The fashion designer Khalid Al Qasimi has died, it has been announced. He was the crown prince and second son of Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the ruler of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, where a three-day period of mourning has been decreed with flags ordered to fly at half-mast. Details surrounding the cause of death were not officially disclosed.
The designer, also known as Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, showed his spring/summer 2020 collection for his eponymous brand, Qasimi, on the London fashion week men’s showcase three weeks ago to critical acclaim. The 39-year-old designer was a graduate in architecture and fashion design from Central Saint Martins in London and presented his first collection, which was launched in collaboration with the designer Elliott James Frieze, in the capital in 2008.
The 39-year-old had forged a career for himself as a fashion designer. Clothes from his label, Qasimi, were shown at London Fashion Week.
Funeral prayers were held on Wednesday morning in the UAE, where three days of national mourning have been declared.
His father, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, has ruled Sharjah since 1972. He expressed his sorrow in an Instagram post on Tuesday, saying his son was “in the care of God”.
The President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, offered his condolences to Sheikh Sultan and his family.
In a statement, the fashion label Qasimi said the sheikh had died “unexpectedly” but did not provide further information.
Police said they had received a report of “a sudden death at a residential property in Knightsbridge”.
A post-mortem examination was carried out on Tuesday but proved inconclusive, and they were awaiting the result of further tests, the police statement added.
Qasimi said Sheikh Khalid had been “praised for his tenacious yet sensitive exploration of social-political issues, particularly those pertaining to the Middle East and its sometimes strained relationship with the West”.
According to the fashion label, he had studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins in London, and released his first collections in 2008.
Sheikh Khalid was also chairman of the Sharjah Urban Planning Council, which was tasked with overseeing infrastructure projects in the emirate.
A friend – who did not want to be named – said Sheikh Khalid studied at the Architectural Association and was “very talented, incredibly smart” and “incredibly passionate about human rights”.
“He loved life, very outgoing,” the friend added. “A very kind and generous person as well.
“He didn’t care too much about ego – he could have, but he didn’t.”
Several people have shared their grief at the news on social media, including fashion photographer Mariano Vivanco who called him “my angel”.
The Qasimis are one of six ruling families in the country, and rule both the Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah emirates.