Home Life Style Dubai: A homegrown brand fostering unity to express solidarity with Palestine.

Dubai: A homegrown brand fostering unity to express solidarity with Palestine.

James Hamilton and Jeetu Balani discuss the impact of their distinctive philanthropic initiative, featuring Keffiyeh shirts adorned with watermelon motifs, in uniting individuals to express solidarity for the Palestinian cause.

by Soofiya

Inspired by a casual conversation between a father and his daughter, CPTN shirts emerged as a family project during the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Originating as a small venture by James Hamilton, a New Zealander residing in Dubai, the brand initially featured vibrant and carefree shirts, also known as ‘Happy’ shirts. These shirts, characterized by bold colors and striking prints, were crafted from fabrics sourced from local markets in the UAE.

In 2021, a transformative encounter with Jeetu Balani, the owner of DIA textiles in Dubai, led to a fruitful partnership that propelled the brand beyond its Hawaiian shirt-inspired origins. The collaboration resulted in a distinctive ‘Dubaiian’ identity, blending color, style, and premium fabrics.

The Concept of ‘Dubaiian’ Jeetu Balani, an Indian expat born and raised in Dubai, explains the genesis of the term ‘Dubaiian’: “The concept of Dubaiian emerged because globally, everyone tends to label these shirts as Hawaiian. People look at it and automatically say, ‘Oh, it’s a Hawaiian shirt’. We wanted to challenge that perception. We wanted individuals, when they visited Dubai, to proudly say, ‘I bought this in Dubai.’”

Located in the textile souk of Bur Dubai under DIA Textiles, the brand has a concept kiosk at Time Square Centre, specializing in customizing clothing, retailing fabrics, and showcasing their signature ‘Dubaiian’ shirts at various spots across the city.

From a Pandemic Side Hustle to a Unifying Force Initially conceived as a feel-good side project during the pandemic, CPTN shirts have evolved into a powerful force uniting people of different nationalities in solidarity against human suffering. Recently, the co-owners introduced a unique ‘Keffiyeh Watermelon Shirt’ in support of Palestine, gaining popularity both in the country and abroad.

The Design for Palestine The idea for the ‘Keffiyeh Watermelon Shirt’ originated from a chance encounter with a gentleman expressing a desire to support Palestine. The watermelon symbol, associated with solidarity for Palestine, has garnered attention on social media, with influential figures like Helen Farmer and Alanoud Badr donning CPTN shirts in support of the cause.

Charitable Contributions For every shirt sold at Dh250, CPTN shirts contribute Dh100 to charities supporting those affected by the Gaza conflict, including Tarahum for Gaza and the Palestinian Children’s Refugee Fund. The co-owners emphasize transparency in their charitable contributions, conducting the operation exclusively online to ensure direct segregation of funds and providing updates on social media.

Growing Demand and Global Unity The co-owners have received overwhelming orders for the shirts, not only from the UAE but also internationally. The cause of supporting Palestine has united people from various ethnicities in Dubai and garnered orders from the US, reflecting the power of clothing as a language of solidarity.

Clothing as a Language Fashion, as a dynamic form of self-expression, allows individuals to convey their identity, values, and emotions through clothing. In times of crisis, clothing becomes a powerful medium for expressing silent struggles and communicating shared beliefs. CPTN shirts, beyond their aesthetic appeal, serve as a tangible expression of solidarity and support, uniting people from diverse backgrounds in a common cause.

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