Fahad Ahmed Al Obaidly is considered Qatar’s first male fashion designer. He established his ready-to-wear luxury fashion house label Fahad Al Obaidly in 2019 after graduating from Istituto Marangoni with a BA Fashion design degree.
Taking inspiration from his surroundings, Fahad’s unisex designs are an ode to the geometric architecture and art found in Qatar. The modern cuts and colorful prints reflect an easeful, glamorous, and maximalist lifestyle. This multi-disciplined artist speaks the language of creativity and expresses himself by defying the current status quo. We spoke to him about his journey and the evolution of fashion in Qatar.
Saira Malik (S.M.): You’re considered the first Qatari male fashion designer, what has the experience been like building your own brand in Doha since 2019?
Fahad Ahmed Al Obaidly (FAO): Exciting and challenging as the ecosystem of establishing a fashion label wasn't there before the creative hub M7 was launched. But it was good for me to start alone and learn how to navigate through the legal and commercial structure of establishing a creative enterprise business in Qatar.
(S.M.): What is your design process like? Who are you designing for?
(F.A.O): I always start with the inspiration which comes to me usually though music. I draw my inspiration in how people live and interact with one another and how they express themselves via their own fashion statement or style. The way I design starts with inspiration, then to sketches usually that will turn to digital pattern and textile development. All the way to the production which will lead to visual merchandising and distribution to the right channels.
(S.M.): You have a deep love for culture and heritage. How is this reflected through your work from fashion to art?
(F.A.O): I love architecture, specifically in the MENA region, which you will see in my prints, a lot of them are inspired by the GCC architectural language or then Morocco.
(S.M.): What excites you about being a fashion designer working in Qatar? And what are the challenges that you are facing?
(F.A.O): What doesn't excite me about being a designer in Qatar! After HE Al-Mayassa bint Hamad’s tremendous support, she established Fire station, the first art incubation hub for visual artists to develop their artistic expression, followed by Doha Film Institute where filmmakers upskill their storytelling via film, and recently M7 and Liwan the design and creative hubs. Not to forget to mention, Fashion Trust Arabia’s official gala and award ceremony in Qatar. So indeed it is an exciting time to be here as a creative and the only challenge I think we face as creatives is to understand how to use these opportunities and work hard to take advantage of the ecosystem in Qatar.
(S.M.): What are your hopes for the creative scene in Qatar? How would you like it to develop?
(F.A.O): My hope is for creatives from the MENA region to consider Qatar as a creative tourism destination for them so we have more colourful figures within the creative landscape in Qatar.
(S.M.): What advice would you give to young creatives that want to start working in the country?
(F.A.O): Have a clear idea where you are heading and do your research in order to create a support system around you to accelerate your creative business.