UNTY founder Omar Mobarek reveals the inspiration behind the brand's 11th collection to date.
There are things in life we keep going back to; we know they’re bad for us, but we just can’t stay away. We allow a boyfriend or a girlfriend back in our lives too many times, knowing they’ll only cause us grief. We know cigarettes will weaken our lungs and our pockets but we can’t stop smoking. We pig out on the same junk food we swore we'd never touch again while re-watching the 10th episode of Friends in a row.
But don’t feel bad - we’re not the only people guilty of addictions. Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony, two of the most powerful men that have ever walked the earth, were addicted to Cleopatra. They were captivated by her charm and wit, which eventually factored into their deaths. And this is exactly what is being embodied in local streetwear brand, UNTY's edgy new winter collection, IX, which revolves around the infamous queen.“The inspiration for this collection was a personal experience that tied well with the character of Cleopatra," explains founder Omar Mobarek, "There was a particular incident when Cleopatra wanted to meet Julius Caesar, but there was tension in the palace and she couldn’t enter, so she literally rolled herself into a carpet which was going to be taken inside and when the carpet was then rolled out, she just appeared and he was infatuated at first sight. This story inspired a yellow hoodie in this collection, which has a printed design of rolling paper and reads, Cleo-Bafra.”
Much like the aforementioned yellow hoodie, many of the pieces in the collection also heavily feature cigarettes in various forms - packs of cigarettes drawn on the backs of hoodies; a hand holding a cigarette sketched on the front of sweatshirts - which ties in with the overarching theme of addiction that plays into the identity of the collection. "There's something about cigarettes that is attractive; they make you feel good even though they're killing you," Mobarek says.
This collection, which will be out two weeks from now, is showcased through a lookbook that was released last week, compiled and shot in Brooklyn. “One night, Omar Harbi [photographer] and I were at this diner in Brooklyn and we were talking about the lighting, the colours of the place and how it could possibly be a nice potential location for us to shoot. We get back home and by coincidence watch an episode of a show called How to Make it in America. It’s about two guys starting a clothing label and they were sitting at the exact same diner that we were at, on the exact same bench. It was sign - the shoot for the look book had to be in that place. Two days later, we shot it,” he tells us.
The designs of the collection really look like they’re taken from a sketch book of pop culture, flawlessly integrated into every piece. Scroll down and check them out:
Photography by Omar Harbi
You can check out more of UNTY's work on Instagram @untydesigns.