QASIMI brings rightful joy for the future while shares with people their heritage of identity and representation by letting us experience the many beauties we all can find in non-occidental cultures. This brand is a gorgeous example of the astonishing plurality we may experience when we leave behind untrue stereotypes that have been trying to shade the greatness of the Islamic world.
QASIMI has also made us ask if poetry can be worn. And it looks like the answer is: yes, definitely! As they used inspiration in some of the most beautiful verses of the laureated poet Adunis to delectate us with Between Ashes and Roses, their Spring Summer 2022 Collection.
Hoor Al-Qasimi | Exclusive Interview
VT: One of the main characteristics of QASIMI has been the balance between tradition and vanguard. But also, the brand represents a heartfelt heritage. Therefore, how has QASIMI preserved and shared the legacy of the always remembered Mister Khalid Al Qasimi?
HAQ: Khalid was always passionate about including our “Middle Eastern” heritage, politics, and architecture in his research, as well as looking at the brand’s other home in London and its “Britishness”.
We have continued to do so by looking at UAE craft and working with Irthi Crafts Council but also taking inspiration from the Indian Sub-Continent and its influence and relationship to the UAE and Britain.
VT: Which other values represent QASIMI?
HAQ: QASIMI always strives to create pieces that are of the best quality and made with fair labor; we aim to be as sustainable as possible and are constantly researching to find ways to do so.
We want to be inclusive and hope the people who buy our pieces will cherish them and not just look at fashion as fast-changing and wasteful.
Between Ashes and Roses
VT: Let us talk about Between Ashes and Roses, your SS22 Collection. Could you, please, tell us more about your inspiration in those powerful verses of Adunis?
HAQ: Adunis’s book “A Time Between Ashes and Roses” is a collection of poems that came out of the disasters of the 1967 Six-Day War, which marked a defining moment in the Arab world. It is an important and influential book in Contemporary Arabic Poetry and Literature and continues to be relevant in the current political climate.
VT: What can you share with us about your collaboration with Zohra Rahman?
HAQ: I met Zohra when I was in Lahore, curating the second Lahore Biennale. I really loved the way she took inspiration from Islamic architecture as well as using Urdu/ Arabic calligraphy. I wanted to collaborate with her to create a new piece, which is sustainable in material, is unisex, and can be worn in many ways, as a brooch, pendant, or earring.
In the collection, we used a laser cutting technique which Zohra also used in the piece, as well as looping.
London Fashion Week
VT: How was the experience of presenting your latest collection during the London Fashion Week?
HAQ: In the last few seasons of London Fashion Week, we had to show our collection digitally, but it was especially great this season to have some people come to the studio to see the pieces before the show was launched.
To finally have people trying things on and feel the material made a great difference, especially since there are a lot of details that need to be appreciated in person, and that doesn’t necessarily translate well digitally.
VT: In this collection, you presented a vivant color palette. How that decision came through?
HAQ: We wanted to take inspiration from the Indian Subcontinent, and that included the colors pinks, oranges, and blue. It was also about coming out of a dark and somber time to a more optimistic future, which also relates to the title in a way that was borrowed from Adunis, with his permission, “A Time Between Ashes and Roses”.
A heritage of identity and representation
VT: Maybe what I am about to say might sounds a little unusual but looking at your runway show made me feel joyful and somehow hopeful; I was amazed. Have you ever thought about the power of your garments and the impact your collection might have on people?
I am very happy to hear that. I think, with any creative process, in the arts, we have a responsibility to translate more than just the garment or the visual aesthetic. Fashion and style are also about representation and identity.
I, somehow, see the last 3 seasons as a continuation of the same story as we have been experiencing this pandemic; it’s about coming together, unity, solidarity, sharing the same values, fighting for justice, and hoping for a new beginning full of promise, bright and colorful.
HAQ: Now, let us move to a social topic. What are your thoughts about fashion and Islamic representation?
HAQ: Islam has always been depicted in a certain stereotypical way in the West; the truth is there are many faces and ideologies of Islam and what it represents historically or culturally around the world, throughout history, this tends to be erased or used to encourage Islamophobia, which we are seeing more of in the current climate.
I was very happy to see Riz Ahmed’s initiative to change the portrayals of Muslims and increase Muslim representation in the film industry.
There is so much beauty in our various cultures, including Islamic Architecture, patterns, details, writings, all of which also change and take on different forms depending on the countries or cities they represent.
Look inside yourself
VT: Finally, which message would you like to share with those young people who might want to pursue careers in fashion or fashion-related activities?
HAQ: I would encourage young people to look at art, take inspiration from the world around them, be curious, don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t just rely on social media.
Don’t let current trends influence or dictate who you are or what you represent. Seek out internships, read, watch films, travel, and last but not least, look inside yourself and make sure you are doing what you love.
VT: Anything else you would like to share with Vanity Teen?
HAQ: I hope all your readers are doing well during this time and haven’t suffered during this pandemic; it has been a very difficult time for young people and their mental health. Please, look after yourselves and take your time, there is no rush.
Hoor Al-Qasimi @hooralq
Nell Kalonji @nellkalonji
Nicolas Santos @nicolas_santos
Troy Fearn @troyfuss
Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council @irthicouncil
Zohra Rahman @zohra_rahman
Hernan Guardamagna @hernanguardamagna
Al Amiri @alamiriuae
Kiyoko Odo @kiyokoodo
Nami Yoshida @namiyyy
Jason Lloyd-Evans @jasonlloydevans
Benjamin Breading @benjaminbreading
Hella Keck @hellakeck
Before we go
Part of the poem of Adunis used by QASIMI for this collection says: “A time between ashes and roses is coming…When everything shall begin again”. What beautiful words whose message we clearly see it expressed in Between Ashes and Roses – SS22.
Every garment, every piece presented by QASIMI screams freedom, joy, identity, legacy and fills us with hope. Between Ashes and Roses makes us expect a brighter future in which love comes first, and judgmental feelings are far away left behind in the past.
Therefore, let us embrace this future now and remember the message Hoor Al-Qasimi shared with us: let us take care of ourselves; let us take time to admire all the things that surround us because we will find the inspiration to rise once and over and show the world our true beauty.