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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Pre-London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Interview: Ziad Ghanem

Matt Bramford talks to master couturier Ziad Ghanem about breaking the boundaries, his 'family' of alternative models, and *that* Immodesty Blaize moment…

Written by Matt Bramford

JASPER GARVIDA lfw s/s 2011 Rachel Clare Price
A selection of Jessie’s corsarges

Walking around Broadway Market, approved one cold wintery Saturday, feeling hungry and looking at all the delicious food I could ill afford, (oh the joys of being a student!). I came across a treasure trove of a stall run by the delightful Jessie and Buddug and instantly fell in love with their charming designs. Since this initial visit, I have returned time and time again to buy unique necklaces as birthday (incredibly successful!) gifts.

So you can imagine my delight coming across their Columbia Road shop, originally located in the upstairs of one the picturesque houses adorning the street. Jessie and Buddug have recently expanded ‘downstairs’, and in celebration of their success, I had the pleasure of interviewing the talented textile artists for Amelia’s Magazine.

I first noticed your designs at Broadway Market on Saturday, was this your first venture?

Buddug: We started broadway market after we graduated 5 years ago and got the shop 2 years ago.

What was your experience of the market? Do you still have a stall there?

Buddug: We still have a stall at Broadway Market, we feel it has grown so much since we started. It’s been cold and wet at times but it’s been great learning what people buy. Its been great socially too, speaking with our friends and customers.

As friends from home, what has it been like to work together?

Buddug: We met when we were on art foundation and always said we we would like to collaborate together in the future. We find it easier that we both do our own work and then display together because we both have different working hours.

You previously occupied an upstairs room in Columbia Road, how did the opportunity to expand into a downstairs space arise?

Buddug: We got offered a place at ground level by Bev who had the shop before us, she made handmade clothes and toys etc, she offered it to us before anyone else which was an honour and we jumped at the chance.

What was your experience of the Goldsmiths Textiles course (which sadly no longer exists?)

Jessie: I was at Goldsmiths, at a very tricky time, the course was going through a real denial period, as they were finding the debate about what to do with textiles and fine art really hard. Which made it hard for us as students and as someone who is passionate about cloth and textiles and most of all making, I found the course incredibly frustrating!

But I had very supportive parents; Primmy Chorley and I am close friends with Audrey Walker and Eirian and Denys Short. So I always had a huge back up behind me in the textile world. I did feel incredibly pulled between the two worlds though and I was lucky enough to come out fighting, determined to set up my own business and to carry on my making process.

Overall I am pleased I went through the Goldsmiths experience, as the academic and written side of it, (for me) has helped me today to think the way I do and pushed me in other ways.

What course did you study Buddug and what was your experiences?

I studied at London Guildhall (now London Metropolitan University)in Jewellery, silversmithing and other crafts. I enjoyed the experimenting with different materials. It was very much a hands on course.

Buddug’s designs for Urban Outfitters.

Buddug, what was it like to work for Urban Outfitters?

It was quite difficult working for URBAN OUTFITTERS, due to the ammount i had to make! and I waited a long time for payment!

Jessie, what role does recycling play in your practice? Why is it important to you and how did you first become interested in using recycled materials?

Recycled materials has and I believe will always be a huge part of my work, I like it that it creates a timeless feeling, I guess it started from the scrap books I made with my Mum when I was young and colleting and using found and recycled items for me creates a story, old clothes and books hold some kind of story and depth to them.

A detail from Jessie’s seating plan for her Wedding Collection.

And how did the wedding collection develop?

I was asked to create a whole wedding theme for a lady who used to buy my cards at Broadway Market, I handmade her invites, table names and a seating plan and really from here I got other customers and then early this year I designed some invites which were slightly quicker to make and I did a huge wedding show in London and its kind of gone from here I have made for several weddings this summer and I am already making for 2011-2012 weddings.

An enamel plate by Buddug.

Buddug, how did you start designing the Home Ornaments collection?

I’ve always been interested in developing the enamel process since university and always liked/inspired by objects mother and grandmother had in the kitchen, I invested in a bigger kiln, which was a challenge to make bigger things!

What materials do you like working with and why?

Jessie: Fabrics, worn clothing, paper they all hold such a good quality and are embedded with an excisting narrative

Designs by Jessie Chorley

Buddug: I’ve always tried to use things that are around me and be inventive with the materials i already have/been thrown away and in old/secound hand things, there’s such a quality in materials and making process and a added charm in old things and it’s actually nicer to use…

Broach by Buddug

I like to combine different materials metal and fabric. fabric and paper or wood…but i mostly enjoy metal and enamel. I really like the solidness of metal and the duribility of it as a raw material.

What was it like to make the stage set for: the launch of Laura Dockrill’s book Ugly Shy Girl and how did you became involved in this?

