To us, he’s a beacon of style; he’s an effortless influencer of elegance. When looking forward to our annual Style Edition we decided there could be few men better suited to curating this issue than Ebrahim Al Qassab.
But first, there’s the question of precisely how we’re going to define ‘style’. Well, I say ‘precisely’, but there’s really no precise definition at all. It’s a fluid concept, and something we’re all expressing individually. For the uber-stylish Al Qassab, it’s a straightforward question of what he wears, what he eats, how he works and how he thinks. “For style”, he muses, “I think life-style”.
An all-encompassing lifestyle. “The first thing people see – their first impression of us – is very important. It’s worth spending time on mastering what we deliver as this first impression. It’s a complex process to grasp, but over time and with age we learn. This process will eventually become a repetitive pattern that becomes a lifestyle”.
He’s keen to stress, however, that it’s not rigid – as we evolve it evolves in direct relation to our openness to learning, and this pattern like any other will change depending on how much we are exposed to learning, read and adapt.
He’s very much the perfectionist in everything he does – and his approach to style is no different. The finest proponents of style make it look effortless, and Ebrahim has it nailed. His secret? “Dressing to the occasion, and making it all about the details – the watch, the shoes, the scarf and the socks”. Yes, the socks too. Often the details can be hidden from the eye – it may be the lining of his suit – but he knows that when everything comes together we carry ourselves in an elevated state.
As co-founder and partner at Kuwait’s newest cultural venue ‘The Hub’, Ebrahim Al Qassab lives his life through an equitable balance of culture and style.
Our individual style is defined by more than simply the way we dress, and today our lives are exposed to others in more ways than ever in history. We’re judged post-by-post. How we handle these judgements speaks volumes about us.
Ebrahim is very matter-of-fact about his style, “I think honesty is very important when we define style. Social media must be used with honesty to reflect and represent who we are. In the past, you had to be a high net worth individual to be able to look stylish, but now the market’s offerings are very diverse with less expensive stylish choices. You need to have the taste, not only the money. People make mistakes sometimes and use fake brands to show their style – this is never a good decision. Equally, our home, our food, our choices when traveling and our education are all factors that are involved in creating who we are. As I mentioned at the beginning, it’s a complete lifestyle”.
There’s one area of men’s style that often divides opinion – jewellery. Ebrahim is pro-jewellery… in the right circumstances. “It depends on who you are and what message you are trying to convey, and also the occasion you are attending. Men’s bracelets, rings and watches are the basics that I am most often seen with. Younger men and celebrities can go beyond that – as long as it still serves the purpose.
As a regular traveller, he’s well placed to judge our style against the style of others. “Kuwaitis have a great eye for setting trends – especially the women. On the international scene, I would highlight the Italians; their style is very clean with simple lines – it’s all about the cut. The British too; they express their style with edginess and colour blocking”.
He’s positive about the region’s style future, saying, “I think our region is looking good, especially when we take in to consideration our cultural and religious restrictions. We have done great job in standing out by being smart on how to create our own formula for style – we have a great ability to mix and layer things. However, we lack institutional support in developing fashion designers with professional knowledge to take the industry to the next level”.
Which of the earlier periods of style are you envious of not having lived through? I would choose the 1960s. Swinging London was a youth-oriented phenomenon that emphasized the new and the modern. It was a period of optimism and a cultural revolution.
Who are your icons of style? Brad Pitt, Tom Ford and David Beckham do style particularly well.