Yousef Al Taher’s career already reads like a veteran pro’s. After completing high school in France, the young Kuwaiti stylist started his journey as a Parisian photographer’s assistant, and then went on to work as contributing editor of THOUQ magazine, an Assistant Visual merchandiser, a freelance writer/stylist for Marie Claire Kuwait, Sarab, Khaleejesque and Bazaar, and art director for Avenues in-house magazine. For personal projects, he teamed up with famed artist, Bruha Eve, to launch his first fashion and art collaboration called ‘Vivid’ and served as MUSE for one of Kuwait’s hottest fashion designer, Abdullah Alsaab’s, ‘BOUNDARIES’ collection.
Lately, Yousef has been the subject of talk for launching his very own art magazine Athnain, which he co-founded with another talented designer, Yousef Abdulsaid. Athnain, which means number 2 in Arabic, is a representation of both genders, a couple.
Sketchbook brings you the multi-talented and many faceted, Yousef Al Taher:
In your own words, how would you describe yourself?
I am a dreamer, a person who lives in a fairytale world, where there is no judgment, and there is freedom of expression (without hurting anyone). I see myself as a passionate, ambitious person, who doesn’t give up on his beliefs, but rather fights for them. I come from a loving supporting family that appreciates arts and beauty in all its forms. I grew up integrated in music, movies, and myriad works of art. That’s what inspired my career choice. It was somewhere between Kuwait and Paris where I was pushed into the artistic world. I see myself as a self-taught man and I believe that life is the biggest test. I finished my high school in France, when opportunity came knocking on my door.
What/who inspired your choice of career?
I knew I wanted to be a stylist the day I saw my mother being her glamorous self. And that was when it occurred to me that all women should have a fabulous sense of style. I grew up in an environment of music, theater. That, and living in Europe, was hugely influential in my exposure to local and international differences.
You are a self-proclaimed dreamer. Who has been most supportive of yours dreams?
There have been times in my life in which I have fallen or failed, times in which I had no friends to turn to, times in which I saw my dreams as unattainable. Throughout my trials and tribulations, my family has been there for me, even when I didn’t reciprocate that support. My family is a unit in which I am free to dream, to talk, and to be who I want to be. Without a doubt, my family has always supported me.
As a stylist, how do you perceive fashion and style? Do you think it’s for everyone?
To me, fashion is perfect, as it conceals a lot and I find it quite therapeutic. It helps me survive as I can make myself feel better hypothetically. I can hide my insecurities and think positively. Of course, it’s for everyone. Fashion is like food, we all deserve to eat.
What qualities do you admire the most in women?
Their beauty and strength. Woman today are becoming more powerful, and they’re set to take over the world while looking Tres Chic.
Switching over to your latest endeavor, you have recently co-founded an art/fashion magazine–Athnain. Tell us about it.
It was a big project and I wasn’t sure if people here in Gulf where ready for it. It’s my vision to the future. My partner, Yousif Abdulsaid, and I wanted to create a magazine where creative minds can unite.
Describe Athnain magazine in 3 words.
Youth, fearless, future.
What content does the magazine focus on?
Art – in all its aspects.
How did it feel undertaking such a big project like Athnain?
Pressure! I was no longer following someone else’s rules. I became the captain of my own ship.
How has the public reacted to the launch of the magazine?
Surprisingly positive! People were really excited when news came out about the magazine. They were happy to finally have this kind of magazine in the country.
What can we expect next from you?
To be honest, I don’t really know. I tend to take things as they come rather than plan ahead. I just hope I can inspire more people about fashion as an art and not only clothes, as well as give back my gratitude to all of the people who believed in me. Last, but not least, I want to spread hope to my generation and provide them a place to dream and to fulfill their own goals.
Yousef Al Taher is Athnain magazine’s Creative Director.
WORDS: SHABANA H. SHAIKH