Breaking into London Fashion Week

Along with the likes of Stella McCartney, Louis Vuitton and others, Kash5aful’s structured lines and flowing silhouettes enthralled the audience at this year’s London Fashion Week. The Sultanate’s very own Ahmed Al Balushi is not only the country’s youngest designer but in 2018 became the first Omani fashion designer to showcase at the 2018 Autumn-Winter London Fashion Week.

A part of London Fashion Week, Stories from Arabia showcased collections from eight Arab designers, and it was no doubt that Ahmed’s collection stood out with its neutral tones and red hues, with the models sporting smouldering eyes, nude lips and a classic bold winged eyeliner.
Only 22 years old, Ahmed Al Balushi is a designer who has made his name not only across the country but through the region and is now reaching the ramps of iconic fashion centres around the globe.
Ahmed spoke about his collection, he said, “In this collection, the inspiration is based on a character that has always lived in my imagination. A woman that always wears black because of her strength not her weakness or sadness despite the colour connotations black usually has. In this collection, the colours are flakes of a character embracing the colour black and ending its expression by white.
Ahmed’s journey as a designer started a few years ago but his interest in fashion stems from long before then. Growing up with many sisters, Ahmed and his family grew up with personal tailors, creating styles for themselves that were unique and befitting of their variant styles.
His journey as a designer started as a college student when the simplicity yet creative possibilities of a t-shirt peeked his interest. He says, “I wanted to start simple, but with something creative. I wanted it to be something that was eye-catching, affordable. Growing up, I was never the kind of person to depend or lean on others to do something that I wanted, so instead, I took it upon myself to start something simplistic, but at the same time something that stood out and was truly unique.”
A play on words, Kash5aful stems from the Arabic word Kashka, meaning glamourous or beautiful and English suffix –ful. When asked about the origin of his brand name, he said, “My friends and fellow college students would say wow, that’s very nice and started to compliment my t-shirts and that is where my brand started. People started calling my t-shirts Kashkha, meaning beautiful in Arabic and that is how I got the name for my brand.”
A humble yet charismatic young man, Ahmed’s enthusiasm about his brand and his ambition towards life and the future of his designs is truly remarkable especially coming from a recently graduated architect.
Coming a long way since his first show at the Caledonian College of Engineering, Ahmed has hosted close to 10 shows but claimed that London was an experience like no other. He said, “London was an extraordinary experience, not because it was in London but because I was experiencing and observer the real fashion industry. Hectic and chaotic backstage, professional models, official sponsors.”
Along with the announcement of his invitation to showcase at London Fashion Week, Ahmed also announced the team that would be going along with him. A first not only for him but also his team, being a part of London Fashion week was truly an amazing opportunity and a huge encouragement for the entire entourage. Ahmed spoke highly of his support team, he said, “They had my back 24/7, they supported me by handling my social media, arrangements, assistance, photography – they were there to constantly support me at every moment. It isn’t about the place, but the atmosphere of it all. It doesn’t matter which country it is; it always comes down to the surrounding elements.”
His team consisted of a group of Omanis, who have worked together since day one and without whom this event would not have been made possible. Seema Al Balushi (Instagram: seemaalbulushi) is a professional makeup artist who was with Ahmed in the backstage during London Fashion Week along with her business manager, Nihad Al Kindi (Instagram: nihad_m_alkindi).
During shoots, the runway showcase, covering all the events, photo shoots and meetings was the talented Omani photographer Mazin Al Awira (Instagram: prince_ayham). Also a part of the team and present at London Fashion Week was social media influencer Jihan Al Obaidani (Instagram: Teeetaaan) posting and live-casting all the events making sure fans from Oman and other parts of the region could join in on the achievements of Ahmed, his team and his brand.
Ahmed, proud of the support of his team and their achievements said, “we went as a team and we cooperated from start to finish. We stood by each other, showcased our talent and our pride for our country, The Sultanate of Oman.”
Ahmed Al Balushi and his brand Kash5aful have not only made their impression on the fashionista’s of Oman and the Arab world but also amongst the fashion elites of Europe and London. As a designer, his aim is not just to make clothes that sell, but as he says, “I want to give people stylish, interesting clothes that are not only unique but also affordable. I want my brand to be known for its quality, even the clothes I make for women, my sisters are made to test them out to ensure they are the best they can be.”
As the designer works towards making his work global, as well as to keep women and men styles chic. He has, without a doubt, made Oman proud of his glorious achievement.
For those interested in checking out more of this work and get updates about his future collections and endeavours follow him on his Instagram @ahmedbaluchii or to see more of his collection follow his brand @kash5aful on Instagram.