Rabih Rowel tells all 'bout genZ life in Dubai
Co-founder of Anomalous, a fashion brand with gender fluid styles, Rabih Rowel is a 21 years-old person that takes a big part in Dubai's underground fashion scene.
A true believer of vintage lthr energy, he brings to the light all that fashion represents. From representation & expression to art. The now Dubai resident sees up close the on-going changes of the city. So, u thinkin' 'bout going to Dubai? Rabih is all for it.
Get ready 'n' check our full interview below, babe.
How does it feel to be a Gen Z in Dubai?
Well, being a Gen Z or not being a Gen Z in Dubai, that's the amazing thing about it: u can do anything that anyone older or younger than you is doing. Because Dubai has offered many facilities for young people and for old people who are talented to create, to show what they are able to do, the design district. It's an amazing platform where there are public to do this stuff. I think like being in this community of Gen Z here in Dubai as well as meeting all these cool kids of Dubai has offered me a lot. There are nice spots for us here.
Can u point us a must-go spot to go in this wonderland place?
There's the design district, which is a whole community. There are three faces in the design district that are in the building now, and they're doing small houses for artists with all the equipment such as architects who cannot afford to buy all the equipment and to work with it.
Here people are very supportive of foreign talents, especially locals here in Dubai. They really support bringing talents from abroad. And because they see that this way we're sharing our talent with the local talent here, which is that kind of educating for both of us. So, you know, because Dubai is a very new city. They built Dubai in 10 years. And it's still getting its authenticity. Little by little. And this is being built by us people from abroad and by the locals here in Dubai, which are also very welcoming and very respectful of us.
Why did you come to Dubai?
Well, I'm from Lebanon & I was doing medicine there. But I was into fashion since I was 13 years old, even younger. But I had really high grades at school. And, I mean, I had to do what I had to do. And I had to go to med school. But I didn't like it. And then I decided one year ago, last year, actually, that I needed to take a bigger move because I worked with many brands in Lebanon on designing and also modeling. So I work with almost all the brands in Beirut. And then I had to do something else. So I moved to Istanbul for two months, but I didn't find myself there because I love the sun and the sea. I love the energy that this brings to a human being. So I decided to come to Dubai.
The things that you create are most connected to just to consumers or does it belong to an underground scene?
Well, of course, I am influenced and I admire big designers and luxury brands like Balenciaga & Alexander McQueen. There are many brands that inspired me to do what I am doing now. I've been inspired by the shapes that all these new brands like Balenciaga, Vetements.
Our clientele, the people that we are targeting, for sure they go to the luxury brands and they are customers for luxury brands. But in this community, there's also an underground community, which are the people who really like not very usual clothes that not everyone will buy. They buy it here in Dubai. It happens.
Why did you have a unisex part of the @anomalous.monism collection?
Just because, when I was with my friends, with my body type, especially me, I've always like had trouble finding my sizes and my style of clothes that looks good on me. I would always go to and buy my pants from women's divisions. Also, I know a lot of friends of mine, girls. They would go to men's division to buy oversized sweaters, oversized stuff because it looks better on them. So I know fashion is getting more mature towards the fact that it's OK to wear men's clothes on a woman and to wear women's clothes on a man.
And we're not like just doing unisex. We're doing unisex styles 'cause we really believe in diversity. We really believe that this taboo of the sex, the taboo of whatever orientation you have should not affect your way of clothing and should not put any limit to your style. So, that’s the main reason.
How does the unisex style work here?
Once I came to Dubai I was very careful with my clothes. People from abroad have this perception of the city. But when you live here and when you meet the people, you see it's actually very open. They really respect and admire people that stand out because it's needed here in Dubai. & the locals and the government here are aware of that. They respect it, as long as I'm not a guy wearing heels and a skirt and going out.
Dubai is not a place where you cannot be yourself. It's the opposite, actually. You can be yourself 'cause here and every time people you have 10 nationalities. And this is why diversity is huge and it’s a very fundamental thing here. And then the other percentage is all foreigners, they're all from many other countries.
What can u tell us 'bout being a part of the underground scene @ Dubai?
Yeah, I am. Well, the underground scene here is the artists and people who are really deeply into fashion in this sense. It's actually based on people who remake their clothes. They make crazy styles with it. You have the locals who buy a lot of edgy stuff and style it in crazy ways. There are also many underground scenes, especially when it comes to music.
We 👀 your lthr outfit. Where do u usually get these precious goods?
Well, my leather pants r actually 20-year-old and from a vintage store in Beirut. I love vintage stuff. I really support vintage and I really support recycling and we're making clothes out of clothes because this just goes into many different directions.
In vintage you’re wearing actual clothes that have spirit in them. And that's what I believe when I touch. So it's quite amazing this feeling when u go to these stores and you just feel how many free spirits you have, you have in there. There's life. I can say 70% of my closet is secondhand and vintage clothing, TBH.
And then looking back in the past you see that it's all being remade in all the style that you find in vintage stores. It's quite up on guard because whatever you find today in a vintage store, you will see another band recreating it in maybe 10 years and maybe 10 months, you know.
What's the place that represents Dubai the most?
I cannot point to any place that represents Dubai, because Dubai is a mix of everything, they've got this place called Global Village, which is kind of open now soon. You have the Dubai Mall which is the biggest mall in the world. Even Abu Dhabi, which is also really cool 'cause it's a huge place. And you feel this family thing there because they're all families there. It's not quite touristic yet now. And this is what makes it even cooler. Because it's super calm & super clean.
In Dubai, sometimes you need to get away from all this lifestyle that you have to maintain, actually. So whenever you wanna get out of that, you just go to its suburbs, 'cause you can just walk in there, see people, say hi to people. Some places you cannot even say hi to people. Everyone is doing their own business & they're going to just get out of here as soon as they can. That's why people don't try to make like real connections, real friendships and real relationships here, because everyone has this idea that I'm only here to do my work, get some money and leave this country, which is actually sad because it's a beautiful country. And I believe that I can and I will be based here for a very long time. I will travel around for sure. But I really love this country to be based in. And because it offers you everything. Any culture you want, you can find it here in this small city, Dubai.
& that's for real the pwr of fashion.
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