Patches, appliqués and pins are aplenty in the current fashion market, used often to decorate jeans and denim jackets. A circular pink iron-on patch scripted with “Habibi” in a font reminiscent of the Barbie logo, however, is something you don’t see every day. Newly launched Dubai-based apparel and accessories brand La Come Di is disrupting the market with fresh new ideas that give a tongue-in-cheek, cultural spin to wardrobe basics.
“The idea for La Come Di started over some shisha and mint tea on a hot summer night,” says co-founder of the brand, Elisa Arienti. “We simply wanted to create something that would add to the city we live in, mixing culture and design into something tangible, not just design for the sake of design.” Arienti, originally Italian, studied art direction in Oman and has been living in Dubai for four years. She met La Come Di co-founder, the Palestinian Feras Sobh, whom she worked with at her adverting job at the time. Sobh has a degree in visual communications, and has lived in the UAE for more than ten years.
Last February, they both quit their full-time advertising jobs to start La Come Di, a name that translates directly to “the like of” in Italian. “We liked how it sounds like “comedy” in English, with a pretentious ‘La’ in front of it. That attitude carries itself through and represents the youth’s versatility of style and character,” explains Arienti.
After working for over a year to develop their products, the brand launched with not one, but three spring/summer 2017 collections on its newly established e-commerce portal earlier this month.
Karak Opera is a street style-inspired collection incorporating pop culture graphics relevant to the region. Comic-style illustrations of locals sipping Karak Chai and eating Chips Oman are splashed across T-shirts and laptop cases.
The Plastique collection features playful icons (pizza slices and palm trees, for instance) in print and appliqué form on cotton and denim T-shirts, tunics and kimonos. A pack of fries is branded with a fantasy franchise logo reading “Habibi burger”, and a pack of matches features the text, “C’mon Habibi, light my shisha”.
The label’s Dolce collection, meanwhile, is characterised by bold stripes and icons of sailboats, hot air balloons and vintage cars.
Prices are affordable when compared to other regional brands — tops cost around Dh200, while pins and patches are priced at around Dh50. La Come Di ships worldwide with traceable delivery options from FedEx, and accepts Visa, MasterCard and PayPal payments. While the focus is on maintaining a stable online platform to supply to international customers, the brand founders have their eye on expanding local presence too. “We love the idea of having an online store that sells all over the world, but on the other hand we definitely want to expand in our sunny hometown and bring La Come Di to markets and local funky shops,” says Arienti.