Taaboogah Infuses Comedy into Khaleeji Menswear
By Global Art Daily’s Editorial Board
Published on September 7, 2020
“We make jokes and we look good while doing it,” Taaboogah’s Instagram bio reads. With playful, stylish and laid-back photos and short skits, Taaboogah collective offer their alternative views of men’s fashion and idiosincrasy by way of comedy in Khaleeji Arabic. From all corners of the UAE and now based in Dubai, Younis, Hassan and Mo The Gaffer Guy started the channel this year and have surpassed ten thousand followers on Instagram. One post at a time, the creative trio aims at reinventing what male self-expression may look like in the UAE. Our Editorial Board had a Q&A with co-founder and video producer Mo The Gaffer Guy. Read it below.
Global Art Daily: Let's start with the name. What does "Taaboogah" mean? For our non-Arabic speakers, what does the name stand for?
Mo The Gaffer Guy: Our group’s name, Taaboogah, is actually the word in Khaleeji Arabic that we use to describe a cinderblock. At first glance, it might seem that this name was chosen at random but we picked Taaboogah specifically for many reasons. One reason would be that the name is easy to say in both Arabic and English. It also sounds kind of funny. But I would say that the most important reason we settled on the name is that it symbolizes our belief that we are the cinderblocks who will build a new culture of comedy alongside fashion one day.
GAD: From what we understand, Taaboogah is a new project aimed to bridge comedy with alternative Emirati fashion. What is your vision for the project?
M.T.G.G.: Our vision for the project is quite simple. We want to make people laugh, and also simultaneously showcase our shared love for both traditional and non-traditional fashion. At Taaboogah, we truly enjoy the process of creating content that we are passionate about and we hope that can we inspire the youth in the Arab world to follow their dreams and join us in commencing a new era of art and self-expression in the region.
We want to make people laugh, and also simultaneously showcase our shared love for both traditional and non-traditional fashion.
We aim to continue having both photography and short videos as part of our project because both art forms are crucial to our identity as people and as culture creators.
Images courtesy of Taaboogah. All rights reserved.
GAD: Your first photoshoot shows @wtyounis holding a brick as a telephone, and wearing the traditional kundura with some custom classic white Nike Air Force 1s. There are some ironic contrasts at play.
M.T.G.G.: Initially, we thought about this series of images would be just a preview to our launch but in reality, it turned out to be so much more. We realized that we had the absolute freedom to do whatever we wanted. Consequently, @wtyounis, Hassan, and I decided to touch upon topics that were relevant to us. As a group of fashionable Emirati comics, we experience the struggle of the cultural clash between our Middle Eastern and Western identities. Our idea was to manifest that clash through contrasting wardrobe.
We realized that we had the absolute freedom to do whatever we wanted.
Our idea was to manifest that clash through contrasting wardrobe.
GAD: How do you define "alternative Emirati fashion,” especially Emirati menswear? It's not a perspective we hear often from.
M.T.G.G.: Over the last decade, Emirati male fashion has been consistent with little to no change in design. Of course, that is mainly because it is the national dress and it is difficult to change. However, we have taken it upon ourselves to express our Emirati fashion sense by combining it with our distinct Western styles. That is where the word alternative comes into play. It’s all experimentation. For example, we would wear colored sneakers instead of sandals or tinted lenses instead of regular shades, and much more.
Over the last decade, Emirati male fashion has been consistent with little to no change in design.
GAD: What change are you hoping to see for the future of UAE's comedy and entertainment industries?
M.T.G.G.: The entertainment industry in the region is still at its infancy and we can’t see many who wish to take it to the next phase. We want this new culture to be easily accessible to all people to the point that it becomes a normal thing to go to a 35 dirhams comedy show on the weekend and see four sets of talented Arab comedians. We want to develop this industry so that the people who come after us could have a platform in which they can comfortably express themselves.
We want to develop this industry so that the people who come after us could have a platform in which they can comfortably express themselves.
GAD: What are some of the brands or designers Taaboogah would like to work with? What would be your dream collaborations?
M.T.G.G.: We would love to collaborate with the trendsetters of street fashion such as Nike, Adidas, Adidas Originals, Bape, Vans, and Supreme.
GAD: The Taaboogah team must a fan of streetwear and sneakers. Could you tell us about your favorite pair?
M.T.G.G.: Definitely the Yeezy 350!
GAD: Where can we follow you?
M.T.G.G.: @Taaboogah is on Instagram, follow us!
Taaboogah is an Emirati comedy and fashion collective established in 2020. The group was founded by Mo The Gaffer Guy, Hassan and Younis. Taaboogah’s productions intersect film production, humour, styling, and social commentary in light of traditional and non-traditional aesthetics among Emirati men.
Follow Taboogah on Instagram.