Hussein Bazaza’s brightly hued bomber jackets and achingly cool Bermuda shorts are far from the floaty feminine dresses we’ve come to expect from the Lebanese designer who trained under Maison Rabih Kayrouz and Elie Saab — but if you take a closer look into the archives, you’ll notice that Bazaza has always had a thing for statement structured jackets and edgy causalwear.
Now, the designer has launched an online platform dedicated solely to the streetwear styles he loves, with an e-store experience boasting exclusive slogan T-shirts and artistic bombers that are too cool for most, yet accessible for all. Here, the designer tells MOJEH about the new venture.
Tell us about the bomber jacket capsule — what is the message behind these pieces?
There are so many messages. From sustainability in its actual term to my other perception of it; the brand’s new strategy; a new venture into digital shopping; revisiting past stories…and the main one would be about mental health and the importance of being to yourself first.
Talk us through your approach to sustainability?
In it’s publicised term; doing my best in the atelier in terms of reducing waste as much as we can, experimenting with new techniques or fabrics and taking it one step at a time because it’s a long learning process for all of us — it cannot be perfected overnight. Whereas my personal definition of sustainability, in terms of maintaining our mental health, is another even longer process. The concept I wanted to “teach” is that we should take care of ourselves first to be able to have the energy and the mindset to help others.
Which bomber jacket print would you wear and why?
All of them! I really wanted to create pieces that people would see and would need to have, so I always kept that “I want this now” consumer mindset while creating each one. But if I had to pick, I would personally swerve toward the black ones as that’s just basic me. But they are all a piece of artwork.
Tell us about the other pieces featured on the platform?
At the start, the main focus was on the bombers but when it came to styling them for our lookbook I decided to add the classic cut of the Bermuda shorts for a full relaxed look. So each jacket has a matching pair of shorts to wear with it. And then came the slogan T-shirts. I wanted them to convey the message of sustaining our mental health, of controlling the environment within us before taking care of those around us. To help ourselves in order to help the world. Within these sustainability slogans is my favourite, “I don’t design for boring people,” which is my way of saying “do you.”
Who do you picture wearing these pieces?
Those who seek comfort and style at the same time. Streetwear is on the rise; even more so after the pandemic where everyone has been living in loungewear and looking for comfort. The e-store offers a relaxed look that accessible to anyone.
Why did you decide to launch an e-store?
My goals is to have Hussein Bazaza as a brand, not a fashion designer. If you asked me if I prefer ready-to-wear or couture, I would always say casual in a heartbeat. I’d struggle to live without couture, but I love creating RTW pieces; from structured jackets to print t-shirts and knit sweaters. I included them in every main collection I ever created, but they were often overthrown by long radiant gowns so they never got their fair share of attention. I wanted to give them their own space, so they can be seen and appreciated: an online store offered the perfect platform.
Do you think that digital is the way forward for fashion?
Digital is one way forward for fashion, but definitely not the only way. We’ve created exclusive pieces for our online store that are strictly causal and RTW; pieces that can be bought without the need for a fitting and pieces that I love to create but were lost in my collections. But people still crave to see that piece live, to feel the texture and pore over all the details. To know exactly what they are buying. Which is why couture is the way it is; it shouldn’t be devalued to a snapshot picture on a ghost mannequin online.
How would you describe the design aesthetic of the e-store?
I wanted the layout to be super clean, crisp and neat, to contrast with all my busy designs. The new pieces for the online store offer laid-back, stylish ready-to-wear that is also affordable. For both men and women, the pieces are made for minimalists and maximalists — some of the bombers are even reversible, with print-heavy on one side and monochrome on the flip . I wanted to create an online space that had something for everyone.
And what about your brand identity?
The biggest achievement I have is knowing my pieces are now immediately recognisable and that the brand holds its own identity. My style is far from classical; it has an edge yet is still quite feminine but the art that goes into it is never about the silhouette because what I’ve learned is that the cut should always be a classic one and one that accentuates a woman’s body, but the mastery to me needs to be about the intricate details that make up the piece. Our trademark styles include the lace collage technique we’re known for, colour-blocking palettes, structured geometric cuts, embroidery motifs and the signature prints I create for each story.
Can you tell us anything about your next collection or future projects?
The world is on pause and has been for a mo nth now, but my mind never stopped twisting and turning so you can imagine how many projects I have been thinking about. For the time being, my next collection is my favourite so far and you will just have to wait and see why.
Find The Bombers Project capsule, slogan T-shirts and Bermuda shorts at Hussein Bazaza’s e-store; Husseinbazaza.com