Khalid Al Qasimi Image Credit: Supplied

When you’re the son of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, it’s no easy feat escaping the limelight. However, with his garments worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Cheryl Cole, and a menswear range feted by the critics, enjoying unparalleled success at the London Fashion Week, it is clear Khalid Al Qasimi has no intentions to do so, instead boldly stepping forward onto the world’s stage.
Founder of Qasimi, one of the most promising womenswear collections in London (with a recent launch of a menswear line in Paris), 31-year-old Al Qasimi’s creative career got an early start. Receiving an art scholarship at the age of 13, he joined the UK’s exclusive Tonbridge School for Boys, where he recalls using all his free time to experiment with different mediums such as ceramics, photography, textile design and painting. However, his taste for fashion began on weekends away from school, where he’d assist a photographer in London, carrying lights and studio equipment and helping with styling.
Graduating in 2001 with a degree in Hispanic studies and French literature from University College London, the ambitious young achiever decided to take up a career in architecture, enrolling with the Architectural Association in London. Meanwhile, Al Qasimi also pursued his interest in photography, winning two golden prizes at the first Arab-Euro Festival for Photography under the theme ‘History, Technique and Heritage’. However, after four years of architectural study, he decided to take up his new passion, studying fashion at Central St Martins with the goal of creating his own brand.
He established Qasimi in 2008, rapidly gaining popularity for his avant-garde, bold fashion designs, which challenge the norm and reflect the spirit of today. The young designer lists “sociopolitical issues, street culture, cinema, art and my daily journey around the city” as his sources of inspiration.
Often called the Prince of Fashion, it could be easy to dismiss Al Qasimi’s success as the result of several unfair advantages. However, one should not forget the challenges he’s faced, or how far he has come. In fact, the scions of ruling families may often face significant resistance from their families, who may not consider fashion a respectable or suitable long-term career. Yet, Al Qasimi’s hard work and dedication on what has been a level playing field garnered him the support of his family and of the market, inspiring the country’s young people to follow their dreams.
Al Qasimi is currently finishing his AW13 collection to be shown at the Paris Fashion Week in January, while simultaneously working on the SS13 due to be shown in June. “I’m planning to stick to menswear,” he says about his plans for the future, “but I am involved in talks about reintroducing my womenswear line.”
Although he has lived in the UK for more than 20 years, he retains strong roots to the UAE. The designer’s work is often characterised by an underlying influence of the UAE and Middle East, which he plans to expand upon by introducing a collection specifically for the Middle East.
With his indubitable talent and a loyal fan base here and abroad, it seems nothing can stop Al Qasimi’s star from continuing to rise.