E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB 
Summer/Fall 2020 
  1. Editor’s Note 
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi  
  5. Rapport: Dubai 
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora
    NYC Shirin Neshat In Conversation with Sophie Arni and Ev Zverev 
    PAR Hottest Spices: Michèle Lamy
    BER Slavs and Tatars: “Pulling a Thread to Undo The Sweater”
   AUH Abu Dhabi Is The New Calabasas
    DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists
   SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer
    AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 
    DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue
    DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020
    DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye
    DXB Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre
    DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus
    AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE
    TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ
    DXB Do You See Me How I See You?
    DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers
    AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh
    MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React

    UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community
    LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia
    DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear
    DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’
    DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi
    AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting
    AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations
    DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space
    LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism
    BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

E-Issues Info
    1. Mission
    2. Schedule

    3. Editorial Board
    4. Contributors
GAD Info ––
    1. About Global Art Daily
    2. Archive

GAD Talk Series ––
    1. What is GAD? 2015 to Now

    2. Where is GAD? An Open Coversation on Migration as Art Practitioners

    3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on the 2020 Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover
   4. Young Curators in Tokyo: The Making of The 5th Floor
    5. How To Create Digital Networks in The Art World?

Open Call ––

Main website ︎


Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’

Interview by Global Art Daily’s Editorial Board

Published on September 4, 2020

        We had the pleasure to talk about sneaker culture and photography with Tamila Kochkarova, founder of the new Dubai-based streetwear and sneaker platform No Boys Allowed. Tamila is originally from Uzbekistan and grew up in the UAE. In 2018, she photographed many of the region’s models, influencers, and artists for her Girls exhibition, premiering at Selectshop Frame, Dubai Design District. Last year, she also made headlines for her nostalgia-themed wedding. Guests were asked to follow a “formal-wear + strictly sneakers” dress code, a bold request in a land of hyper-feminine high heels.

During a lecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Virgil Abloh asked whether streetwear was a new movement of contemporary art. Considering the massive cross-overs between high fashion, sneaker culture, and the art world, it’s impossible to deny the importance of streetwear in shaping new taste for contemporary art. 

In the midst of this movement, Tamila is a pioneer. As a woman in a male-dominated industry and an Uzbek community leader in the Dubai, she represents a new wave of gender and geographic inclusion of streetwear and sneaker culture. We were curious to know about her intents with No Boys Allowed, and what her favorite sneaker is at the moment.

1. Tamila Kochkarova in her Dubai home, 2020. Photo: @kochkarovatamila

Global Art Daily: Tamila, you are a trend-setter, art director, and sneaker collector who is redefining Dubai's 'cool girl' aesthetic. Could you tell us a little more about yourself? 

Tamila Kochkarova: I’m a portrait photographer and a very passionate sneaker collector. I’ve put out a book and a couple of exhibitions dedicated to women, so it only made sense for me to start a platform for female sneakerheads in the Arab World. I felt lost without a community of girls that were into sneakers and streetwear, so I decided to try and build one.

2. Tamila Kochkarova, Girls (2018). Limited-edition artist book printed in Dubai and premiering at Selectshop Frame, Dubai Design District. Photo: @kochkarovatamila

3. Tamila Kochkarova for No Boys Allowed, 2020. Courtesy of No Boys Allowed and @kochkarovatamila

I felt lost without a community of girls that were into sneakers and streetwear, so I decided to try and build one.

4. Tamila Kochkarova’s wavy henna by @dr.azra. Courtesy of Instagram @kochkarovatamila

GAD: At Global Art Daily, we value multicultural identity. Can you tell us more about your Uzbek background and how you identify Dubai as a fertile ground for cross-cultural dialogues?

T.K.: I’ve lived in the UAE for 16 years which is why I barely remember anything about my culture. Whatever I do remember, I learned from my mother. Growing up here has been a blessing though; learning and understanding everyone’s cultures, everyone’s stories. It’s just a mix of so many different cultures blended into one at this point. Growing up in the fashion and art scene in the UAE, you realize how fresh and new it all is to this country. It makes you believe that anyone can be the first to do it. That’s why giving it a shot ends up being not as scary as you would otherwise think.

Growing up in the fashion and art scene in the UAE, you realize how fresh and new it all is to this country. It makes you believe that anyone can be the first to do it.

