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Interview: Bader Al-Hejailan, Founder of THOUQ Talks the Evolution of Men’s Fashion

Bader Al Hejailan

THOUQ is recognized as a cornerstone in the Gulf’s new media ecosystem. Formerly a trendy Kuwaiti printed fashion and lifestyle magazine aimed at both genders, THOUQ transformed itself into an online destination for the modern day Khaleeji man.

THOUQ’s founder, Bader Al-Hejailan, has made a name for himself by providing comprehensive and exhaustive coverage of men’s lifestyle and fashion. While the blog is considerably focused on a high-end, luxury lifestyle experience, in our interview, we came to discover that his perspective on fashion in Kuwait is quite grounded in changes that happen on the street level.

We caught up with Al-Hejailan upon the opening of THOUQ’s newest concept, a retail store in one of Kuwait’s oldest and historic shopping destinations, Al Mubarakiya.

Your blog has over 56K blog visitors and over 20,000 social media fans, what are your primary objectives moving forward?

Thouq started in the spring of 2004 as a luxury lifestyle magazine and style reference, speaking the language of the young and trendy Khaleeji men and women. Soon after, we became a haven for local raw talent in art and design. We were the first to print a cover-to-cover magazine with original photography and contents by local staff. We were also the first to put Kuwaiti male and female models on our covers.

Today, Thouq is a media brand equipped with a website, mobile apps, books, guides, retail division for limited clothing and affordable art. Through the opening of our first shop in Souk Al-Mubarkia, we are augmenting our creative and design legacy by showcasing and selling the products of many aspiring local designers and artists.

Items at Thouq Mubarakiya Shop
Items at Thouq’s Mubarakiya Shop

What does the term “fashion forward” mean to you?

Kuwaitis spend so much time and effort in looking beautiful and chic. That’s why people of neighboring countries consider our society as an extremely fashionable one. The average individual in Kuwait interprets fashion as buying new clothes and accessories from high-end stores. But I’m surprised everyday of how some people in Kuwait –especially men- are looking effortlessly trendy and fashionably up-to-date. They are also familiar with new independent designers and upcoming trends.

Fashion is evolution, and Kuwait has come a long way. We got to know that a “fashionisto” is the male version of a fashionista, or someone I would call a “fashion-forward” individual – someone who has great admiration of fashion and follows it religiously. Not only should a fashionisto always be aware of new trends in fashion, but he’s also informed about new trends in culture at large.

How do street style and the fashion industry work together to shape the way we dress?

While the fashion industry is great, I think we are more influenced by street style. Celebrity culture and magazines do not contribute largely in the way we dress, which makes Kuwaitis gravitate towards items that are ‘low key’ and occasionally outlandish.

What is the fundamental difference between menswear and womenswear?

Menswear evolves at a slower pace than womenswear. It’s more about quality and good tailoring. When most men look for a certain style, they would look closely for fit and proper apparel that reflects power or mood state, not something that evokes glamour and temptation. However, like fashion itself, this is also changing.

How do you explain the growth of THOUQ over the years?

We have witnessed an increasing attention from men. Our research show that the average Kuwaiti young man shops regularly at luxury boutiques and high-street stores at least once a week. It’s not a coincidence that they strive to look fashionable and on-trend. They are also familiar with independent designers and take note of emerging trends.

Thouq Mubarakiya Shop will officially open on Wednesday February 6th, 2013. For full details visit www.thouq.com or consult the map below for directions.

– Plus Aziz

Thouq Mubarakiya Shop

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