The fashion industry is one that has made success and stardom an almost unattainable goal, and yet the Middle East has become a hub to support and shed a much deserved light on hidden Arab talents, that otherwise may never receive the opportunities they need to grow into the next Azzedine Alaïa or Cristobal Balenciaga.
Not Zeid Hijazi, though. No, Zeid Hijazi has been destined for global success in the fashion industry ever since the first time he learned to use a sewing machine. The Palestinian/Jordanian designer was born in Amman, Jordan, and moved to London to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins. Possibly the most monumental moment of his career so far, was when he received the distinguished Debut Talent Prize from Fashion Trust Arabia, awarding him with a financial grant as well as mentorship from some of the industry’s most influential talents to help him kick-start his label.
Whilst it is no secret that his well-deserved award has helped Zeid leap closer to his dreams, I personally don’t doubt that he was destined for it regardless of any support.
Zeid’s designs are undoubtedly unlike anything else you have come across before – and yet you can somehow still see the inspiration he draws from his most beloved designers, merged with his unequivocally original and bold ethos – and his debut collection shows no exception of this.
Zeid Hijazi’s debut Spring/Summer 2022 collection, titled KALT, “shows the exploration of the modern vs the traditional and the means by which we communicate to resist an occupying force.”
“The collection revolves around a group of Palestinian women attempting to hack various TV frequencies, through their form of communication, namely, coded data, imagined through traditional cross-stitch embroidery motifs, such as The Key of Hebron, Cypress and The Ears of Corn.”
Hijazi’s dedication to showcase his rich culture, but also support other designers in his field is evident throughout the collection. The Palestinian designer worked with women residing across Beirut and Amman to help bring certain pieces to life. Hijazi worked with the Association for the Development of Palestinian Camps (INAASH) in Lebanon to develop the “Moon of Palestine” neckties, for example. Somehow, Zeid manages to shout his people’s history with no words necessary.
Perhaps one of the most refreshing things about the designer is his cultural appreciation. He is not one to hide his sources of inspiration, in fact, he recognises and celebrates them. Whether it is the Ihram clothing worn during pilgrimage, images that have inspired him whilst exploring the Palestine Museum, or a simple cushion cover who for all we know, he found in a backyard sale, Zeid pays respect to every culture that inspires him.
The designer has found a way to pay respect to the centuries-old traditional Palestinian embroidery and somehow modernise, adapt and deconstruct it in a way only he can. We’ve heard the expression ‘East meets West’ far too often and it has become a phrase that several Arab designers in particular, have been associated with. But not for Zeid. With bold exaggerated shoulders, embroidered neckties and tasseled capes, the 24 year-old designer has proven that he does not seek to merge two worlds together, yet he much prefers to create his own.