weaving tradition originated by Bedouin people.
“We want to introduce these traditions from our part of the world but in a modern, contemporary way. That’s why everything feels so light,” added Al-Qasimi.
She also worked with a lot of loose shapes that could be easily interchangeable, as in oversize shirting and monochrome trenchcoats or bomber jackets.
“My brother had always wanted to expand into women’s wear and used to add a few women’s looks in each collection, so we thought with me coming in, it would be a good time to launch a full line,” said Al-Qasimi, who said she sees the Qasimi man and woman less as a couple and more as soul mates, with a bond akin to that between herself and her brother, who died last summer.