Buddug: I can’t remember were we met Laura Dockrill, but she asked if we were interested in doing the stage for her. It was quite a challenge because we didn’t know the size of the stage but the best thing was Jessie’s bunting it was really big and yellow!

Have you made or participated in Set Design before? Is this something you will continue to participate in?

Jessie: Yes for me it is a real passion, I love to create things and watch others create a story with the objects I make. A lot of quite random masks and house like boxes which I display in the shop are often borrowed for shoots, and I always like the outcome. For me styling our shop is like creating a stage set I love making it all different each week and then watching the customers come in and their response to it!

My degree show was also about staging and the response of the audience and the creator, for this I made a huge seven foot book which you could walk inside.

Buddug: I haven’t done much set design before, but wold love to, it’s been quite good having practice doing the shop window.

What are the inspirations for your collections?

Jessie: Story telling, people places and preserving memories creating beautiful things from lost or found objects.

Buddug My inspiration for my work is a collection of things I find and come across, I usually collect and draw in sketch books. Nature, a sense of home comforts and memories/naustalgic sences. It’a quite a mish mash of ideas and influencs.

Design by Buddug

We have a few pieces in the shop were we bring things together such as the fabric bows with enamel buttons, but we find it easier to make our own work and display together.

Do you both run and participate in the organisation of the workshops?

Jessie: No I run the workshops I have done for quite a few years now. For me I love to go out and meet other people and hopefully change the way they see the world through making, I have worked with a lot of charities, which is both frustrating and very rewarding at the same time, I am always touched by certain characters which can feed directly in to my work.

The whole workshop trend has gone huge now though and people expect so much more, and have so much more since places like hobby craft became so big and shows like The Knit and Stitch.

I am currently organising my Christmas workshops which will be in November in North London. I will have some day workshops creating simple gift wrap and gifts.

Jess Chorley

Buddug Jess does a lot of workshops, I’m yet to start, but it might be something I would be interested in doing when I’m a bit older.

What’s next for Jess Chorley and Buddug?

Buddug: At the moment we are preparing for christmas, thinking of making stocking filler ideas and promoting our little shop. Nothing too big, taking up projects as they come along…

To find out more please visit: www.jessiechorley.com, www.buddug.com and www.jandbtheshop.com

We started broadway market after we graduated 5 years ago and got a shop 2 years ago.

We still have a stall at Broadway Market, medical we feel it has grown so much since we started. It’s been cold and wet at times but it’s been great learning what people buy. Its been great socially too, prescription speaking with our friends and customers.

We got offered a place at ground level by Bev who had the shop before us, she made hand made clothes and toys etc, she offered it to us before anyone else which was an honour and we jumped at the chance.

We met when we were on art foundation and always said we we wold like to collaborate together in he future.We find it easier that we both do our own work and then display together because we both have different working hours.

What was your experience of the Goldsmiths Textiles course (which sadly no longer exists?)

Jessie
I was at Goldsmiths at a very tricky time the course was going through a real denial period they were finding the whole debate to do with textiles and fine art very hard which made it hard for us a students so as someone who is passionate about cloth and textiles and most of all making I found the course incredibly frustrating! But I had very supportive parents Primmy Chorley and I am close friend with Audrey walker and Eirian and Denys Short so I always had a huge back up behind me in the textile world. I did feel incredibly pulled between the two words though and I was luck enough to come out fighting and to be determined to set up my own business and to carry on my making process. But overall I am please I went through the Goldsmiths experience as the academic and written side of it for me has helped me today to think the way I do and pushed me in other ways.

BUDDUG
I studied at London Guildhall (now London Metropolitan University) Jewellery, silversmithing and other crafts. I enjoyed the experimenting in different materials, it was very much a hands on course.

BUDDUG

it was quite difficult working for URBAN OUTFITTERS, due to the ammount i had to make! and I waited a long time for payment!

What role does recycling play in your practice? Why is it important to you and how did you first become interested in using recycled materials?

Jessie

Recycled materials has and I believe will always be a huge part of my work I like it that it creates a timeless feeling, I guess it started from the scrap books I made with my Mum when I was young and colleting and using found and recycled items for me creates a story, old clothes and books hold some kind of story and depth to them.
How did the wedding collection develop?
I was asked to create a whole wedding theme for a lady who used to buy y cards at Broadway Market, I hand made her invites, table names and a seating plan and really from here I got other customers and then early this year I designed some invites which were slightly quicker to make and I did a huge wedding show in London and its kind of gone from here I have made for several weddings this summer and I am already making for 2011-2012 weddings.

BUDDUG
(home ornaments)
I’ve always been interested in developing the enamel process since university and always liked/inspired by objects mother and grandmother had in the kitchen, i invested in a bigger kiln, and was a challenge to make bigger things!

