Beauty is everywhere, but perfection is'nt: Celebrating The cARTel's Anniversary with Rad Hourani -
Ted Baker KSA

Beauty is everywhere, but perfection is’nt: Celebrating The cARTel’s Anniversary with Rad Hourani

By Zainab Imichi Alhassan


Conceptual multi-branded store, The Cartel, celebrated its one-year anniversary on the 20th of March with a cocktail reception and an exhibition from Unisex designer Rad Hourani titled “Five years of Unisex”. The Cartel, which doubles as an art gallery and fashion store, hosts contemporary avant-garde designs curated from both international and local brands. For the past one year, the space has actively participated in the changing landscape of fashion in Dubai and moving away from the ostentatious designs that has become synonymous with the city, and instead toward a more minimal, contemporary aesthetic. This accomplishment was ubiquitous on Thursday evening as the crowd talked fashion and crushed on the collection, watched the fashion show and mingled with the special guest of honor, Rad Hourani.

Photos by The cARTel.

After launching his namesake collection in 2007, Rad Hourani ( @RADHOURANI ) became the first unisex designer in history to be invited to join the Chambre Sydicale de la Couture. founder, Marriam Mossalli interviewed the designer back in 2009 when he was still showcasing during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. I got to chat with the designer to see how he’s progressed and matured aesthetically in the past few years, and was shocked to see such a well-rounded creative at an age, where others are still desperately trying to discover themselves.

At the young age of 31, Hourani’s resume is a proclaimed designer, photographer, filmmaker, and artist. This all-encompassing—or should I say—limitless creative seems aligned with Hourani’s creative ethos: The belief that social boundaries are irrelevant. According to the Jordanian designer, “Beauty is everywhere, but perfection is not.
Hourani went on to emphasize the term “neutral aesthetics,” which his clothes are a celebration of. I made the mistake of referring to his pieces as “androgynous,” and was quickly corrected. “ I can understand why you would think that,” he said politely amended, “A lot of people do refer to it as androgynous, but even androgyny is just another label.”
While he is adamant not to be labeled, even as a fashion designer, his convictions are almost contagious and his boyish charm doesn’t allow for any arrogance to be conveyed. “I have a lot of fun,” he muses, “I am able to balance work and play perfectly”.

Rad Hourani

One cannot help but be impressed when meeting Hourani, who is actually a self-taught creative. After finishing high school in Montreal, he worked as a stylist, until he moved to Paris and launched his label. Overall, Hourani didn’t do well in school, but excelled in mathematics and art. Funny enough, the designer still doesn’t know how to sew, but his strength lies in sketching and working the pattern illustrations, which we can assume are a result of his two aforementioned favorite school subjects.

How does he stay grounded? “I am very disciplined and have trained myself to separate personal from creativity.” Meaning, if you want to know his personal opinion of the fashion scene Dubai, you’re not going to get it! “There is ugly and beauty everywhere,” stated the politically-correct, Paris-based designer, “I look at Dubai with a creative eye and I am very honored to be part of it. It’s lovely to see people here doing something with their life.”

In addition to having an intimate conversation with one of our leading avant-garde talents currently working today, the theatrical fashion show staged with pieces from the Cartel showroom was another delightful highlight of the night. “We wanted to break away form the traditional catwalk as we are notorious for offering a unique out of the box edge to fashion so we wanted to present to our audience the true essence of the Cartel, which is the unique combination of art in its various forms as well as fashion,” revealed the chic, May Barber, Managing Partner and Founder of the Cartel @thecartelme ). It was a breath of fresh air for a Dubai fashion event, which usually consists of the same small talk and the same opportunists. We at cannot wait to see what the Cartel has in store for its second anniversary! Congrats, guys!