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New t-shirt company wants your art

ursom.com wants your designs — and will pay you for it

By Yusra Farzan, Staff Reporter
February 9, 2013
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Another t-shirt company is launching in Dubai. But entrepreneur Luma Makhlouf, co-founder of Ursom.com, which goes live tomorrow, says her new e-commerce platform is unique in that it will bring budding and established artists in the region together, and share the spoils.

“The t-shirt is your everyday article of clothing; it’s something that people from the ages of two to 70 wear. It’s a canvas to express yourself — something that’s casual, comfortable and we believe there is a lack of design in the market,” says Makhlouf.

“We wanted to create something that would elevate a simple garment to a different level. For us, that was by using it as a canvas for art, especially art that represents our region.”

This is how it works: designers submit entries via its website. Those entries are then judged by the Urban Design Committee, a body made up of art and design connoisseurs, who decide which designs make it on a t-shirt. Designers selected get 30 per cent of revenue every time their designs are sold.

Artwork most likely to be selected are those with an emphasis on the Middle East and its regional influences, adds Makhlouf, who says more than 110 designers have submitted about 320 designs ever since the idea for the website was floated.

“A friend introduced me to a couple of guys who had some business ideas. One of them was a spin off on this t-shirt design company in the US. They pitched it to me. I loved it and all of a sudden all these eyes came to my head and that’s where I came up with the direction Ursom has taken,” Makhlouf explains.

So will a 13-year-old girl sitting at home doodling be able to send in her art?

“Of course,” says Makhlouf said. “Through the project we have discovered some hidden gems in our community. Everyone can be an artist.”

* ursom.com launches on February 11. The party starts at 7pm at the MAKE Business Bub at Dubai Marina and is open to all. The dress code: t-shirts of course.

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