Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi has been named the creative director of London menswear label Qasimi. She will take over the reigns following the death of her twin brother Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the fashion designer behind London menswear label Qasimi and son of the Ruler of Sharjah, who died on July 1 at the age of 39.
Who is Hoor Al Qasimi?
Sheikha Hoor is the woman who can be credited with breathing life into the arts scene in Sharjah, first by overseeing the Sharjah Biennial and then by establishing the Sharjah Art Foundation, of which she is the president and director.
She has curated many of the foundation's shows, including a retrospective of Hassan Sharif; a historical show about the Khartoum School; and the UAE's 2015 participation in the Venice Biennale, which looked at major exhibitions in the country of the past 50 years.
Most recently, she brought over British artist Andrew Stahl for his first exhibition in the region.
Creativity and cultural literacy runs in Sheikha Hoor's blood. She speaks nine languages: Arabic, English, Japanese and Mandarin fluently; and Tagalog, French, German, Russian and Polish conversationally. She has studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, graduating with a BFA in 2002 before completing a diploma in painting at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2005, by which time she had already been appointed as curator of the Sharjah Biennial. She also serves on the board of many museums, including MoMa's PS1 in New York.
Sheikha Hoor will take on all creative and business responsibilities with the support of the Qasimi design team and head of design Adam Rice, according to a statement released by the brand on Thursday, October 3.
The statement adds: “While bringing her artistic sensibility to Qasimi, Hoor will seek to maintain Khalid’s aesthetic, which was centred around the idea of an urban nomad and built upon the pillars of architecture, colour, military details and social-political messaging. She will strive to stay true to this messaging.
“Above all, Hoor will endeavour to preserve – and further – Khalid’s legacy and make sure that his memory is kept alive. She will present autumn/winter 2020 during London Fashion Week Men’s in January 2020, as Khalid’s last show, before presenting her own inaugural collection, spring/summer 2021 in June 2020.”
Qasimi the label
Since launching his label and debuting his first collection at London Fashion Week in 2008, Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi consistently impressed with his sophisticated take on men's casual attire. His last show was held less than a month before his death, on June 8, 2019 in an open-air industrial space during London Fashion Week. Today, Qasimi's clothes are stocked in 50 stores across 15 countries.
Sheikh Khalid's clothes habitually referenced sociopolitical affairs, both in the Middle East and beyond. Growing up during the Gulf War, he often incorporated military garments, details and hues in his work. Speaking to The National after his London show, Sheikh Khalid said: "Coming from the Middle East, I have a duty to discuss politics. Fashion is my kind of material to work with and express it."
His recent designs featured the phrases “Don’t Shoot”, “Amen”, “Provoke”, “We are So Different Now” and “Blessed are the Beloved” printed in both Arabic and English. Poignantly, another of his garments featured the words “The End” in Arabic on the front, with “It ended before we began” printed at the back.
It is this combination of the literal and the alluded that makes Qasimi’s work stand out in a bustling fashion industry