Fashion layout regularly operates, quite intentionally, at extremes: it either affords itself as absolutely apolitical or exists to make a declaration. Nour Hage, a Lebanese dressmaker who resides in London, treads a extra nuanced course, one with a robust social message. Inspired via the Arab way of life and focused on younger Arabs and South Asians who take pride in their roots, her designs appearance to traditional cuts and silhouettes, however, are realized in contemporary and versatile patterns.
Hage is unusual in different methods, too. She is an environmentalist who works in the world’s 2nd-most polluting industry. And even though she changed into officially educated in designing womenswear, she is one of the best younger Arab girl designers these days who has chosen to concentrate on planning for guys — a step she made lately.
A move into menswear
Two collections into her new role as a menswear designer, Hage, and her garments have already stuck the attention of several famous figures. Firas Abou Fakher, guitarist and keyboardist with Lebanese indie band Mashrou’ Leila, wore a bright blue abaya designed via Hage, at a concert in New York ultimate 12 months. And Riz Ahmed, an Emmy-winning British actor and activist of Pakistani descent, known for his refusal to comply to Hollywood stereotypes, wore two of Hage’s designs for a photoshoot with GQ mag in September.
It’s guys along with these – young, daring, socially and politically engaged – that Hage hoped to draw when she got down to rejoice and update traditional Middle East clothes, from thobes and abayas to collarless shirts and satras. Her clothes aren’t targeted mainly at Arab clients, but at a brand new technology of men who “want to wear garments that say something about their vision of the arena – their openness and their interest approximately cultures and traditions”, she explains.
This month, Hage released her spring / summer time series, 02: In Lands Akin to Yours, targeted on Palestinian clothes. She become stimulated by using writer, researcher and oral historian Yazan Kopty’s project Imagining the Holy, a group of unpublished pics taken in Palestine considering the fact that 1909 by using the National Geographic Society. Kopty makes use of them to counter the erasure and appropriation of Palestinian subculture, while Hage has based her variety at the lovely apparel worn by the guys in those archival pictures.
Using linen and cotton, Hage created long, tailor-made shirts, mounted off-centre with a row of buttons; and unfastened, draped brief-sleeved jackets protected with swirling patterns in greys and fawns. Unexpected info delivers her pieces an edgy, contemporary feel, which includes the small, uneven panels of contrasting material she locations at the lowest left of each of her long thobe-like shirts. Her first menswear collection, called Zero One, turned into characterized with the aid of flowing shapes and vivid colors. A dramatic ground-period thobe covered with a beautiful leaf print in cream and gray-green was paired with a sharp black blazer, and a voluminous jacket changed into created from a rich gold material. Hage’s style, which contrasts minimalist layout with pleasing materials and methods, is inspired both by using her love for Japanese clothing and her studies into traditional Arab garments.
“The apparel became quite minimalistic, but the fabrics have always been very wealthy, whether or not within the embroidery or the patterns or the weaving or the colors,” she says. “Men used to get dressed colorfully inside the place. Why did we stop? I wanted to carry that returned. There’s a softness inside the manner Arab men have continually dressed, specially in the Gulf countries and in North Africa, and I wanted to translate that – softness in the cloth, softness inside the shapes. It’s now not too rigid and established, and it offers room for movement,” she adds.
‘Much greater versatile.’
Working closely with her pal Sultan Al Darmaki, a prominent Emirati shoe dressmaker, on her first series, Hage based one of the pieces on a custom thobe she designed for Al Darmaki, which features slits up the edges, allowing him to put on it over trousers. Other traditional clothes had been additionally reimagined to match modern tastes, the usage of lighter fabric and easier fastenings. “The clothes are tons narrower to the body than traditionally, because modern guys need to put on things that are slimmer,” she explains. “The items are a lot more flexible.”
Hage says the reception her collections have acquired is a kind wonder. Women, as well as men, are interested in her unusual clothes and the idea at the back of them. “The logo is rooted no longer best in Arab identity, but additionally in storytelling and cultural references, so there’s constantly a message that I need to place out or a tale that I want to inform.”
The concept of garments and the way they might assert individuality first piqued Hage’s hobby even as she was nonetheless at school. Bored by using the uniform, she started experimenting with ways to face out. In her first 12 months at Parsons Paris School of Art and Design she determined that her calling lay in style layout. She elected to take a look at equipped-to-put on womenswear due to the fact, she says, she didn’t understand that menswear may be exciting. After stints at Elie Saab and Oscar de l. A. Renta, she landed a task operating with German clothier Damir Doma in Paris, and it changed into there that she fell in love with the subtleties of fellows’ fashion.