I can't help but lust over designers who've found their niche and knows how to harness it, and while I'm on my constant hunt for the next designer for me to obsess over, I lucked out in spotting Reem's 2012 'tWisted OLIVER' collection that happened to only be in town for a week. Luck or fate? Regardless, the point is I've found a new "super-niche designer" whose style is so distinct, original and with a very recognizable style that can leave me drooling for more.
Reem's clothes are like eye and hand candy, you just want to look and feel everything! My tactile senses are on overdrive. Ok, I think I lucked out, because the designer herself - Reem Alasadi - was there and allowed me to receive an exclusive interview from her. After half an hour (give or take) of chit chats and fascinating insights on her take on fashion, I couldn't resist trying on a few pieces here and there. Not bragging, but there's nothing better than being styled and dressed by the designer herself. Yep, I'll chalk this off an amazing day, nuff' said.
Details of the interviews can be found further down in this post, but the most note worthy point I’d like to stress is that Reem has been doing this whole using recycled materials to make garments over fifteen years ago before anyone started doing so. She is truly the pioneer and ultimate fashion recycler. She really doesn't let any scraps or pieces go to waste. Even the smallest piece of scrap that can't be knitted becomes either decors or the actual fabric itself. No one can take recycled and used clothing, patch it up and make them look this good while making it all remain so collective. I never thought I'd say this, but I never wanted to wear patched-up fur and leather this much before! As always and I'm not proud of this, but I really couldn't resist buying another piece to add to own collection, it was too unique, plus I needed something for Spring (there I go again, convincing myself to shop, as if I need convincing).
I just absolutely love how her clothes stand so well on their own. You don’t need to worry about styling because the pieces themselves are already styled. They also transition from day to nightwear easily, dressing it up or down can be down in a matter of seconds, plus almost all her coats are reversible! That's a bang for your buck!
Exclusive interview/chat with Fashion Designer Reem Alasadi:
Me: Having an eclectic range of materials in your collections is your niche, so where do you usually find these materials?
Reem: I go around antique fairs, so I tend to buy home furnishings, fabrics, crochets, and then we put them together. Like this for example (refer to pictures below), these are Victorian bonnets.
|Victorian bonnet sleeved top|
Reem: And of course this year we're doing a lot of hand knitting with crochet pieces. Also, when we cut the fabrics, and things fall, we use it, and we don't waste anything. And if it's too small to knit with, me make it into the fabric.
Me: I noticed that in a way, this method makes all these garments very collective, which really brings it all together.
Reem: Yeah, even if we use new fabrics, and when we cut, anything that is wasted, we re-make. So then we will use all the small scraps from the new collection and we build it up.
Me: Even the leathers are so well-crafted and woven into the collars of your garments. How about these fur pieces?
|notice the Korean hand writing and markings|
Reem: The furs are recycled fur, and then we just patch it together. The furs and leathers are endless!
Me: In a matter of speaking, you're the "ultimate fashion recycler", so what exactly led you to decide to use used materials as your main medium?
Reem: I just don't like waste. I don't like to waste anything. I actually started in a traditional way, and found it was boring for me, whereas this, everything is one off and you can never get bored. There can never be two identical pieces. We have similar, but never identical.
Me: What's your favorite material to work in?
Reem: Um… That's difficult to say really, the thing is I like to combine fabrics. I don't like to work in just one material. Even our T-shirts have leather! I can't do just one plain piece. We even dye these in tea bags (picture below).
Me: Is there a material that you don't like to work with? Or even avoid to? Perhaps something that is too clean?
Reem: I wouldn't say I don't like to do something too clean, but I'd say that my style is very eclectic. And so I tend to start with a simple thing, and then it'll never end up simple. (Laughs) When we work, we drape on the mannequin so you can easily edit and not over-work a look. The thing is when you look at my pieces, although its got everything on it, it’s still comfortable to the eye and it’s not something simple which takes a long time to learn.
Me: What style do you like to instill within your garments?
Reem: I like the hard edge, but I still like it to look sexy and feminine.
Me: They are! Another thing I like about your pieces is that they can stand on themselves so well. It’s all you need, and you don’t need to over-style them because they are already styled within them.
Reem: Yeah, My pieces match well with other designer pieces so you don’t have to dress in Reem from head-to-toe.
Me: Since you are based in London, are you going to be showing during this LFW?
Reem: We will be exhibiting not showing at Somerset House.
Me: Excellent! Then I’d come see you in London during LFW.
Reem: Great! See you there then.
|love the mix of knits|
|one of my favorite coats from Reem! drooling here...|
|me combing through Reem's clothes|
|Reem fitting my friend Calista, I love how the weight of the dress falls and flatters her body|
|the small scraps that are too small to be knitted are sewn and made into fabric|
|the baby bib dress, talk about being a "big baby", hahaa|
|Reem and I|
Reem has truly mastered the art of recycling, re-making, and re-using. What can I say? You can’t spell Reem without “re”.