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Starring on Vogue Man Arabia’s Spring/Summer 2024 Cover, Musicians $kinny and Mishaal Tamer Spotlight a Creative Renaissance in Saudi Arabia

From music to movies, art to architecture, Saudi Arabia is brimming with exciting names right now. In a celebration of the Kingdom’s vast pool of talent, the latest edition of Vogue Man Arabia spotlights new musical acts including DJ Malkin, brothers Hassan and Abbas Ghazzawi of DishDash, Saudi-Sudanese rapper Dafencii, and this edition’s cover stars, superstar rapper $kinny, and S-pop star on the rise Mishaal Tamer.

Photo: Abeer Ahmed

Having taken over the stage this February at Hai Vogue — Vogue Arabia’s very first large-scale event in Saudi Arabia that gathered 2,100 people in two days —the cover stars are no strangers to the limelight. Despite their incredible achievements, these men are only getting started on their journeys of world domination.

Born to a Saudi father and an American mother, Sami Hamed, (who goes by the rapper name $kinny in part due to his slender frame), attributes his music to his bicultural upbringing and lifestyle. “It’s everything; it’s who I am. You definitely can hear how being from both cultures has shaped my music. I’m all about clashing the two worlds musically in a tasteful way,” says the rapper. Whether it’s his records like “Tamam”, “Never Snitch” or “Pass Out”, the Arabic word and percussion reflect $kinny’s pride in his Khaleeji culture, even while he is rapping. This month, he also opens up to Vogue Man Arabia about his future plans — and they may not be what you were expecting. “We have got a lot on the way, of course new music, new visuals, my clothing line, and I’m actually also getting in the food and restaurant space because I love to eat!” he confesses.

In stark contrast to $kinny’s power-packed verses, music lovers find solitude with Mishaal Tamer, whose charm is unmissable at first glance, and only grows with his playlist of ballads. With chart-toppers like “Superman” and “Wallahi”, Tamer is on a steady road to success, earning a loyal fan following not just in the region, but across the globe. But his roots remain firmly grounded in his homeland. “I connect more with Saudi because I was born and raised here,” Tamer states. “It’s who I am. I know I look different at first glance, but the truth is KSA is filled to the brim with a variety of people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I am beyond proud to shed light on its beauty and diversity whenever possible.” One thing his travels and tours have taught him, however, is that there is beauty in unity. “From the places I’ve seen and the people I’ve met, what I’ve learned is that we are far more similar than we are different,” the artist tells Vogue Man Arabia. “We are all humans with feelings and stories. Some stories and feelings transcend backgrounds, those are the feelings and stories I aim to capture in my craft.”

Moving from music to the realm of fashion, the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of Vogue Man Arabia explores a brand new style era with its trend report, where daring cuts and standout suits dominate. Delving deeper, Saudi designer Yousef Akbar takes readers through his style essentials, while on a more playful note, Abdulaziz and Abdullah Bakr, the magnetic twins who make up YouTube channel The Saudi Reporters, serve up fashion with a twist in the latest SS24 menswear collections.

Abdulaziz wears top, pants, shoes, Fendi; Abdullah wears top, pants, shoes, Fendi. Photo: Sam Rawadi

The route to great fashion moments can lead one anywhere, so this season, Vogue Man Arabia takes off from the Kingdom and lands in the Far East. Louis Vuitton’s pre-fall 2024 men’s collection show in Hong Kong was one of several firsts: The first time the maison has shown in Hong Kong, its debut men’s pre-fall show, and the first pre-collection for Pharrell Williams, who joined in February 2023 as men’s creative director. The nautical-themed show asked the audience to ride the wave from Hawaii to Hong Kong, as Williams illustrated the connective power of travel through apparel.

Photo: Courtesy Louis Vuitton

In the world of Dior, Kim Jones revived tweed, the fashion house’s staple. “Tweeds are there at the beginning of Dior. I wanted to go through different eras for my fifth anniversary. It’s tweed that actually links many of them – tweed was the common thread throughout,” he says about the Dior SS24 menswear line, which delved into the maison’s archives for inspiration. And at Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello breathed new life into the signature Le Smoking. “Everything starts from the shoulder,” he explains. “I really want to pay homage to Le Smoking and to say, ‘Okay, that’s the house of the tuxedo. If you need one, you have to come to Saint Laurent’.”

