Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès

Pink Sushi

New fashion, a colorful mix of Emirati visual icons.

Attempting to express oneself is of course a universal human endeavor. In rather conservative social environments this natural tendency has a special urgency.

Pink Sushi 04.jpg - PINK SUSHI t-shirt with the iconic image of the Egyptian singer 'Om Kolthum'.

Fashion is one of the most visible way to make a lasting first impression, and has been used by youth the world over to put their social or political statements in your face. How is this manifested in countries where the veil is imposed on members of society, and where being 'modest/humble' and blending homogeneously within society is seen as a virtue? There is definitely a schism between how people are expected to appear in public versus how they may behave in their private spaces or homes.

So many colorful mixes are sometimes shown under the long flowing black 'abayas' of young ladies in the United Arab Emirates. The tendency to make a 'fashion/political statement' by creating a genuine contemporary gulf visual culture is brewing and highly visible in the work of the Dubai-based Emirati fashion and accessories designer who goes by the name of PINK SUSHI. She is trained as a graphic designer but has chosen to fuse Arabian kitsch with hip 'Harajuku' inspired street fashion. Her non-conformist designs are setting interesting trends that are seeping into the work of other designers in Saudi Arabia and the gulf (even for young men). The 'ghitra' (also called 'kaffiya' in other Arab countries, the red and white patterned scarf traditionally worn as headgear by men in the middle east) dominates her creations. This signature fabric is taken out of context and stamped on all her designs. It is woven into a fabric rose, or crafted into a cushioned heart, or used for a mini skirt.

Her label is Influenced by bright neon colors, eighties cartoons, rainbow bright, her lomography photos/ polaroid transfers, her mom's vintage embroidered tally Jalabiya`s, tasty rolled bite sized sushi rolls, grocery stores, Arabic candy wrappers/typography, her grandfather`s wind-tower house, plastered sticker books, Souq Alarsa in Sharjah, Souk Okath, Camden Market in the UK, the old Dubai fruit/vegetable market and vintage flee markets. The need to mix the various influences that Arab youth encounter, either through the media, films or their personal experiences and travels, in both Eastern and Western cultures, is a one of the interesting and possibly enriching effects of globalisation. In the fields of fashion and graphic design, the trend is catching on and producing intriguing results.

For more information, please visit the website of PINK SUSHI