Muscat: Ahmed Al Balushi’s eyes shine as he speaks about his not-so-old fashion start-up called ‘Kash5aful’.
Although he ventured into the T-shirt designing only two years ago, fashion is something which this 21-year-old has always been associated with.
Growing up in Abu Dhabi gave him many opportunities to witness fashion events, both on TV and sometimes live. Ahmed loved watching fashion shows and being part of elegant ceremonies where people dressed in flashy outfits. Besides, he also learnt to pick his own clothes from an early age.
Despite his deep love for fashion, Ahmed’s passion was never actually visible to people until one day he decided to design T-shirts for himself.
“I was very fond of dressing up and so thought why not try designing T-shirts for myself. I did that and wore the designs to my college one day, where a lot of students complimented me. After that, I started taking pre-orders from friends and family who wanted me to design T-shirts for them, and I started this business with only OMR10 in my pocket.”
This was a turning point in Ahmed’s life and he decided to never look back.
On his 19th birthday, he decided to start his own T-shirt line, and turned this wish into reality with hard work and determination. Ahmed started ‘Kash5aful’ (which means ‘fabulous’ in Arabic) soon after.
His unique designs with Arabic phrases and patterns quickly caught the imagination of young Omani girls and boys, and Ahmed was able to put up his first fashion show at the Caledonian College of Engineering (CCE), where he is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering.
Not just in Oman, Ahmed’s designs have spread far and wide to most of the Arab countries and to Europe. Ahmed has a strong vision of hitting the global market and plans to do so soon.
“I am in collaboration with a Swiss entrepreneur called Helen, who chose my T-shirts to be displayed at her boutique in Switzerland. It is a matter of honour for me because Helen likes displaying designs from different parts of the world at her boutique and it’s the first time ever that she chose someone from the GCC.”
An important milestone in Ahmed’s life is approaching very soon, as he is organising his second fashion show at the Shangri-La’s Barr al Jissah resort and spa on March 31 this year.
“I am really excited and looking forward to this fashion show. I want to make this a success and have been planning it meticulously.”
Although his mother passed away two years ago, Ahmed says she is always with him in whatever he does. “It’s unfortunate that my mother passed away two years ago and did not live to see this day, but I know that she is looking down at me with a big smile.”
Ahmed’s father is proud of his achievements.
According to Ahmed, friends and well-wishers have advised him to expand into other fashion wear and accessories if he wants to make it global.
“Money doesn’t really count for me; it is the happiness when I see someone wearing my designs at an important event that really makes me feel that I am on the pathway to success.”
At the moment he is focusing on making his fashion show a success. Ahmed is also designing accessories apart from T-shirts. “I am designing more clothes now -- capes, cardigans, hats, scarves -- and plan to open my own store after I graduate from college.”
Ahmed’s biggest dream is to see his designs being worn at the red carpet at the Grammy’s or the Oscars.
“I have big dreams and I like to feel that I am on my way to pursue them. A lot of people tell me that I am very successful but I like to think that I am on my way to the success that I have always wanted; not yet, but close.”