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Meet the Jordanian Designer Who Defies Cultural Customs

Meet the Jordanian Designer Who Defies Cultural Customs

Nafsika Skourti just isn’t afraid of creating a press release. Take, for instance, when the Jordanian designer created a set that was so controversial, her native customs division seized it. Or, when she designed her Fall/Winter 2018 assortment: It included denims and jackets embroidered with iconography from her personal cultural background—Petra, the Parthenon and The Dome of the Rock—and it ended up being acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in April, as a part of its Center East and North Africa assortment.


And although you could not have heard of it but, Skourti’s label is on the best way to turning into a brand new favourite within the class of rising designers. Consider the model’s aesthetic as younger and avant-garde, with no scarcity of printed, spliced denim, dramatic going out tops, reworked tailoring methods and suiting supplies with intentional rips, trendy patchwork, and loads of crystal chains. The designer herself describes her signature items as: “The ex-boyfriend collection, which is principally all of the tops with the uncovered corestry and the naughty trousers—a basic trouser with a gap on one leg.”

Skourti’s background can also be fairly unconventional. She started her profession by coaching in high fashion embroidery at École Lesage in Paris, labored at Marchesa in New York, after which determined to go on to Central Saint Martins in London the place she graduated in 2012. By 2014, she launched her personal line, with assist from her sister, Stephanie Skourti, a former Goldman Sachs worker, who now heads up the enterprise aspect of the style model. Much more spectacular, the 2 stay based mostly in Amman, Jordan, the place a thriving trend system is principally non-existent.

“Being a Jordan-based model has an incredible impact on the design, the inspiration, the manufacturing, even the imagery,” explains Skourti. “If I used to be based mostly in London, for instance, there isn’t any method I might have the gorgeous studio and atelier we have now right here, however then once more, if we have been based mostly in London, the entry to expertise can be a lot simpler. It typically seems like we’re on an island on their lonesome right here, we’re among the many few individuals in Jordan making an attempt to construct an business from scratch. So our presents and challenges are really our personal.”

Likewise, Skourti makes some extent of using native artisans in Amman to make her items. When the model first began, she introduced a workforce of specialists together with tailors and seamstresses from London to coach her newly employed workforce, lots of which had by no means labored within the business earlier than. “As our orders improve, and as our community of girls slowly graduates with their expertise, the connection turns into increasingly fruitful,” she says. “Apart from the methods, they’re studying the best way to talk professionally, arrive on time, negotiate, and better of all their confidence goes up.”

Together with that, pushing the boundaries in different methods has all the time been a part of the mission of the model. The theme for the model’s SS19 assortment, “Mushy Solely,” was drawn from digital queer life within the Arab world. A rainbow motif with inverted colours, referencing the homosexual satisfaction flag, was current within the assortment. And whereas it might not appear to be that huge of a deal in a time when main runways are dotted with designers making political statements, it was, actually, a revolutionary transfer for a trend model based mostly in Jordan, the place LGBTQ individuals displaying public affection can nonetheless be prosecuted.

“This assortment was stopped at customs whereas being shipped again from London to be display printed with bare male our bodies and textual content saying ‘mushy solely,’ a time period for homosexual intercourse within the Center East,” explains Skourti. “It was too controversial, however in actuality speaks to the ethos of the true millennial Center Japanese individual.”

For an additional assortment, Skourti explored escort tradition within the area and what capitalism does to intercourse, with sweatshirts printed with a thong icon that learn “money slave” on the entrance. And one of many label’s bestsellers known as the Jerusalem jacket, which contains a customized cotton jacquard of the Dome of the Rock within the again. “The truth that we do not do conservative, lengthy abayas, however do attractive little clothes, as an alternative, has been commented on.”

Past that, Jordan’s heritage and tradition have had one of many largest impacts on the model aesthetically, too—particularly the items the V&A acquired, which served to conceptually reply the query Skourti all the time will get requested: “The place are you from?”

“If myself or anybody from the group has the prospect to stroll you thru the items, it should really feel like a mini tradition lesson on Jordan,” says Skourti. “The glam aesthetic comes from the dressing-up tradition we have now. All of the bling comes from how a lot we love sparkle on this aspect of the world. The theme of id, nationality, of place, are central to the narrative of the model. I give it some thought when it comes to how Pimples actually embodies the values of a Scandinavian model, or how Isabel Marant exports French cool to the world.”

When it comes to what’s subsequent, the label simply obtained picked up by Harrods in London and is at present making an attempt to maintain up with the demand on Instagram, its largest platform of the second, the place the model typically has to have three individuals directly answering all of the totally different DMs they obtain. “I consider style could be artwork,” says Skourti. “It could prop you up whenever you’re in a weak place, it may be a dialog starter, a type of enlightenment, it can be probably the most superb taste of bullshit that reminds you to not take your self so significantly and simply places you in a temper.”

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