The culmination of 6 long months of hard work finally paid off last night at the Khayt finale, held at W Amman. The eight contestants showcased their total looks to a distinguished jury in a star-studded evening. The Khayt fashion designer competition, established in January 2019 was an example of what can be done when great minds come together to make a difference to the Jordanian fashion community. Spearheaded by UNIDO, in partnership with GSC, Creative Mediterranean and the European Union, the Khayt competition set out to enforce the foundation for fashion designers in Jordan. After extensive research in the region, UNIDO and their partners established that in order for fashion to move forward in Jordan the supply chain would need to be reinforced. Bringing the production into the fashion equation is the black swan.. something so obvious now that we think about it, but was never actually considered. In order to turn Jordanian fashion into a thriving industry the disconnect between producers and designers would need to be mended.
The project’s foundation was to better understand the needs of the Jordanian producers and designers in an attempt to bring the two parties closer together in partnership. Most of you reading this, will probably understand the difficulties faced from the designer’s perspective. The truth however is that the producers also have valid concerns that need to be addressed. Bringing these two parties around the same table to define the challenges of both will be instrumental in shaping the future of Jordanian fashion. The Khayt project did not come onto the scene as a short term fashion competition to merely highlight the talents of a distinguished few. The aim was to build a bridge, that would help others cross in the future also.
Having had the privilege of joining these meetings in the early stages of the competition, it was clear that this work had to be done. It was hard, it was complicated and it was at times, unpleasant. Throughout however Dina Kattan project director held her ground and her vision, and in so doing, paved the way for the future of Jordanian fashion. To literally force the conversation between two entities that have for so long, ignored each other was not a feat for the faint-hearted, and Dina Kattan was the woman for the job. With the resilience and steadfast resolve of a determined woman, Dina trailblazed an untrodden path that will serve the community going forward.
Another contribution that must of course be mentioned is that of GSC’s Dina Seisah. Her management skills on this project cannot be exaggerated, she is the rock that we all leaned on. With patience, professionalism and integrity Dina Seisah managed the demands of scores of people. Still not sure how…
So what does this really mean? It means that fashion design cannot be sustained by making one-off pieces at a tailor. In order to grow, the production of these garments needs to have a supply source greater and less expensive than a traditional tailor. It needs to be created in a factory, like other countries in the world. This is the foundation for successful business. The ability to produce quantities at wholesale prices.
With the cooperation of producers such as Mr. Yassin Abu Al Rous and Dina Fashion, this goal is no longer a theoretical document, but a reality in its infancy.
The Khayt competition called on young designers in Jordan to apply and submit a sketch which reflected Jordan’s culture in a modern way. 120 applications were received, these were then diligently sifted through by the selection committee. New York-based Palestinian fashion designer Rami Kashou, Head of Projects Hiba Asaad at CIIN, Shamekh Bluwi Creative Director of Dezain and Giulio Vinaccia and the Creative Jo! Team spent very long hours determining the 8 contestants of the competition. The winners: Amjad Masri, Ayat Ammari, Dale Abdul Hadi and Ola Fathallah of Flamingo Republic, Sujood Darabkeh of Core Fashion, Mira Al Hammouri, Tarik Bilal, Satanay Hatouq and Yazan Makhamreh.
For 3 months, the contestants worked tirelessly at the GSC facility under the watchful, dedicated and educated eye of Lebanese fashion designer Missak HajAvedikian. Each contestant was to produce a single look that they felt would be the best reflection of their capsule collection. The winner, once crowned would have the opportunity to produce the complete 8 piece collection in a Jordanian factory. The collection would then be given the opportunity to be showcased at Paris fashion week in September. Again, unprecedented promises by the Khayt team to bring true value to the fashion competition.
On June 26th, the Khayt finale brought together the who’s who of the Jordanian and regional fashion community in a sophisticated event held at the W Amman. Perhaps one of the most telling elements of the evening was the positive energy in the room. The Box buzzed with the dreams and aspirations of the designers and their support teams. All coming together to celebrate more than a single design, by a single designer, but the establishment of a new formula for the local fashion industry going forward. The designs were showcased to a truly distinguished panel, including famed Lebanese designer Hussein Bazaza, International stylist Cedric Haddad, Business woman and Ralph & Russo Chief Business Development Officer Lama Hayek, International Brand Developer Srdjan Prodonovic, Jordan-based Regional Fashion Designer Tatyana Aceeva and famed Product Designer and Senior UNIDO consultant Giulio Vinaccia.
The jury were given a list of carefully selected criteria to judge, not only the look presented, but the complete capsule collection that was created by each of the designers. After much deliberation, Sujood Darabekeh was crowned designer of Khayt 2019. Her look, a truly modern interpretation of Jordanian culture. A pinstripe Bermuda short, matched to a silk-screened, customized jacket, shirt and external bra. Watch this space..