5. Tamila Kochkarova’s extensive sneaker collection. Courtesy of Instagram @kochkarovatamila

GAD: Your personal Instagram lets us in your sneaker collection, and we want to know more. When did you start collecting sneakers?

T.K.: When I was about 13 years old, I turned into a tomboy and started hanging out with skateboarders. It seemed impossible for me not to own a pair of sneakers by that point, so I begged my mom to get me a pair, which were just a plain, bulky, black pair of DCs that I was obsessed with. Throughout my life though, I could barely afford any exclusive pairs. That’s why I only started properly collection after I met my husband who’s as passionate about all this as me. If you ask me what’s my favorite pair at the moment, I’ll probably say my black Stüssy x Nikes. I’m in love with the design, the comfort, how easy it is to just slip into them. It was love at first sight.

It was love at first sight.

6. Tamila Kochkarova’s favorite pair Stüssy x Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 Pure Platinum. Courtesy of Instagram @kochkarovatamila

GAD: You are the creator behind No Boys Allowed (NBA), a sneaker and streetwear platform dedicated to women in the Arab world. Could you tell us about how you started this project, and what's coming up? 

T.K.: I’ve been feeling lost without having a community of female sneakerheads I could be a part of. I was friends with a couple of other girls, but I always believed there were more out there. So I thought of how great it would be to build something for girls based in this region as well as the ones that are from this region but based elsewhere. So far, we’ve been curating editorials for every sneaker drop, recording interviews with fellow female sneakerheads, and keeping girls up to date with the latest drops. We can’t wait to show you everything we’ve been working on!

7. Courtesy of Instagram @noboysallowed.ae

GAD: What are your views on modest fashion and sneaker culture? We read in one of your Q&As that you like seeing girls in Dubai wearing sneakers with their abayas

T.K.: I think both go hand in hand in this region. Especially in the past couple of years, it turned into a trend amongst the girls here to wear their abayas and even match them with the sneakers they’re wearing. I’m honestly obsessed. Comfort over everything.

GAD: Do you think the trend towards gender-neutral clothing is breaking away the traditional classification of "menswear" and "womenswear", and developing new collaborations between brands and product categories?

T.K.: I’m loving how more gender-fluid every brand has become. It doesn’t really matter anymore whether a certain piece is for men or women, as long as you can pull it off. The Supreme x Pat McGraf lipsticks and Nike x Ben & Jerry's collaborations have been so exciting and fresh and kept us on our toes during this extremely dull year.

8. Tamila Kochkarova’s outfit for 2019’s Fashion Forward Dubai. Outfit: @insomnia.icreatestuff and Nike Air x Martine Rose Monarch IV Pink Sneakers. Courtesy of Instagram @kochkarovatamila

GAD: As we think to shop consciously and ethically, we wanted to get your thoughts about streetwear popularity and sustainability. Do you think second-hand resell sites like StockX and Depop can help to slow down excessive production and consumption? 

T.K.: Definitely, I mean I’m being really hopeful they do. That’s why I’m so glad I have friends starting their online thrift shops. They have the nicest pieces, and all of it is very sustainable and local. These are some of my favorites: @reebornvintage, @bywesaved and @dintage.

GAD: We’re also very curious about your photography. In 2018, you organized an exhibition of your photographs titled Girls at Selectshop Frame, D3. Which women inspire you the most in Dubai's creative scene?

T.K.: I’m inspired by one of my closest friends DJ Liutik. I love coming together and creating things with her. Hafsa Lodi, an incredible writer who recently published a book about Modest Fashion, is another big muse of mine. And then, definitely my mom. Everything, every project I’ve ever done, was inspired by and dedicated to her.

Another big muse of mine is my mom. Everything, every project I’ve ever done, was inspired by and dedicated to her.

9. Tamila Kochkarova, Girls (2018). Copyright Tamila Kochkarova. Photographs courtesy of the artist. 
Models: DJ Liutik @djliutik, Ashley Al Busmait @themirageedit, Sonya @s.o.n.y.a.official, Rihab @riinubi, Julz @masjetyjulz, Farah Habboush @touchoffarah

Follow Tamila Kochkarova at @kochkarovatamila
Follow No Boys Allowed at @noboysallowed.ae

All images are courtesy of Tamila Kochkarova.