The up-and-coming menswear label that should be on your radar
How often do you get the best of both worlds? Chances are, the answer is not very often at all. The old adage, "You can't have your cake and eat it too" has been long drilled into our young minds; the idea that's something's got to give, that the fantasy of getting everything you want stays a fantasy. It is practical? Surely. Is it ever so maddening? Well, let's put it this way: Who doesn't love cake?
But the next best thing is to see a maverick prove that having it all is not beyond the realms of possibility. While the menswear scene continues its fashion vertigo — where contrasting ideas of traditional tailoring and modern streetwear have been polarising to say the least — Ghanian Belgian designer Ali Abdulrahim picks up the needle to stitch together a harmonious marriage of both influences. His impetus to design boils down to one neat line of reasoning: What he wanted to wear simply wasn't out there.
The young designer is no stranger to the sartorial affair, having schooled at the Academy of Fine Arts Sint-Niklaas and continued his trade at a Belgian theatre-costume atelier. His three-year young London-based label Mai-Gidah is still relatively under-the-rader — save for an inner coterie of gents who've given the him an in on the streets at fashion week, and on their Instagram feeds.
Just five seasons in, you'll see that Abdulrahim has consistently served up a mash of shirting, top coats, and blazers that encapsulate the rigour and robustness of sleek tailoring, but contrasted by his go-to lexicon of experimental patchwork and hardwear detailing. Despite having room to grow and yet to truly push the envelope, it's safe to say that this is one young talent that's found his voice: One that tells the classical man that he too, can dabble in the modern street-hitting look without forgoing his roots.
Go on, have your cake and eat it too.
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