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South Africa, Consumer
The thobe, a traditional robe-like garment worn by Arab men, is coming into modernity thanks to Lomar, a Saudi fashion house led by Loai Naseem. Fed up with the shapeless, uniform cloth he was required to wear for business and social occasions, Loai decided to apply his eye for design to create more trendy options for Arab men.
Loai is a native of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Unhappy with his business studies, he quit school after three years and began launching businesses with his father. In 1994 Loai travelled to the US to study graphic design at the Art Institute of Houston. He went on to work for advertising firms, and won several international awards for his designs.
By 2002, Loai was frustrated with the limited thobe options on the market. He designed a more fashionable thobe to fit his style, but no one would produce it. Finally in 2004, he received orders for the thobe, and launched Lomar in 2005. Many disapproved of Loai’s modern interpretation of the national dress. However, he believed that he had an attractive product for the Saudi market.
Lomar seeks to revolutionize the way men wear traditional Saudi clothing by focusing on comfort, utility, and modern designs. Further, it recently launched a “Ready Made” concept in Mecca. To engage clients, Lomar innovates with new designs every two months. Loai is a role model for other Saudi entrepreneurs who seek to break out of the traditional industries, pursue their passions, and develop innovative products and services.
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