TODAY’S DAY AND AGE COUTURE
BY ANAAM IKRAM
Afternoons spent watching cartoons such as Grendizer, eating Gold ice cream, and enjoying Vimto throughout the entire month of Ramadan, are only some of the memories almost every person in the Kingdom grew up with. Whether you were an Arabic language speaker or not, popular cartoons Adnan wa Lina, Captain Majid, and Grendizer were watched by every child regularly in the days gone by. In today’s more technologically advanced lifestyle, there are still those who are nostalgic about their pasts and attempt to keep those memories alive. The designers at Day N’ Age have found a stylish way to resurrect those sentiments, as well as creating something with references to modern-day behaviour. Designing shirts, which feature images that represent precious moments of the past and present, Munther Buhindi and Abdulla Safa are, bringing back the trends of the past.
Growing up in Bahrain, both Munther and Abdulla realised the similarities between their upbringings. From connecting over sports like football and wrestling, to having similar interests and activities as children, both Munther and Abdulla soon realised that they most likely also share the same experiences with many in the Kingdom who grew up here during the 80s and 90s. An idea that stemmed from reminiscing about their past soon turned into the creative venture of their t-shirt business, Day N’ Age. “We saw an advertisement for an ice cream on the television one day while we were at Abdulla’s place,” Munther explains of how Day N’ Age came about, “and then I asked him if he ever ate Gold’s ice cream and he said he had and we thought it would be an interesting idea to put that on a shirt with the slogan, ‘Old is Gold’ and from then the idea for this business took off!”. The befitting name for the business, Abdulla explains, also came about without planning, as while they were searching for names, Munther’s catch phrase, “in today’s day and age” came up in conversation and they decided the name could not be more suitable for their concept. Coming up with multiple shirt ideas, each of which would represent a different element of their upbringing as well as prominent traditional accents from the Bahraini culture and present-day trends or happenings seen commonly in the Kingdom. This translated into tshirts representing things intrinsic to their culture as well as childhoods such as Harees and biryani, drinking gahwah (Arabic coffee), hot sauce from the company Crystal, or the perfect snack for anytime, OK Chips from the nearest cold store. Day N’ Age, which offers consumers essentially a walk down memory lane, was thus created in 2012.
Initially starting off with 5 shirt designs: ‘Old is Gold’, ‘Chicken Nugget’ (in reference to the private-school students), ‘Sunglasses Indoors’, ‘Smokey Mountain’ (a direct translation of the name of the mountain Jebel Dekhaan located in Saakhir, Bahrain), and ‘The City Centre Guy’, Munther and Abdulla attracted many in their first ever participation in Block338’s The Nest in 2012. Following which they participated in many exhibitions, which allowed them to connect with many who could relate to their shirts and the humour behind them. Since their participation in exhibitions around Bahrain, they have found a home within the Al Riwaq Art Space, after having been approached by owner Bayan Kanoo, whose appreciation for their art form has made her a fan and who continues to work with them.
Each design, they explain, has significance and an explanation behind its relevance and their decision to create it. “We started this with no expectations, we wanted to do this and instead of wondering ‘what if’, we went for it”, Abdulla says; and their decision brought attention to a part of life that was once forgotten with passing time.
• Lady Gahwah: a combination of famous singer Lady Gaga’s name and Bahraini tradition of drinking gahwah or Arabic Coffee
• Abaya Road: part of the Abaya collection, this shirt was designed by taking inspiration from Beatles’ Abbey Road image, the shirt features four women crossing the roads in the traditional Abaya.
• Have A Sense of Hammour: making a pun on Bahrain’s love for fish
• Captain Majid: part of the “Vintage Cartoons” collection, along with Grendizer and Adnan wa Lina, these shirts are an homage to children’s favourite pastime
• Machboos: using the McDonalds logo and combining it with one of Bahrain’s traditional dishes. Part of the food collection, this shirt also has “Harees” with the Hardees logo, “Crystal Clear” using the Crystal Hot Sauce bottle, “Biryani King” inspired from the Burger King design, and “I am OK” with the OK Chips packet design
• HAYLHTT: jokingly picking on the culture of abbreviating phrases, the creators came up with an abbreviation of their own for “how about you learn how to text”
Munther and Abdulla say they never saw setting up their business as a challenge as it was something they did with a very relaxed approach, and Abdulla adds “it’s more fun than work”. Their creative process involved brainstorming sessions every so often, and Abdulla adds that the best ideas strike them without even thinking about it. “There is a notion that the fashion industry in Bahrain is associated with girls, and we are trying to break that barrier. We are trying to make it as designers but with our sense of humour and our way of thinking”, Munther says. On occasion, they note, they do have to be aware of not upsetting people with their designs. Working with a designer to create the shirts, Day N’ Age also has designs that pay homage to Bahrain, legendary figures, reference to movies, and commonly heard Bahraini phrases, along with their humorous designs – something that will resonate with everyone in the Kingdom. Further diversifying, the brand has also started working on hats, children’s clothing such as small shirts and onesies, as well as printing designs on phone covers, and even has a specific v-neck cut for the girls’ shirts that they can select from their website.
For the most part, they add, people in Bahrain and even abroad, have always responded positively to their shirts, with celebrity Michelle Rodriguez (of the Fast and Furious series) even seen in one of their shirts. “For us, it’s more than about how many designs we can sell, its more joyous for us when we see other people wearing our shirts.” Munther and Abdulla add that their shirts may not necessarily attract every member of society, however, they would appeal to most.
“We experience it. We produce it. You wear it.” Whether it is reminiscing about the olden days of the 90’s, jokingly looking at the modern culture of Bahrain, or paying tribute to the Kingdom and the elements that have contributed to its social and cultural fabric, Day N’ Age’s products will strike a chord with everyone who comes across them.
For more information:
(00973) 39456761 / 39320650
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