The Creatives of the UAE: 5 people living and hustling in the creative scene

As part of The Huntr’s larger #ThePeopleOfTheUAE storytelling series, this month we bring 5 fresh faces who all share one common theme: They are creative hustlers. Meet our special segment: #TheCreativesOfTheUAE.

In the last five years or so, Dubai and the UAE’s cultural and creative scene has changed and grown at a staggering rate. There are now more art galleries, independent businesses, niche hangout spots, micro-influencers, movements and content creators offering something unique, than ever before. Which means that if you dig quirky, out-of-the-box experiences and ideas, it’s one of the most exciting places to be on the planet… Sure we aren’t quite stacking up to the likes of London and NYC just yet, but it’s the undersaturation and the beginning of a new era that’s so thrilling. In short: There’s a lot of creative cake on offer here – if you want to eat it.

Agree? Then join us as we spotlight the stories, insider tips and favourite gems of 5 creative hustlers living and working in the UAE and prepare to get inspired…

The Creatives of the UAE: 5 people living and hustling in the creative scene

Akira Kyle Micu, Filmmaker

Akira Kyle, the moniker he goes by, is an 18-year-old freelance filmmaker and creative director. Born in the Philippines and raised in Dubai, he says “I’ve been here, pretty much all my life. I’ve seen the city grow.”

He takes a lot of inspiration from Nowness and the various other creative platforms online, “I try to emulate it and add a few touches, in order for it to be called my own.” Inspired by the fast-paced nature of the city, Akira develops his creativity and personal growth by “staying true to my own roots, adjusting with the times, sticking to my own own style, and keep creating.” For him, being a creative means “self-expression because it’s very liberating. It’s an escape.

He speaks fondly of his filmmaking heroes and inspirations, his top three are “David Ayer, Quentin Tarantino, and Wes Anderson,” he’d also love to have dinner with “Tupac, Chris Paul, and Virgil Abloh.”

You can usually find Akira hanging around the Dubai Design District (d3) – he likes to get coffee from General 3am, Starbucks, and Frame. When eating out, he likes to explore the cafeterias in Satwa or Deira, otherwise, he picks up food from fast-food chains as his go-to. For leisure, he plays basketball: “The best place to play, in my opinion, is in JBR but most people would say Satwa or the hard streets, but I’m not into that.

Find Akira on Instagram @akira.kyle

The Creatives of the UAE: 5 people living and hustling in the creative scene

Dee Mohamud, Content Creator

Dee Mohamud is a Somali model, content creator, and YouTuber. Gracing fashion events with her unique style and actively posting collaborations, outfits, beauty looks on her Instagram, Dee aims to stand out from the crowd.

Born and raised in Dubai, she treats the city as her playground. On the daily, Dee manages a few brands’ social media accounts. Her love for creating content “Initially started with my love for fashion, so I would research inspiration and ideas from magazines and Instagram and eventually make my own.

The internet, as we know, offers a plethora of inspiration and this Instagram-savvy millennial’s creative ideas are “inspired by the creatives in London, Japan, and Europe. And then I add my own Afro-Arab flavour.” Through Instagram, Dee met her first client. Their collaboration then sparked many other opportunities, which led to her quitting her corporate job as a social media manager.

Being a creative means stepping out of the box and standing for something. You cannot just create pretty things, you have to send out a message and be passionate about it.” The greatest advice that Dee would give to her fellow creatives is: “don’t be hard on yourself.

As a freelancer, she likes working from Le Pain Quotidien — where she orders breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For more casual lunches, she goes to Operation Falafel. During her down time, she goes to the beach to disconnect and detach from social media.

Find Dee on Instagram @deemohamud

The Creatives of the UAE: 5 people living and hustling in the creative scene

Gweys Soriano, Fashion Stylist

Gweys Soriano is a Filipina, a mother, and a self-proclaimed “crazy fashion stylist.

Prior to living in Dubai, she was based in the U.S. while working as a port shopping ambassador. “I used to travel to different countries to look for pieces for guests.” It has been four years since she arrived in the Emirate and her first job was a personal assistant to an owner of a company. “I hate doing administrative tasks, but I took it because it was a high-paying job.

Gweys is currently working at The Dubai Mall’s newly-opened Fashion Avenue extension as a personal fashion stylist. Her day-job entails shopping and advising clients about style and brands. Outside Fashion Avenue, Gweys is a founding member of an all-Filipino styling team called “The Style Curators,” wherein they style celebrities, commercials, editorials, and fashion shows. She is also often seen at many fashion events clad in vintage pieces she’s sourced while travelling abroad. “I like my personal style to be unique, thus I always find time to go to vintage stores when I’m traveling.