Photo: Courtesy The Giving Movement

Closer to home, Vogue Man Arabia’s latest edition takes a walk down memory lane with Dominic Nowell-Barnes, the man behind the Gulf’s biggest fashion export, The Giving Movement. From four staff members at inception, to around 600 employees today, The Giving Movement has grown at an incredible pace, but sustainability and having a mindful impact remains at the heart of the brand. The company’s charitable efforts have recently pivoted to the war in Gaza, donating to Tarahum – For Gaza through The Giving Movement’s other beneficiary, Dubai Cares. “We talk about the situation, show our support for the innocent civilians, and bring it forward to the consumer. It’s something that really resonated with them,” Nowell-Barnes says.

Richard Mille Rm 07-04 Automatic Winding Sport. Photo: Thomas Brown

In the next section, we invite you into the fantastical world of watchmaking, where intricately crafted pieces transcend from mere timepieces to something much more. The Vogue Man Arabia watches guide spotlights collector’s items that defy tradition and serenade young collectors. From emoji-detailed Rolexes, to Richard Mille’s candy-colored must-haves and playful pixelated dials, we help you select the perfect pick from the hottest horological wonders.

Photo: Courtesy Knafeh Bakery

30 years after opening his namesake restaurant, chef Nobu Matsuhisa — an icon in the culinary world — sits down for a conversation with Vogue Man Arabia about his legacy, the love Nobu has received in the Middle East, and his expansion plans with new locations in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE. “We value the local culture, but it’s important to stay true to our original vision,” he explains. “Each hotel and residential project is inspired by the restaurant experience. This makes us consistent, which is what sets us apart from the competition.” Another example of food bringing communities together: The Bearded Bakers behind Australia’s much-loved Knafeh bakeries. The brainchild of Palestinian brothers Ameer and Joey El-Issa, “Knafeh Bakery was born to showcase our culture and heritage in a way that hadn’t been done before,” explains Ameer. “It has also become a driving force for us to show people that there are Palestinians around the world doing great things.” The aesthetics of their branding – with their expertly groomed beards – has also opened the doors to broader social impact. It is a known issue in western media that the image of an Arab man with a beard elicits unfair and biased assumptions. “We wanted to flip this mentality and also make it a little sexy and cool,” Ameer explains. “The idea of good looking and characteristic gentlemen with strong family values became something bigger than we initially expected.”

Fatima Asad. Photo: Ankita Chandra

The spring/summer 2024 edition of Vogue Man Arabia also turns its lens towards Dubai, and the many wellness hubs taking over the emirate. Slowly but surely, the city is expanding from a nightlife capital to a haven for holistic well-being, with men front and center. In the words of Fatima Asad Bakhtiari, founder of wellness platform Niyana, “Dubai’s per capita income is high. If you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you will see that we must first take care of our essentials – food, safety, shelter, belonging, etc. On top of the pyramid is self-actualization. As people’s basic needs are met, they’re starting to search beyond that and have started venturing into wellness in different stages.” Cue Raghdan Hassan, a meditation guide and energy healer, Seva Experience founders Shadi Enbashi and Eda Güngör, Julien Khoury of ice bath hub Breasy DXB, and Peji Kanani, who hosts a series of breathwork sessions — all working towards a common goal: to bring a wave of calm and joy to Dubai’s fast-paced lifestyle.

Photo: Kevin Rinaldo

On a closing note, we meet with Her Excellency Hend Al Otaiba, who celebrates two milestones this year. The first woman ambassador to France and Monaco, Al Otaiba was recently awarded the Zayed the Second medal, of the highest rank for her exceptional work leading the embassy. “The distinguished relationship between the United Arab Emirates is a source of pride, and I am honored to contribute to their continued strengthening in every aspect,” she stated upon receiving the honor. This spring, she also launches her book, Majlon – Building Bridges Through Diplomacy. “It was only natural to create cross-cultural gatherings comprising thinkers and industry pioneers to further dialogue on key themes that form the foundation of the bilateral relationship between the UAE and France,” Al Otaiba writes in the book’s foreword. Printed in French, Arabic, and English, the book presents a concise overview of the UAE-France historical bond, and spans five themes – diplomacy and economy, women, heritage and culture, coexistence, and sustainability.

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