Two years after its grand opening, 52 Degrees is still going strong with the addition of Phase II and thousands of local and international followers, who all seem to share the same love and appreciation for the original and innovative creations of young Kuwaiti designers and entrepreneurs.
The Al Tilal Complex, home of 52 Degrees, was designed by architect Ahmed Al Baghli and is located on Pepsi Cola Street in Shuwaikh, Kuwait. The venue provides locals and visitors alike with access to the latest fashion and accessories, art, home décor, food, and entertainment products produced exclusively in Kuwait.
Before the grand opening in 2011, Manager Abdullah Al Mudhaf declared that one of its main goals would be to promote healthy business growth among young entrepreneurs, and cultivate it so that they would be able to meet with international requirements when more branches were opened locally and globally. Effectively, in addition to space, the organization also provides its entrepreneurs with extensive services such as branding, sales staff, packaging, marketing, media coverage, sales analysis, financial reporting, and business education courses.
In accordance with its commitment to originality and innovation, exclusive collections from Kuwaiti designers like Amna Muquddam, Diana Al-Rujaib, Nora Al-Hathran and Reham Al-Baloushi, all featured at Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week in 2010, can be found at the store at Al Tilial. The company hopes to see these, as well as other young Kuwaiti designers, emerging soon onto other iconic fashion scenes including New York and Paris.
Inspired by classic Arabic style, designers at The People’s Factory, Kan Zaman, Baraka, and Maze turn out furniture and home décor novelties that have unrivaled chic and a contemporary vibe. The pieces add a touch of class and style to any home for any age, in a quirky welcome mat for a college dorm or a swanky living room set for a penthouse.
Proud to Be Kuwaiti
Many of the designers who form part of the community formerly cooperated with Proud to Be Kuwaiti. P2BK is a non-profit organization that coordinates and facilitates annual events for young designers and entrepreneurs to showcase their creations, and find potential investors. Its first event was held in 2008 and repeats every spring.
Many identify P2BK as a precursor to 52 Degrees, and while some designers still take part in P2BK events, they have found a permanent home and a wealth of benefits under the new domain. Management maintains that the complex at Al Tilal is not a “temporary window display,” but a jumping off point from which hard work and serious strategy will launch the Kuwaiti fashion industry onto the international market.
Many say that services offered by the store come as a blessing to struggling designers, who are grateful to avoid many of the startup costs that generally threaten young businesses.
Great quality and taste
While some Kuwaitis recognize that many locally manufactured products are in fact poorly made, the Quality Service department at 52 Degrees takes the topic very seriously. Everything sold there meets rigorous service and production standards. Returning customers know that everything from their desert at the Choowy Goowy café to their new jacket from Deer & Dear is well made.
The outstanding quality is reflected in tweets and blogs highlighting both the edible and non-edible, and the store has enjoyed positive reviews in trendy Kuwaiti publications such as Bazar and Khaleejesque magazines.
The store regularly hosts themed events that showcase the best of Kuwaiti talent and culture. Among the most popular are the Blue District nights, which take place every Tuesday. The store morphs into a nightclub filled with live music, blue lights, drinks and food, all inspired by the color blue.
An embodiment of Kuwaiti culture at its best, they also offer regular etiquette courses, lectures, and expositions including Graishna Mbachir, a Ramadan exhibition where several fashion and interior designers featured women’s kaftans, children’s Ramadan clothing, jewelry, perfumes, home accessories, and food in honor of Ramadan.
As 52 Degrees and its designers continue to seek inventive new ways to infiltrate the international marketplace, it is only a matter of time before their labels are sought worldwide.