Gweys says that “there is always something new happening in Dubai and that’s what I like the most.” When it comes to the fashion scene here, she said: “At first I noticed that people here are brand conscious and that they like showing off luxury brands. But, over time I have noticed that people have become less afraid to try pieces and designers that are not available at the mall.

Gweys doesn’t have a favourite coffee shop because she likes making her own brew. However, she loves having lunch at the newly-opened Filipino franchise, Pancake House. For dinner, GIA Ristorante is her favourite. She prefers to hang out at home, but when she goes out to relax and spend time with the family, they make excursions to Kite Beach.

Find Gweys on Instagram @gweyssoriano

The Creatives of the UAE: 5 people living and hustling in the creative scene

Hasoon, Fashion Designer

Fashion designer Hasoon’s most recent exhibition was held under the wing of General 3am, its founder Rami Farook and Satellite. It encompassed an array of fashion items with no influence from trends – Hasoon isn’t a fan of trends. But he is inspired by “finding art between fashion and deconstruction.

The inspiration traced back to a conversation with a friend, who told him that: “deconstruction is art itself, so you don’t have to show only your clothes.

Pakistani Hasoon has only visited Pakistan “once, seven years ago.” His family came to Dubai 50 years ago: “My dad tried to find work in a garage, and then eventually he opened his own garage.” The family settled in and he is now accustomed to calling Dubai his home.

It’s been a year and a half since he started designing clothes, which he sells on Instagram and at General 3am in d3. Some days, he does freelance “promotion and stuff.” And in the long run, he dreams of going to university and studying fashion design.

Find Hasoon on Instagram @itsmehasoon

The Creatives of the UAE: 5 people living and hustling in the creative scene

Moylin Yuan, Artist and Graphic Designer

Moylin Yuan

Moylin Yuan actually “dislikes the word creative. It brings up the visual trope of a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat…” and she doesn’t resonate with being a pioneer either because “it feels very Mt. Everest like, and I haven’t done anything like that.” However, she does relish in doing creative things such as “design, art direct, illustrate, eat, dream, modular origami, knit, shoot stock photos, photo edit, nail art …and I am getting used to publishing poetry.” She’s been told by her teachers that “she sticks her fingers in too many pies.

Moylin was “born a free baby in Dubai,” and has been living in the city all her life. She doesn’t really go anywhere specific for inspiration: “If I feel a block coming on, I switch projects or change the music or go for an aimless walk around. Or water my recently acquired plants.

Moylin has been working as a graphic designer and art editor for Brownbook Magazine for the last 4 years. She also has various personal projects and participates in different art-related establishments in the city, such as Art Dubai.

When asked who she admires the most, she said she has massive respect for her parents “who are always juggling, with no end in sight.” They always told her to “never assume – golden life-saving advice.

Find Moylin on Instagram @thisismoy

The Creatives of the UAE: 5 people living and hustling in the creative scene

Romina Chiara Torres, Digital Marketer and Fashion Entrepreneur

Born and raised in Australia, Romina found herself moving to Dubai half a decade ago, after working on music and other creative pursuits in the UK. She travelled to the UAE to work as a digital marketer: “I’m a marketer at heart that just loves music, fashion, and culture.”

A year ago, during a mundane day at work, she found herself “looking for a shirt to buy at a decent price, but I couldn’t find anything. I was pretty much broke and I’m like: ‘That’s it! I’m going to create my own brand and it’s going to be affordable and cool.’” And what started with a simple thought grew to become Romina’s latest passion project.

Named ‘Broke Club Official‘, Romina’s first collection features streetwear staples such as caps, hoodies, shirts, and windbreakers, aptly titled and dedicated to the “Grindin’ Class,” which are available at General 3am in d3 and have been featured in various publications. Romina is now working on the release of BCO’s second collection, which is inspired by her childhood memories.

Romina works in d3 and finds comfort in rotating favourites such as “having coffee at General 3am and then pizza for lunch at Akiba Dori,” but she prefers to stay at home during the weekends.

When asked what being a creative in a city like Dubai is like, she replied: “I have been given a lot of opportunities in this city, and if I was in another place it would be tougher.” However, Romina also believes that having a day job helps the creatives with funding their projects and advises: “if you’re not rich, you definitely need a day job. It makes it worthwhile and meaningful in the long run – because you’re working for it and you reap the benefits for yourself.

Find Romina on Instagram @rominathefirst

Photography and interviews by Augustine Paredes exclusively for The Huntr