Tuesday May 21st, 2024
Download the app

Jokes Aside, This Dubai-Based Label is all About Authenticity

Founded March 2023 by Ibrahim Abudyak, Jokes Aside is a visual story of inner journeys and a purveyor of maximalist streetwear.

Ziyad El-Helbawy

Jokes Aside, This Dubai-Based Label is all About Authenticity

"The only way to grow is to make mistakes." This sentiment from Ibrahim Abudyak, founder of Dubai-based streetwear label Jokes Aside, perfectly encapsulates the journey that led him to create his vibrant streetwear label. Growing up in a traditionally conservative Jordanian family with Palestinian origins, Ibrahim felt enormous pressure to succeed in the traditional sense, and be a role model for his siblings. "I had to be responsible. I was always number one - I didn't allow myself to make any mistakes," he tells SceneStyled. Abudyak internalised the need to adhere tightly to expectations, avoiding risks at all costs.

After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, Ibrahim's career took him to Abu Dhabi in 2010. There, immersed in the diversity of the UAE, he discovered new perspectives. While climbing the corporate ladder, he found fulfilment wanting. "I was succeeding in the traditional sense - until one day I walked in the office and was let go," Ibrahim recalls. This wake-up call paved the way for self-discovery. He realised he was unhappy, divorced, attended a life-changing personal growth workshop, and realised that "the only way to build a new happy life for myself was to let everything go."

Embracing the potential of failure, Ibrahim launched experimental businesses with his best friend. Their Smash Room venture allowed cathartic release through object destruction. It marked his evolving identity, no longer constrained by convention. As his worldview shifted radically, once close friends abandoned him, unable to understand this new path. "At some point you have to choose yourself above all else," Abudyak asserts. He emerged solitary but empowered, channelling creativity into visual self-expression through bold streetwear.

Launched in March 2023, Jokes Aside brings Ibrahim's exuberant personality to life. "I wanted to connect with real people like me, on an intersecting journey," he shares. As the label celebrates its first anniversary, its signature psychedelic, maximalist prints and Genderless Astronaut mascot broadcast a message of fun, adventure, and resilience through turbulence. "Have fun with life, live outside not just the box but the world," Abudyak says.

Drawing from his love of colourful statement sneakers and vintage styles, Ibrahim designed statement pieces that stood out among neutral urban fashion. "Most brands were playing it safe, but I wanted to say 'Screw it, I'm not blending in,'" he jokes. But it is the story of how the brand name came to him that is most serendipitous.

“One night I was out with a friend, he’d just come back from Bangkok, and he was telling me all kinds of crazy stories that happened, and he just said, ‘but jokes aside, I learned a thing or two from that trip.’ And so it just hit, Jokes Aside. That was it,” Abudyak shares.

A self-proclaimed maximalist, Abudyak had long rejected mainstream minimalism. In Jokes Aside’s Forever Young capsule, he paid tribute to his own childhood. “Part of the drop was an illustration called ‘A Student’.” The label’s second drop, the ‘What’s Next’ collection, hints at the label’s limitless potential, going beyond the label’s inaugural offerings with new silhouettes and designs.

Operating from Dubai, Jokes Aside works closely with local artisans and produces ethically within the UAE. Abudyak’s collections draw from his life experiences to spread empowering narratives of swimming through murky waters to rise to the sun-drenched shore. While not formally trained in fashion, Ibrahim's natural creativity and determination have taken the label from strength to strength within its first year.

Having overcome immense challenges to find inner peace and purpose, Ibrahim now helps others embrace life's unpredictable journeys through pieces with a purpose. Jokes Aside is his vibrant celebration of individuality, joy in ambiguity, and power of creative expression - even in darkness, humour lightens the path ahead. With global ambitions, this grassroots Dubai-based label is sure to keep spreading inspirational messages to many 'real people' in the years to come.


Be the first to know


The SceneNow App