Hoor Al Qasimi Sheds a Light on Community for Spring 2024 – WWD

LONDON — Hoor Al Qasimi, creative director of London-based brand Qasimi, collaborated with 84-year-old Sudanese artist Kamala Ibrahim Ishaq as a way of shedding light on the 2023 Sudan conflict.

Qasimi didn’t do the usual act of borrowing the prints for her collection. Instead, she fixated on a few of Ishaq’s works and drew her own inspiration from some while she plastered others as a print onto the garments.

“Ishaq did a painting called ‘People in Crystal Cubes,’ so I wanted to take this idea of crystal-ism and crystal cubes to bring it into this story. It’s more about how the artist works,” said Qasimi during her London presentation at Somerset House, where the London Art Biennale is being hosted.

QASIMI & QASIMI Rising present their SS24 collection.
Somerset House during LFW.

Qasimi spring 2020

Qasimi Courtesy

Clear crystals made their way throughout the collection via a body hardness layered over a shirtdress with a peplum; under classic shirts where they resembled curtains and embroidered onto a sheer light yellow vest imitating the outlines of a plant inspired by Ishaq’s 1998 work “My Plant I.” 

This was Qasimi’s most simple and wearable collection to date without compromising on fabrics such as denim, organza and silk, which added a nonchalance.

Two other collections, Omer Asim’s from Sudan and Salim Azam’s from Lebanon were also shown. Both of them had won the Qasimi Rising prize, which is a talent incubator for emerging designers.

“It’s such a shame that people are stuck for many different reasons. Why not share our platform then? They’re able to be here at London Fashion Week because we are here, so let’s share our stage and contacts and, you know, support each other,” said Qasimi.

Azzam presented three pieces of work inspired by Mount Lebanon, a small village in Lebanon.

“The sun is always shining. There’s a lot of lemon trees and a lot of migrating birds all the time, so I just wanted to reflect this image of home,” explained Azzam of his design process, where each garment is made by female artisans from his village.

QASIMI & QASIMI Rising present their SS24 collection.
Somerset House during LFW.

Salim Azzam’s designs at London Fashion Week.

Qasimi Courtesy

He has a small store in Beirut where he sells his product, but he visits 60 women he works twice a week.

“There’s something about this land [Lebanon] that is just so incredible, I think that people have been through so much, but they use art and creativity as a way to express themselves, so the creative scene is aggressive and beautiful in so many different ways,” said Azzam.

“The country takes a lot from you, but it also offers a lot, there’s so much culture and diversity — that’s something that I don’t think has been affected by the economical crisis and everything that we’ve been going through,” he added.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: (L to R) Hoor Al Qasimi, Omer Asim and Maya Antoun attend a special dinner to celebrate QASIMI's return to the LFW schedule at Dipna Anand on June 8, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images for QASIMI)

Hoor al Qasimi Omer asim and Maya Antoun.

Dave Benett/Getty Images QAS

Asim, who has a London-based brand, wanted to show pieces that he had designed between 2017-2023. He was particularly interested in a jacket.

His process is not traditional in the sense that he doesn’t use themes nor mood board.

“It’s the concept of using one idea and then continuously building on it as the collections go on and changing it and evolving it,” said Maya Antoun, Asim’s co-creative director.

Omer Asim may be quiet in the fashion world, but his brand has been around for over 10 years. It has also been available at Selfridges since 2006.

Asim was an architect before he moved into social psychology, and Antoun made jewelry before he joined Asim in the design world.

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