Fashion in it’s many forms, often revolves around dialogue, or is stirred by it. Every single piece that we occasionally put onto our bare body articulates who we are as individuals, and how we’d like to be perceived. These particular pieces serve a purpose, emotion, or form an aesthetic.
As cliché as this may sound, shopping is a form of dialogue. You, a customer, often create dialect with the article of clothing, or accessory that you’re about to obtain. When referring to that, the Emirati brand “Tharb” which’s based in Abu Dhabi, comes to mind.
Focused on creating products that evoke the sense of elegance, and practicality, founder and creative director Eisa Al Subousi aims to prove that his generation is able to design and execute products that can compete on a global scale. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to interview Al Subousi, and furthermore discuss matters about Tharb, and himself.
Q1. Why the name “Tharb”?
Tharb, in local Emirati dialect, refers to a person whose well spoken, and who generally has noble characteristics. After much research for the name, I decided to look for inspiration by reading the poems of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan. That’s when I came across the verse mentioning the word “tharb” and the rest was history.
Q2. Do the products have a literal representation, derived from the meaning of the word?
I believe that there is an overarching representation of the name in our products. The products are designed to be minimal yet practical and we try to stay away from over designing just for the sake of aesthetics alone. So in a way, the products are very “well behaved” design wise, which relates back to the name.
Q3. From genuine leather, suede, to marble, what further materials do you think Tharb could work with in the near future?
I work with the belief that we should showcase the beauty of these natural materials with minimal interruptions. Therefore, I naturally gravitate towards materials such as leather and marble. For the future, I’m looking forward to using sustainable woods and mother of pearl.
Q4. Your products follow a minimal approach, which evoke the sense of practicality, yet still hold a luxe aspect. How has the general feedback been towards that?
To be honest, I was concerned in the beginning about the reception of the public towards our modern, and minimal approach, considering that the regional market tends to favor brands that have a more classical design sense. What I found was a really good reception to our style, especially from the younger generation who are more exposed to fashion from places such as Scandinavia and Japan, rather than the typical Italian and French aesthetic.
Q5. From studying mass communications, to later on pursuing your interest in product design, and launching a brand, how did you get from point A to B?
It was definitely a big leap, at least on paper. But throughout my life, I’ve always had an interest in art and design. I was always drawing landscapes and portraits. On the other hand, I also had an interest and appreciation in acquiring leather goods for my personal use. After realizing that I’ve found a new passion for leather goods that came with an intensive amount of practice, I decided to drop my government job in the communications field and start Tharb.
Q6. What can we expect from Tharb in the future?
The goal right now is to cover more of the main product categories under leather goods. We’re working on introducing smaller bags for men and women, such as satchels and clutches. Another product that I’m looking forward to producing is a weekender bag that is large enough for a person’s needs yet with some new functionalities that will elevate it from what is typically found in the market.