harpers bazaar arabia
After completing a year-long mentorship program with MATCHES FASHION the up-and-coming regional designer shares the stories behind his brand and discusses how his Lebanese heritage has influenced his aesthetic
Salim Azzam is on a mission to honour authentic embroidery techniques, storytelling and the women behind them by keeping the craft alive within his designs. Bazaar spent some time chatting with the designer to find out more...
Harper's Bazaar Arabia (HBA): Could you tell us how you started out?
I grew up in a small village in Lebanon, surrounded by women from the Druze minority who wear black clothes and a white veil–the customary dress of the village women. However, in this reserved black-and-white world, they find a way of expressing themselves and our culture through embroidery. This inspired me to make Salim Azzam the vessel through which this craft is preserved and reimagined. Every piece is hand-crafted and embroidered to tell a story.
HBA: How has your heritage and culture impacted your approach, aesthetic and message?
We preserve the authentic techniques traditionally used to decorate home pieces, and use it to tell visual stories through clothing. Draped across shoulders or showcased on runways, every stitch remains true to its roots.
HBA: What does it mean to you as a designer to be stocked on Matches Fashion?
Coming from a small village, I always felt the need to share the craft done by the women of the region with the world. Being on Matches is my first global step forward and it means the world to me.
HBA: What do we need in the region to be able to grow the fashion industry in a meaningful and robust way?
Nothing fashion-related. We’ve always used art to create beauty out of discomfort in this struggling region. We just need peace; the rest we can do.
Salim Azzam can be found on MATCHESFASHION
From Harper's Bazaar Arabia June 2020 Issue. Lead image courtesy of Instagram/azzamsalim