The Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) organised a first-of-its-kind exhibition on a clothing style that has acquired a steady base of followers in almost every country on the planet – streetwear.

Titled ‘Wear The Right Thing’, the exhibition is open to the public until 23 October at The Gallery, VCUarts Qatar in Education City.

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Visitors to the exhibition will be able to view designs by famous streetwear designers including the luxury fashion chain Balenciaga, as well as items contributed by private collectors from around the world.

‘Wear The Right Thing’ also features photographs and videos by world-renowned streetwear photographers and filmmakers such as Jamel Shabazz from the US, and Mohamed Bourouissa and Sara Sadik from France, on display. This is the first time that the works of the three artists are simultaneously exhibited in one venue.

Wear The Right Thing

According to VCUarts Qatar Exhibitions and Lectures Manager Isabelle St Louis, Wear The Right Thing offers streetwear fans in Qatar an opportunity to view designs from luxury brands, as well as those contributed by private individuals.

VCUarts Qatar Wear The Right Thing 2The exhibition, she said, captures the streetwears’ quest for identity. For instance, the streetwear photographs by Shabazz, Bourouissa and Sadik embrace the humbler attitude and vulnerability that she said, we all have in front of a lens, and in certain moments of our lives.

VCUarts Qatar Wear The Right Thing 1The allure of streetwear lies in its universality. Irrespective of gender, age or social standing, streetwear – the collective name commonly used to refer to clothing and accessories such as jeans, hoodies, t-shirts, sneakers and caps – is popular among celebrities and the general public alike for the level of comfort and functionality it provides the wearer.

Streetwear is also a popular symbol of youth culture due to its association with music styles such as Hip Hop and Rap, with sports like surfing, skateboarding and basketball, and as the preferred style of office wear for most Silicon Valley IT employees. The fashion style has also come to be linked to university life, with most institutes of higher education using their branding across streetwear items such as hoodies, caps, sneakers, scarves and t-shirts.

Streetwear and street photography

Street photography played a very important role in documenting new trends in streetwear. The visual works of Shabazz, Bourouissa and Sadik captured the universal appeal of streetwear from different parts of the globe.

With multiple successful publications to his name, Shabazz’s work has been acquired by leading institutions in the US such as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. Shabazz is currently represented by the Galerie Bene Taschen in Germany.

Bourouissa’s work has been exhibited in France, Europe and the US. He was a nominee of the Marcel Duchamp Prize and was also selected for the Prix Pictet Photography Prize. His works belong to leading collections, including that of the LACMA in Los Angeles, the Centre Pompidou, and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Sadik, meanwhile, completed her MFA from Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, France. Her photography has been shown at Frac PACA in Marseille, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Karma International in Zurich, Art Athina Fair in Athens, and MoMA Warsaw for Open’er Festival in Gdynia, Poland.

The exhibition is curated by Julie Boukobza and Ali Khan. Boukobza is a curator and art critic based in Paris and Arles, in charge of the LUMA Arles Residency Program. She has curated and co-curated shows and exhibitions in Paris, Milan and Belgrade to name a few. Khan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fashion Design at VCUarts Qatar.

The exhibition is organised with assistance from the French Embassy in Qatar. Visit for updates and more information about the exhibition. 

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