On August 7, with almost no sudden warning, an Instagram page under the name of “Anomalous Monism” released a fashion film teaser announcing the launch of the brand and promoting its Fall/Winter 2019 collection. The film, shot by Lewis Semrani on iPhone XS Max at the Lebanese club venue Projekt, features behind the scenes footage of 10 models posing for the brand’s FW19 shoot. From start to finish, the video stylistically transitions between dark black and white clips of the models fiercely taking over the venue as it alternates between normal and hyper-speed video, looking nothing less like an excerpt from a 1970s indie cult movie. “Rebellious Disource” is the brand’s slogan, and the editorial material released portrays nothing less.
Produced by Rabih Rowell, alongside Michel Kiwarkis on make-up and Rim Choucair on styling, the launch video had all eyes on Anomalous, garnering almost 1,500 views at the time of this article’s release. And in a little over two weeks, the page is at almost 1,000 followers. We wanted to know more about this fashion cult, what it stands for, and where its unapologetic fearlessness comes from. So, we got in contact with Anomalous Monism’s founders, model Rabih Rowell and Mohamed Al Suwaidi, and asked them a few questions about their brand, its manifesto, and where it is headed.
Rabih Rowell: I am Lebanese, from an Assyrian family for whom art and history are sacred. I studied one year of biology at university, but then decided to take a break from education to focus more on fashion. This decision landed me in Dubai, where I wanted to boost my career as a model and creative director.
Mohamed Al Suwaidi: I am 30 years old, and I work as an internal strategist and analyst at an Abu Dhabi government agency. I studied civil engineering at the American University of Sharjah and graduated in 2010. My current skill set consists of project management and policy development, which I built at the organization I work for.
Rabih: We met through social media. Mohamed’s profile is very catchy to the eye. He styles his outfits in very cool and different ways, and you can see that through his posts. It was through that that we discovered our mutual interest in fashion.
Mohamed: I got in touch with Rabih after I noticed his love for fashion through his Instagram profile. I loved the unique way he expressed himself through artistic photoshoots and his ability to freely convey who he is through modeling.
Rabih: The idea was floating around since the beginning of this year. We both shared the idea of creating our own clothing brand after noticing the absence of a UAE-based contemporary wear brand. So, we got in touch because we felt like we both have very diverse and different ideas that we can bring to the table, and that we complement each other on that thought process level.
Rabih: This philosophical term resembles what we want our customers to see themselves as when wearing an Anomalous piece. The whole idea of freeing your mind and viewing your existence from multiple viewpoints can be expressed by wearing our clothes in a multitude of ways.
Rabih: We initially thought of designing street-wear clothes for Anomalous. However, after going to Sole DXB, an event that celebrates street-wear which takes place in D3, we realized that we did not need another street-wear brand. We wanted to bring something else to the table, something different. What we needed in the UAE was a brand which offers contemporary wear infused with utilitarian wear, and that is how our brand identity was created.
Rabih: We work in a very organized way. Each person in the team has their tasks assigned, which results in impeccable work at the end. For example, I am responsible for everything in the creative department, including design, art direction, and print/digital editorials for publication and marketing purposes. So, I handle the initial conceptual designs which get finalized by the manufacturer in Istanbul who then, with the right fabrics, produces sample pieces for our review. Mohamed, on the other hand, handles the managerial part of the brand, the business setup/logistics and finances to make sure we keep operating smoothly.
Rabih: The capability of wearing each Anomalous piece in multiple ways, and for different occasions.
Rabih: What our brand offers is more of a debate, hence the word “discourse”. It is a debate on what is considered wearable in the current fashion economy and what is not.
Rabih: We already have our expectations set for the coming years, considering different reactions we got after we launched our social media platforms.
In 5 years, we see Anomalous growing from an emerging clothing brand to an established collaborative community of artists who work together to provide the fashion market with what it is missing.
In the long run, we are not only working to grow the brand and sell clothes, but also to share our concepts and experiences with the new generation of young artists who are interested in having a strong presence in the fashion world.
Photography and direction/@micheltaklaofficial