‘’loveclosely’’ is one of the brands you’ll want to follow to get that awareness of the bridge that fuses fashion and culture together. Founded by its Creative Director, Taha Youssef, loveclosely is a Canadian born luxury streetwear brand that connects East and West successfully through the fabrics used and the Arabic colygraphy implemented in its’ urban spirited designs. Thanks to the Create 22, an agency successfully bringing Middle East based designers to the US market, loveclosely has managed to be on the radar of many well-known names in the creative industry including French Montana, Jessie Reyez, Yuna and Ali Gatie.
Its upcoming collection ‘’Birds of Love’’ shows what the brand brings in tradition, culture and history into the mix and also inspires social consciousness within its community. That is achieved through cultural representation, not just because the clothing emulates that specific vibe, but thanks to the whole campaign for the recent project. Captured in the oriental atmosphere of beautiful Marrakesh by Ismail Zaidy, a well established photographer in the region who shares the same ideals of blending art and culture as the brand itself, it was basically a match made in oriental heaven.
Not to mention that this collection, similarly parallel to the ones before, has also been created from waste production and the consideration of social responsibility, the brand having an ethical understanding of the importance of fashion’s environmental and inhumane social impact. We chatted with Taha Youssef to know more
By Khaled Alameh
T.Y: ‘’loveclosely’’ was founded in 2018 to create meaningful streetwear rooted in tradition, culture, and history. Specifically, the vast amount of forgotten poetry, art, and culture from the Middle East & South Asia. By connecting the two worlds together, we are hopeful to expose our community to the beauty of different cultures and traditions, and share its’ beauty with the masses.
T.Y: ‘’While other brands struggle to re-align to the new fashion climate, loveclosely feels stronger than ever that the fashion community needs to be a leader in de-commercializing in order to truly represent the people & their values. As consumers become more conscious about the choices they make in life and in fashion, the complexity has increased for brands as well. Fashion now must also be meaningful, carry a powerful message, and help to create a change that questions the status quo. The brand is proud to take this step forward in sustainability as they continue to set the bar on how everyday fashion is consumed; not as a trend, but as an art-form.’’
T.Y: ‘’We hope to take loveclosely to the mainstream, to become the household name and normalize Middle Eastern and South Asian streetwear in fashion.’’
T.Y: This collection is inspired by the Persian fable “Conference of the Birds” – a story of birds in search of happiness, only to find that true peace comes from within. Drawing inspiration from this Persian poem, the brand hopes to encourage others to continue to focus on their personal and mental well-being, especially during a time of quarantine and isolation, and find contentment outside of their usual regular daily lives filled with work, school, and social obligations.
The images in the look book were taken in Marrakesh, Morocco by renowned photographer, Ismail Zaidy (as featured in Vogue). Using the architecture and culture, they attempt to capture two lost souls on the quest to find peace & happiness, and express the metaphor of individuals in society wandering through life’s vanities in a quest to find what they already had within themselves. The models showcase despair and anguish, on the rooftop; often using large sheets to symbolize their attempt at taking flight. They look to the sky for hope, not realizing that the peace that they search for is within themselves.’
T.Y: We’re so grateful to Create 22 for giving us a platform to create relationships and obtain placements within the creative community, and really establish credibility of our brand in the fashion landscape. As a result, we’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with influencers such as Amy Shehab, Kami Osman, and Zainab Al-Eqabi. We’ve also had the opportunity to build relationships, and obtain placements with Riz Ahmed, Ali Gatie, French Montana, & Jessie Reyez.
T.Y: We would love to see Bella and Gigi Hadid, as well as Mahershala Ali, Zayn Malik, and Younes Bendjima in loveclosely one day!
In conclusion, Taha Youssef built this brand on the fundamental belief of introducing tradition, art and culture as a whole to the world through fashion and also has a serious intention towards bringing social awareness to the negative impact of the fashion industry socially and environmentally. Every collection they create is made from a love for selling a fresh perspective to the world by mixing the popularity of streetwear with the poetry of the East and giving the pieces the edge they need to stand out from the old mainstream streetwear. They make their intentions of representation more recognizable to the world.
This isn’t just a clothing brand; this is a shot at a goal that’s hitting its mark because of the drive, purpose and ability to imagine a world that can do better; if that world simultaneously as a whole had the same appreciation to want to bring different parts of it together through artistic, cultural and social knowledge.