Formerly linked to skate and hip-hop subcultures, streetwear is now well integrated in the mainstream fashion market. And with high-end brands launching lines and collaborations, it’s no wonder. Looking more locally, there are more up-and-coming streetwear brands getting in on the action too, with one in particular standing out. “Since streetwear has been propelled into the mainstream, you find that everyone wants to have a few looks of that kind of style,” says Sooran, the owner of local streetwear brand Urban House DXB (@urbanhousedxb).
Launched four years ago as Officially Swagged, the brand was then taken over three years ago by Sooran. He tells Grazia that he has always had an interest in fashion and that streetwear has been a big part of his culture being Kurdish and growing up in London. “I took this leap of faith taking over the business, and I had to learn everything from scratch. I’ve never studied fashion, I’ve just always been interested in it and thought ‘why not?'” Rebranding as Urban House DXB, they wanted to cater more for other brands across the UAE as well as internationally.
Housing other brand lines as well as their own, they focus on labels that they believe promote a positive message that their customers can relate to. A few key brands under Urban House DXB are One Love, Sincere, and Stay Local. “One Love is a Canadian brand sending a message of peace, love and unity. Then we have Sincere, and we all know what sincerity means. Stay Local is something that hasn’t been done much here, but they basically make everything locally within the UAE, because they want to appeal to the locals and give them something to identify with,” Sooran explains.
For their own brand's clothing, Urban House DXB tends to collaborate with other local designers. Reminding us again of the importance of the message their items send, Sooran tells us about one of their most successful collaborations, Aspire to Inspire Arabic Quotes. “We collaborated with a young designer studying typography at university. I inspired her with the quotes, then she designed them for the clothes and created designs for the back too.” The collaboration consists of T-shirts and hoodies with a quote translated in Arabic and English. “We use inspiring quotes like ‘real beauty is the beauty of the soul’, and ‘your faith must be stronger than your fear’. They send a positive message and we believe it’s about expressing yourself through what you wear.”
Sparking innovation and keeping it fresh, Urban House DXB doesn’t begin and end with the clothing. “We also consider ourselves a lifestyle brand, and we have a whole other chapter for content creation,” Sooran tells us. Using their platform as a springboard, they help young, aspiring models, photographers, and videographers. “We accommodate everyone, and helping other creatives start out is a key thing for Urban House. Advice is always free here, and our door is always open for people who don’t know where to start.”
And it seems that their methods of boosting work, as Imran Lukey (@imran_lukey), one of the faces of the brand, is now also modelling for Reebok and has been signed by them for Sole DXB this year.
Technically still a start-up, it’s only right to ask what’s next for Urban House DXB. “We’re on the rise already, this year has been a big year for us with the launch of our international shipping and we can now accept PayPal payments, but further expansion over the next year is key,” Sooran explains.
He continues, “The vision for us is to house international brands as well, and we want to have a physical store alongside our place at Global Village, but for the full 12 months of the year. We want a place where we can invite influencers and celebrities to come and collaborate, because we want to expand our content creation and hopefully do music videos with artists when they visit Dubai as well.”
- Visit urbanhousedxb.com or their store at Global Village, Europe Pavilion, Shop 8