A quick glance at Darin Hachem’s latest collection and you’ll find yourself invested in romantic cuffs and oversized collars in earthy tones of beige, sky blue and pale green.
For the SS20 collection the Lebanese-born and Gabon-raised designer was inspired by the sculptural work of Middle Eastern artist Saloua Raouda Choucair; which is reimagined in upcycled materials and sustainably sourced fabrics that have become synonymous with the brand.
Here, MOJEH talks to Darin Hachem about her multicultural upbringing, her love of blazers and her dedication to the planet.
What inspired you to work in fashion?
I always think of it as a natural evolution of my learning process, even if my grandmother Soad was already making her own clothes and keeping the fabrics leftovers for me to play with my dolls every summer on my return to Lebanon. It can be seen as an influence, as a sign, as a predisposition, or simply not. At the end it is a choice I made for a part of my life.
Describe your design aesthetic?
I see it as a mix of things, a game of contrasts between masculine and feminine, geometrical shapes combined with organic ones. I also think it is prone to change and evolution, change is inevitable.
Where do you source inspiration from?
There is a ‘fil conducteur’ that starts with the observation of our surroundings, of the directions collections are going through. It then becomes a starting point for deeper research in fields or arts, architecture, design, textiles; it is a wide topic. Things speak to us at a specific time, and we use them to move to the design part.
Would you say you’ve developed a signature silhouette?
Some typical things to the brand would be the asymmetrical game in blazers, the twists and drapes we are fond of, and the attention to oversized collars and cuffs.
How does your diverse upbringing influence your designs?
Obviously It is such an intrinsic thing that it happens naturally without me thinking about it, but I’d say being in contact with different cultures just opens your mind into incorporating things to form a whole, it just opens your possibilities in terms of colors, of shapes, of fabrics.
How do you incorporate your Middle Eastern roots?
One part of that heritage that I absolutely love is embroidery and I am planning to start using it more.
Do you believe that fashion is becoming more inclusive?
We saw it with Victoria Secret, which is typical lesson; you need to adapt and yes fashion needs to represent the people wearing it; we are created in all types of shapes and tastes, so yes the customer needs to identify, to feel represented, to feel that a fact as basic as dressing up is also addressing all types of public.
Tell us about your approach to sustainability?
Sustainability is a very wide topic; it happens at different levels and it is a constant work towards getting better at it. I see sustainability as compatible with a way of life it is not limited to one category; I can describe it as a preoccupation for the environment and the human beings involved in it. I hope to be able to express myself and my creativity in a way that limits damage to the planet. This comes by informing myself, reading, learning and trying to get better at it. It is a constant process.
How can the fashion industry be more eco-conscious?
We are forced to realise our impact as human beings on earth, the simple fact of being quarantined helped the ozone layer to recover; which means we are active participants in damaging our eco-systems. The fashion industry needs to be more transparent about the reality of the work done behind the scenes, how people work, in which conditions, with which materials? It needs to seriously slow down, produce less quantities, and be careful about the materials used during the creative process.
What kind of materials did you use for the SS20 line?
Concerning this collection, we worked towards sustainability by acquiring fabrics at stock, hence not creating new ones and by logic not polluting more through the use of chemicals we select hardware that we would re-use in a new way from a season to the other, buttons are of recycled material such as mother of pearls. The idea is to be very selective when it comes to the sourcing of the materials, and to keep in mind the options of re-using, re-purposing, recycling.
Who is the Darin Hachem woman wearing this collection?
I’d say a woman that likes dressing up without compromising on comfort; one that likes atypical pieces that would allow her depending on the occasion to play and compose new outfits.
How would you describe your personal style?
I am fond of masculine pieces, masculine shirts, masculine blazers a bit oversized and all types of blue jeans. Pretty simple in reality.
What piece would you buy from the collection?
It is difficult to pick one piece but I am addicted to blazers and the way they elevate any outfit, so I’d go for the asymmetrical linen blazer as a statement piece.
And finally, does the future hold for your label?
I really wish to make the brand dig more into arts and collaborate with different kinds of artists to make it more of a complete vision and a way of life.
See the full SS20 collection on Darinhachem.com