Ever since the Emir of Qatar placed a traditional black and gold Arabic cloak over the shoulders of Lionel Messi Sunday, after the coronation of Argentina against France in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2022Ahmed Al Salim’s store receives dozens of orders.
His family business, based in Doha’s popular Souq Waqif, made the ‘bisht’ Messi wore when he lifted the trophy on worldview, sparking a flurry of comments, with some wondering if the gesture was appropriate.
supplier to the royal family
Normally, the shop, which has long supplied the Qatari royal family, sells eight to ten garments a day. On Monday, sales soared to 150 copies, including three similar to the high-end coat worn by Messi, in cotton from Japan and German gold thread, worth nearly 2,000 euros.
“At one point, there were dozens of people waiting in front of the store. Almost all Argentines,” Al Salim told AFP, his eyes on eight supporters of the new world champions taking pictures of themselves dressed in a bisht, a copy of the trophy in the hands.
A steady stream of fans were still entering his shop on Tuesday, all hailing the Emir’s gesture. “We were all happy to see that, it was a gift from one king to another,” comments Mauricio Garcia, who came to try on the garment but was ultimately deterred by its price.
Some European commentators said the Qatari leader shouldn’t have covered Messi’s shirt for the trophy presentation but the gesture was hailed on Arab social media.
“Honor and Appreciate”
“When a sheikh dresses a person in a bisht (traditionally worn by men at weddings, graduations and official events in many Gulf countries, editor’s note), it means honoring and appreciating them”, explains Al Salem.
“From the point of view of communication, it will be very important because we know how these photos are kept and rebroadcast, notes for her part Carole Gomez, doctoral student in sociology of sport at the University of Lausanne. is what we will remember.”
Al Salim watched Argentina beat France in a café near his shop after handing the World Cup organizing committee two handmade coats, the measurements of the little Argentinian and French captain Hugo Lloris. “We didn’t know who they were for and I was stunned” seeing Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani covering Messi’s shoulders with it, he told AFP.
A week of making
The members of the World Cup organizing committee who placed an order with him “wanted the lightest and most transparent fabric possible. I was surprised because it is winter, so it seems to me that the goal was to let the Argentinian jersey and not to cover it”, adds the trader.
Employing around 60 tailors, Al Salim is the largest of around five bisht makers in Qatar.
It takes about a week to design each of its pieces, the fruit of a production in seven stages during which different workers embroider the collar and arms with gold thread.