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MQAAAR: The Palestinian Brand Championing Unity

MQAAAR’s second collection ‘A Call to Unity’, paves a path for more community-oriented interactions.

Raïs Saleh

MQAAAR: The Palestinian Brand Championing Unity

At the heart of Palestinian culture lies a nexus of community, an unwavering unity in the face of adversity, and a tenacious safeguarding of age-old traditions. These foundations have endured as steadfast pillars. From the vibrant tapestry of Ramallah emerges the brand MQAAAR, a masterful conduit for channelling these concepts into a sartorial narrative. Through two dynamic collections that metamorphose streetwear into athleisure, MQAAAR orchestrates a symphony of style that gracefully transcends the confines of both workplace and leisure.

In an intimate tête-à-tête, SceneStyled engaged in conversation with the virtuoso behind MQAAAR's creation, Mahmoud Hassouneh. This visionary founder unveils the tapestry of this innovative and authentic label, which not only strides resolutely into the contemporary sphere but also unfurls the effervescent visions of Palestinian youth onto a global stage.

“The brand, in essence, is inspired by my upbringing between the UAE and Ramallah, Palestine and the sense of community that existed differently but equally in both places,” Hassouneh tells Scene Styled. “I grew up in the UAE. There, everybody wants everybody else to be successful - a unique sense of community that exists very powerfully in that country.”

When asked about the uniquely Palestinian characteristics that inspire MQAAAR, Hassouneh refers back to idyllic childhood trips to Ramallah. “Palestine is different to the UAE. Based on the country’s history of suffering and persecution, Palestinians have created a culture of sticking together and of finding ways in which the community can help each other. In Ramallah, if you are in trouble, a host of people on the street will rush to your aid.” It is this dual dynamic of Hassouneh’s upbringing between the successful glitz of the Gulf and the warm and ancient hospitality of the Levant from which MQAAAR was born.

Released in January of this year, MQAAAR's inaugural collection, christened ‘Faith,’  draws its wellspring of inspiration from the venerable Trevi Fountain in Rome. Legends woven through time narrate that casting a solitary coin into its waters guarantees one's return to the Eternal City. Two coins conjure a destined return crowned with love, while a triumvirate of coins forecasts a journey to embrace both love and marriage.

Echoing this fountain's storied depths, ‘Faith’ unravels as a tapestry of earthy and profound hues, meticulously woven into the contours of relaxed tracksuits. In this collection, the Palestinian spirit unfurls its wings, anchored in the conviction that brighter days await on the horizon. Mahmoud Hassouneh, the founder of MQAAAR, reflects on the profound resonance: “As Palestinians and Arabs, faith finds itself irrevocably intertwined with our very essence.” Thus, through fabric and form, MQAAAR's ‘Faith’ collection is more than attire; it's a testament to the resilient optimism that pulses at the core of their identity.

Unveiled on 27th of July, and gracefully unfurling its online presence on the 8th of August, the brand's second chapter, ‘A Call to Unity,’ emerges like a clarion call echoing through the tapestry of time. Within this collection's narrative lies a symphony of athleisure Tees, adorned in shades that bear the weight of poignant insignia intertwined with the Palestinian struggle.

The fabric speaks, embodying the very essence of unity, a theme ingrained in the heart of the Palestinian people,“the older generation of Palestinians describe a past where people were much more hospitable with each other, and express regret at the supposed loss of this. The Palestinian youth however are vibrant and dynamic, and are creating channels for unity in ways appropriate to them. This collection sends the message for the people to take the initiative to form more community bonds, and to be more proactive and positive in their interactions with those around them.”

The brand’s identity as particularly Palestinian and Arab is also a way for those involved in the brand to universally share the culture that they hold dear. “Our culture is beautiful and we want to share it with everybody and send it everywhere,” shares Hassouneh. “In essence it is a proudly Palestinian and Arab brand, but it is also a means to allow those unaware of who we are as a people to enjoy our culture, and participate in its beauty.”

MQAAAR’s future intends to further the brand’s foundational vision. A planned future collection hopes to dig deeper at the way that we as humans interact with each other. “Our future will focus on community building, and inspiring the Palestinian creative youth, of which there are plenty. We intend to create events that allow grassroots community building and participation with MQAAAR,” Hassouneh expresses. “We aspire to come shoot our collections in Egypt in the future. It is a place dear to Palestinians and important to all Arabs, and so we would like to make it a part of MQAAAR too.”

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