By Kate Hazell

The brains behind SOLE DXB, Joshua Cox and Hussain Moloobhoy, are enriching the city's urban scene with their latest movement.

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29-year-old Australian Joshua Cox and 34-year-old Brit Hussain Moloobhoy are two of the region's committed trailblazers. If you haven't already heard of them, they are the men behind SOLE DXB, a trade fair for urban streetwear names that will take place at the Dubai Design District (or D3 to those already in the know), November 14 and 15. The two-day event (the first of its kind in Dubai) allows visitors to engage with fashion, music, art and other influences of alternative culture (Dubai is not just all towering skyscrapers and fancy hotels). We sit down with the boys and discuss the city’s cool movement, as they set to change the face of the region's cultural scene.


Why did you decide to launch Sole DXB?


Hussain: We felt that there was a need for a platform to celebrate the urban lifestyle culture that we identify with. We were frustrated with the lack of place for regionally for likeminded people to gather and express and be a support to the culture we are trying to create.


What are you most excited about for the event?


Joshua: There is no one thing. We have tried to curate an overall experience for people. The venue, the new Dubai Design District itself is a unique build, but if I had to choose I'd say I'm most excited about the basketball tournament we’re doing with Gatorade. It's an element of culture I've wanted to explore for a long time.


What is your biggest ambition (for your work) in the city?


Joshua: I think creating a successful event in terms of building the culture, so not just the two days but for it to have a catalyst effect by inspiring people, brands and the industry to really push boundaries. I'd love to see our ‘Sole' live in a more permanent form but we're working on that.


What has Sole DXB brought to the region?


Hussain: That's something we'd have to ask the people involved. We like to think we're creating a platform for them to use and that we're doing a good job supporting the local artists and designers. I think we're also contributing to the industry by pushing to do things bigger and better each year. For example this year Pepsi is the main patron of a massive art installation and they see value in supporting art and culture. That's a step in the right direction.


How does being in the ME affect your work?


Joshua: I think the region has enough naysayers and not enough doers and that's really what makes Sole work – we keep pushing and rolling with the punches. The positive side is we have a lot of support. The community is really behind us and we're all getting to be part of something that's shaping our city.


How does Dubai the city inspire what you do?


Hussain: It's the core of what we're doing – we believe in this city and want to help it reach its fullest potential.


How do you like to spend your time?


Hussain: We hang out pretty much anywhere – a corner cafeteria one day for a meal, it could be a high end restaurant the next, hanging with friends at beaches, BBQ at home by the pool, desert trips… We're really spoilt here and the options are endless. I think what we like to do is surround ourselves with good people, work hard and play hard.


Where do you like to shop? Any hidden secrets we should know about?


Joshua: I honestly don't shop a lot but I have grown up here and being part of this industry means I know where to go and I'm not sharing that [laughs]. We're actually launching our own concept space at Sole DXB which means I get first pick of pretty much any brand, but I think people will like what we have at the event and whether it's from our space or the Level Shoe District, or any of our participants, people can pick up something they don't usually get in this part of the world. That's the whole point of Sole DXB.


What's the last thing you bought?


Joshua: A glass shoe box we had designed for the event. We're showcasing a special collaboration we’re doing with G-Shock and a homegrown streetwear label called Amongst Few.


Tell us three hidden secrets/places about the city that we might not know?


Joshua: It's not hidden or secret but go to Al Mallah on 2nd December St and order a cheese with chicken (it's not on the menu) and Shabby Melon to drink. It's the best combo ever – but if you're going out after ask them to go easy on the garlic.


Who else in the region is pushing street culture?


Hussain: There's the recently launched streetwear label Amongst Few we just mentioned, there's also Corcel which is a fixed gear bike collective who make really cool bikes. In terms of music there's Tiny, Moh Flow and of course The Recipe alongside a long list of local hip hop DJs we love – Brooklyn, Emtee Pockets, Megadon Betamax, all of who are pushing the culture and happen to be playing at our event luckily.


What's on your agenda for 2015? Anything new coming up we should look out for?


Hussain: There's a whole bunch of things we have coming up. We're always doing different things, events, popups, hangouts, shoots, etc. But I think the next year will be special. We have all the right pieces in place now and some exciting plans ahead. But you'll just have to wait and see…

Photography by Martin Beck for Esquire Middle East. Styling by Kate Hazell.