Khalid Qasimi is a London-based fashion designer. Born in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates city on the Arabian Gulf, Qasimi moved to the United Kingdom at nine. He was educated at Tonbridge School, where he was awarded an art scholarship upon entry, and went on to read French and Spanish at University College London, subsequently completing a degree in Architectural Studies at the Association School of Architecture (AA). It was here, learning the craft of designing buildings, that he found his true vocation: designing clothes. He moved to Central Saint Martins, winning a place on the college's prestigious BA Womenswear course, and launching his label Qasimi Homme several years later in 2008. Now stocked internationally, the designer has shown as part of London and Paris Fashion Weeks, and won accolades for his smart, sensitive exploration of socio-political subjects – particularly those pertaining to the Middle East – in his collections.
Qasimi is centred around the idea of an urban nomad. Founded in 2016, the brand Is built upon four pillars: architecture, colour, military and messaging. Architecture informs the approach to design – thinking of the body as a landscape, and garments in terms of form and materials – and the philosophy behind the label: that clothes are to be lived in. Refined and rarefied, the brands use of colour can be described as sophisticated and strong but subdued. As for the military influence, this stems from the designer's relationship with the Middle East – growing up during the Gulf War, and in a region with a history of conflict. This manifests in subtle ways; just like the influence of the Middle East itself, which is not literal, reflecting a sense of cultural dialogue and exchange – it's there in the details of the clothes, the choice of fabrics and the mood of the collections, imbued in the proportions, the text on the garments, and the music that soundtracks the shows. Finally, messaging: ever since the beginning, the designer has used his collections to express his views and his voice, weaving politics and poetry into his collections; deftly and delicately exploring subjects ranging from the strained relationship between the Middle East and the West, to his own life experiences. Qasimi currently shows as part of London Fashion Week Men's and is stocked Internationally – in 50 stores, 30 cities, 15 countries.