“There is a great space for us to be present digitally. To complement the things we are doing, not replace them. And that part I don’t think will ever go away, because if we get it right, why would we not want to continue doing that?”
– Raj Malhotra, Partner, Sole
At the end of 2020, Rohma Theunissen caught up with Raj Malhotra, one of the four partners at Sole to talk about the evolution of events and brand experiences as a result of the pandemic, everything the Sole team has been working on, the digital space, where the Sole brand stands today on its 10-year anniversary and what we can expect from the brand moving forward. Note: As the UAE undergoes a second wave of the virus, this episode was recorded virtually to uphold social distancing practices.
About Raj Malhotra
Rajat moved to Dubai after having lived in Los Angeles, Kuwait, Italy, India, and New York. Having graduated from NYU in 2002, Rajat took a year-long sabbatical working on teaching at Project Renewal in NYC. In 2004, he moved to Dubai to establish a telecom and security business that grew to cover 11 countries from Vietnam to Algeria, of which he served as CEO MEA for 8 years. Rajat had also partnered with Sunny Rahbar, co-founder of the Third Line Gallery, on a collaborative project that had seen them host multiple curated exhibitions with NYC gallery, On Stellar Rays. In 2013, Rajat came on board as the fourth partner at Sole. More recently, Rajat built a private recording studio in Dubai, using it as a space for artists to collaborate.
Founded in 2010, Sole is a leading platform for connecting communities through creativity and culture. The grassroots organization has built a rapidly growing community through its annual Sole DXB cultural festival, which saw over 36,000 people from more than 60 countries attend the eight annual edition in December 2019. Sole operated a boutique creative agency and published an annual print magazine. The creative agency has worked with numerous global brands including Gucci, Burberry, Saint Laurent, Farfetch and Jordan Brand. Our latest initiative is sole.digital, a feature-focused, mixed media site dedicated to bringing you the best in culture, first. We work with our roster of global contributors to present the people and ideas that will shape the future of fashion, music, sports, and visual arts, and to engage our audience in conversations on social issues like race, sustainability, and our environment.