Catching Up With Kashoura

London-based Omar Kashoura delves into menswear

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Raised in England, with Arabic heritage, Omar Kashoura graduated from The London College of Fashion with a first class honours degree and went on to win Best International Menswear Designer at New York’s Gen Art Style Awards. After working at Preen and Unconditional, he has since gone back to complete a Masters Degree at Central Saint Martin’s. Kashoura then started his own name label as a progressive and visionary brand to influence the way men dress. Having firmly established its signature ‘modern gentleman’ look using sharp cuts, unique finishing and trademark details such as looped shirt collars and jacket cuff fastenings, he also strives for a modern approach to colour and signature navy suiting.

Dazed Digital: Who would you ideally like to see wearing your designs?
Omar Kashoura: In all honesty this question always stifles me... I'm really not one to follow popular culture and rarely involve myself in the lives of others whether it be celebrities or indeed iconic people, so I've never had a strong desire to follow one particular person in pursuit to wear my clothes. I like characters the most, a bit of realness! And so I’d have to say any chap who can carry themselves well would make me happy to see wearing my designs. I did recently get in touch with a hero (if you like) of mine, the musician Matthew Herbert who loaned some pieces for a performance he did recently which was great.

DD: Is womenswear on the horizon and if so, would you consider a city survival collection for women?
Omar Kashoura: I actually began my training in womenswear before moving onto mens. I definitely wouldn’t say no, though at the moment I am very happy developing what I have and do feel it's important to establish one firmly before jumping onto the other. Besides, I do currently have a good few girlies I know who buy from the mens collections each season.

DD: Why did you decide to base your collection on city living, when was the light bulb moment?
Omar Kashoura: For quite some time now friends and industry folk have made mention on how, in a visual way I fit into my brand. Having established my signature look I began to question who it is that I am and what the man of Omar Kashoura stands for. So I ended up looking at myself personally and what my requirements would be within a wardrobe.
This led on to many topics and of course city living being one of them.

DD: Does your Arabic background influence your designs?
Omar Kashoura: Um... Another question I often have to ponder over! It's a hard one since I do have dual heritage but having grown up on a council estate in Leeds I can confidently say I am as English as they come... but then there is another side. I do feel that the way I express myself, whether this is emotionally or indeed creatively, does come from some hidden Arabic programming if you like. I have a tendency to lean towards rich things, especially in my use of cloth and colour.

DD: Why did you choose to present your collection at the Bedford and Strand Bistro?    
Omar Kashoura: Bedford and Strand was the perfect location with the perfect setting and of course perfect atmosphere for what I wanted to create. Catwalks are not for me and using a space with so much character and feeling helped to compliment the mood of the collection and the man I am designing for. By the way, they do the most delicious Shepherds pie too, you must check it out!

DD: How does London inspire you/and what else inspires you?
Omar Kashoura: London fills my hard drive with so much information, from the smells, to the architecture and of course the people. Aside from this most of my inspiration comes from social theory contexts. I like to question reasons and am very interested in how and why things are.

DD: Where can we purchase your collection?
Omar Kashoura: The SS10 collection is exclusively available at www.oki-ni.com and private commissions are always considered.
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