My first ever London Collections Men (LCM) presentation and what a one it was too. I couldn't have asked for a better way to be broken in than with QASIMI's Spring/Summer 2017 showcase, 'Videogame Wars,' hosted in Somerset House’s Lancaster Rooms. The brand is the brainchild of Emirati designer Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi, or Khalid Qasimi to lessen the mouthful. He was born in Sharjah and raised in the United Kingdom, having graduated from Central Saint Martins. Launching his womenswear label in 2008, Qasimi made his foray into menswear in 2010.
The QASIMI models stood atop a shiny silver mound, like some remnant of a spaceship that had beamed these beautiful alien beings down to us, blessed with out-of-this-world bone structure. They stared out at us mere earthlings from their metallic plinth, in our somewhat ethereal surroundings. Fans played with the fluttering white curtains at the windows, offering some respite from the muggy weather. The soundtrack of Jonjo Jury rang out into the space.
In a sea full of people opting for black clothing (always a given within the fashion crowd), the QASIMI SS17 collection was refreshingly…pastel. Think muted mint greens and dusky roses with pops of orange sherbet. The models illustrated how to pile on the layers, even in the midst of summer – a trick that often turns an okay outfit into a great one. In fabrics like linen mix and jersey, the garments are guaranteed to help you keep your cool in the heat. The separates, like long tunics and fluid, loose-fitting trousers, borrow from Qasimi’s background, as he likes to incorporate Arabic elements into his work.
The designs are in keeping with the sports luxe and athleisure trends, which are very much still going strong. It's no wonder that casual comfort is having a moment, as it is exactly that – comfortable. QASIMI has upgraded the humble sandal with peekaboo shoes, which have toe and heel cutouts. As for me, I wore my new flatform trainers, and boy, were my feet all the more grateful for it. This is a trend I can certainly get on board with.
An accompanying fashion film for QASIMI’s new line interspersed images of the clothes with explosive inspiration such as the Gulf War, divers, and contemporary architecture. The latter is a nod to Qasimi’s days studying at the Architectural Association and his involvement as a member of Sharjah’s urban planning council. Emerging themes this season included loss of innocence and an emphasis on the current political landscape as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Flames flickered in those same eyes, while plumes of smoke abounded.
Maybe I'm clutching at abstract, arty straws here, but out of destruction and despair, often something beautiful can come. Like the phrase, 'No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up,' QASIMI enables the wearer to do just that, and fashionably of course. How glorious the models looked when they replaced their sullen pouts for smiles! Indeed, the clothes became illuminated when there was a cheeky personality shining through from underneath all of those layers. After all, clothes are designed with a certain wearer in mind. A living, breathing person with thoughts, beliefs, and character is what makes the clothes dance, as opposed to when they limply loll on hangers. QASIMI is not just for the pretty face, but the personality too.