The past couple of years saw a rapid rise of contemporary streetwear labels in the Middle East. Read on for the ones you need to watch.
The Istanbul-based brand, which is headed by Bünyamin Aydin, has gathered an impressive global following since its launch in 2011. Known for its ultra-wearable pieces that fuse the designer’s Turkish heritage with urban aesthetics, the luxury streetwear label has enjoyed collaborations with the likes of Puma and the inauguration of a brand-new flagship in Istanbul. The brand also recently presented its Fall 2019, mostly unisex collection on the Paris leg of the recent menswear shows. Drawing inspiration from Peru and hiking, the offering features a need-it-now lineup of outerwear, coordinating sweatsuits in bright, highlighter hues, and sporty accessories like cross-body bags and leg-warmers. Speaking to Vogue.me, Aydin explains “Functionality and sports have always played a big role in my design process and rethinking on how it functionality and aesthetics can coexist with what we wear in the streets was my challenge this season with Hiking meets Peru.”
An abbreviation for Too Dark to See Tomorrow, the Riyadh-based streetwear label was founded in 2016 by longtime friends Abdallah Bagalb, Ahmad Al-Wohaibi, and Maan Al-Qurashi. The college friends – who have known each other for nearly a decade – established the unisex label as their answer to something that was different from what existed on the market. “We’re just kids having fun. We are trying to reflect our daily conversations, ideas, and what’s going on around us into our graphics,” Al-Quraishi shares with Vogue Arabia. This translates into graphic T-shirts emblazoned with catchy slogans, oversized worker jackets and hoodies, stretchy turtlenecks, and printed socks. As one of the first streetwear labels to emerge out of Saudi Arabia, 2D2C2M has already garnered a loyal checklist of fans and was recently picked up by Pattern, a concept store in the Saudi capital and Dubai’s General.3am.
Shabab International was founded by pseudonymous photography duo Chebmoha and Chndy who hail from Iraq and Oman, respectively. The Dubai-based designers-slash-photographers launched the label in 2014, focusing on creating fuss-free basics. Since then, the homegrown unisex brand has collaborated with Nike, showcased its collections at global pop-ups, including the region’s biggest streetwear festival Sole DXB, and gained fans in a number of high-profile figures including Dua Lipa, A$AP Ferg, Mos Def, and Tinie Tempah, who have all been spotted wearing the brand’s designs. Those keen to get their hands on the label’s lineup of ultra-cozy bowling shirts, graphic hoodies, sporty track pants, universally-flattering outerwear, and quirky stationary can visit General.3am in Dubai Design District where the pieces are stocked, or online.
Helmed by Wathek Allal, a Syrian-born, Algerian skateboarder-turned-fashion-designer, Precious Trust flawlessly marries traditional Algerian garments with Western sportswear. Despite not having any formal fashion training (the 22-year-old was studying to be a pilot before pursuing a career in fashion), the unisex streetwear label, which launched just two years ago, has already gained cult status. Allal, who relocated to Dubai amid the breakout of the Syrian war, started designing tracksuits for himself, noting that it wasn’t until his friends started commenting on how they loved his designs, that he decided to launch his debut collection— which sold out almost instantly. Today, he focuses on designing minimalist pieces with a touch of softness that can be found at select concept stores in Dubai.
The self-taught fashion designer Farrukh Ershad launched his clothing label 5ive Pillars in 2011. Born out of a necessity to express Islamic identity in a way that people of all backgrounds can relate to, the idea was to mix Arabic art and literature with contemporary streetwear. The launch of the clothing line was driven by a religious message (Even the name is a nod to the five pillars of Islam), resulting in a lineup of graphic T-shirts, jackets, track pants, hoodies, and utility vests emblazoned with Arabic calligraphy, as well as accessories like shoulder bags and tasbeeh bracelets, all sold on the brand’s website.