DUBAI: After international streetwear experienced a boom in 2016 with brands like Supreme and Off-White taking the market by storm, Saudi entrepreneurs Fahad Al-Jomiah and Khalid Al-Jammaz took advantage and launched the Kingdom’s “first streetwear brand.”
The label, 1886, was launched in the duo’s dorm rooms in London and is now one of the trendiest in the Saudi market.
“For two students living in London at that time, that was such an inspiring and creative moment,” Riyadh-based Al-Jomiah and Al-Jammaz told Arab News. “Even though our background is not in fashion, we felt it was the right time to bring together our passion for music, art, urban trends and street movements into a brand that could translate our own vision as Saudis.”
The name of the brand came from their dorm rooms: 18 and 86. While in London, Al-Jammaz studied marketing while Al-Jomiah did business administration.
“When we discovered our common interest for fashion and for mixing and matching different styles, our rooms became the creative studio to share ideas and draft the first sketches,” said the founders, who are inspired by pop art, music, street culture and new technologies.
“The walls of our rooms functioned as a mood board, entirely covered with paper clippings, styling photographs, inspirational graphics and anything that grabbed our attention,” they added.
1886 aims at “bridging fashion to the future by uniting the tradition of urban wear to tomorrow’s innovations and technical aesthetic.” The duo work at incorporating technology and progressive design to offer products such as joggers, hoodies, T-shirts, dresses and accessories that are contemporary and durable.
According to the founders, the local streetwear fashion scene was “practically absent” in the Kingdom before 2016.
“Today the streets of Riyadh, Jeddah or Khobar are brimming with styles that effortlessly mix old and new, tradition and innovation, East and West. This has inevitably led to a diversity of style and new trends that are unique to the region,” they added.
One of the duo’s challenges was proving that a Saudi brand could deliver quality and style on par with big international names.
“There was a lack of trust toward local brands and their product that was hard to break,” they said. “It took us time to overturn this belief and prove them wrong. We believe that Saudi Arabia provides an incredible environment for inspiration and can compete with other international labels as a valid option in the fashion industry.”