Arcadian Apparel is turning heads with its T-shirts that draw on Emirati culture. Jenny Hewett meets the label’s CEO.
With slogans including ‘Got Laban?’ and ‘Dubai Til I Die’, it’s hard not to be intrigued by new online fashion upstart Arcadian Apparel. With a focus on local culture and imagery, the brand is all about supporting home-grown artists and showing and representing Emirati culture in an unexpected and contemporary light. Here, we chat to the man behind the label, the CEO of Arcadian Apparel, 35-year-old American Peter Davos.
Can you explain the concept and your vision for the label?
We transform the work of local artists, photographers and fashion designers into wearable pieces. We’re also the first online T-shirt store that celebrates Emirati culture through promoting local arts in the UAE. So our inspiration comes from this, as well as international trends.
They are a staple fashion item that everyone wears and enjoys, and they go with everything!
How has the label grown?
The first collection focused on local imagery and culture – desert landscapes and cityscapes – while our second and most current collection has a much funkier edge – we feature international celebrities wearing Sheilas, add local twists to recognised brands and integrate more international pop culture trends.
Describe your design aesthetic
Fashionable and humorous. We are local, loud and proud!
Who designs the T-shirts?
We have an in-house team of four designers and also solicit photographs and designs from local talent.
Who are the artists behind the prints?
They’re Emirati and expat artists living in Dubai. We also have an in-house artistic director and employ a marketing team responsible for brand development, design and marketing.
What qualities set the brand apart from others in the region?
Our brand is inspired by our city and reflects our passion for it. We are 100 percent home-grown and do not compromise on the quality of our fabric, printing, or designs; Dubai doesn’t compromise on anything and neither do we.
Will you be bringing out new pieces every season?
There will be four new collections every year, and we also hope to expand our product range to jumpers soon as well.
What’s your favourite piece in the current collection?
Dubai Til I Die, which sums up our brand philosophy and is written in an amazing script with an intricacy you have to dissect in order to really appreciate.
A lot of your pieces have a humorous element, why was this important?
Humour is the global language and, like a good T-shirt, can be appreciated by everybody.
What was behind your decision to launch your brand online rather than in a flagship store?
We initially launched online, but you can now find us in most of the trendy local boutiques in Dubai. We do not want to go down the mainstream and commercial route of flagships, which stock mainly established, imported fashion brands, we want to maintain our local cool factor and edge.
How can artists get in touch with you to see their works on your shirts?
They can submit their designs online through our website.
Dhs150 to Dhs250, www.arcadianapparel.com