What materials do you like working with and why?
Jessie
Fabrics, worn clothing, paper they all hold such a good quality and are embedded with an excisting narrative

BUDDUG
I’ve always tried to use things that are around me and be inventive with the materials i already have/been thrown away and in old/secound hand things, there’s such a quality in materials and making process and a added charm in old things and it’s actually nicer to use…

I like to combine different materials metal and fabric. fabric and paper or wood…but i mostyl enjoy metal and enamel. i really like the solidness of metal and the duribility of it as a raw material.

BUDDUG
I can’t remmeber were we met Laura Dokrill, but she asked if we were interested in doing the stage.It was quite a challenge because we didn’t know the size of the stage but the best thing was jessie’s bunting it was really big and yellow!

Have you made or participated in Set design before? Is this something you will continue to participate in?

Jessie:

Yes for me it is a real passion I love to create things and watch others create a story with the objects I make a lot of quite randon masks and house like boxes which I display in the shop and people ofter borrow them for shoots, and I always like the outcome. For me styling our shop is like creating a stage set I love making it all different each week and then watching the customers come in and there responsis to it!
My degree show was also about staging and the response of the audience and the creator, for this a made a huge seven foot book which you could walk inside of.

BUDDUG
I haven’t done much set design before, but wold love to, it’s been quite good having practice doing the shop window.

What are the inspirations for your collections?

Jessie:
Story telling, people places and preserving memories creating beautiful things from lost or found objects.

BUDDUG
My inspiration for my work is a collection of things I find and come across, i usually collect and draw in sketch books. Nature, a sense of home comforts and memories/naustalgic sences. It’a quite a mish mash of ideas and influencs.

We have a few pieces in the shop were we bring things together such as the fabric bows with enamel buttons, but we find it easier to make our own work and display together.

Do you both run and participate in the organisation of the workshops?

Jessie
No I run the workshops I have done for quite a few years now for me I love to go out and meet other people and to hopefully change the way they see the world through making, I have worked in a lot of charities which is both frustrating and very rewarding at the same time, I always touched by certain characters which can feed directly in to my work.
The whole workshop trend has gone huge now though and people expect so much more, and have so much more since places like hobby craft got so big and shows like the Knit and Stitch.

I am currently organising my Christmas workshops which will be in Nov in North London I will have some day workshops creating simple gift wrap and gifts.

BUDDUG
Jess does a lot of workshops, I’m yet to start, but might be something I would be interested in doing when I’m a bit older.


Immodesty Blaize wearing Ziad Ghanem AW 2010, buy illustrated by Krister Selin

At Fashion Week in February, flailing after a weekend of shows and struggling to even stand up, I was dragged to a late evening show by previous fashion editor Sally Mumby Croft. ‘You’ll LOVE it!’ she exclaimed. I couldn’t say no, could I? So off we popped to see the Autumn/Winter 2010 collection of one Ziad Ghanem.

Wow. I had never seen anything like it in my life, and it was, by and large, the highlight of my fashion week (and my year, probs.) Ziad Ghanem is a trained couturier, which smacks you in the face when you first see his clothes. It almost feels a little disrespectful to call Ghanem’s creation ‘clothes’ – such a meaningless word to describe these works of art.


Photography by Matt Bramford

I couldn’t wait to find out more about the designer. The name sounded so familiar; it turned out I’d bought a Ziad Ghanem t-shirt a few years ago in a sample sale. I was delirious!

The show featured the most beautiful creations, modelled by tattooed models of all shapes and sizes, with a breathtaking finale featuring Immodesty Blaize. The show was a lesson in how to undress, and Immodesty certainly did – with the final show piece being three dresses, each removed to reveal the next. The audience went crazy, as did I.

I’ve been waiting since February to have a chat with Ziad about his collection and what the future holds, and last week, I finally got the chance.


Ziad Ghanem, illustrated by June Chanpoomidole

Hi Ziad! What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on my new collection for spring/summer 2011. I am making a film for it…

What is it about fashion and making beautiful clothes that keeps you hooked?
I love to dress people. I am ever so grateful to my models and to my supportive clients. They are my muses. I also love the fact that I can do what ever I wish and I don’t have to listen to any fashion ‘rules’ that the industry forces on other designers.

You work both in ready-to-wear and couture. Do you have a preference?
I would rather work in couture. I understand it more.


Ziad Ghanem couture, illustrated by Joana Faria

What techniques do you use? Are the array of embellishments and features handmade?
Most features are hand made, especially in couture – we always use traditional methods.I love printing and beading. I am a trained couturier.

Your astounding AW2010 show was the highlight of my fashion week, by far. Can you tell us a bit about it? Were you pleased with the outcome?
Thank you, I was very pleased – I am so happy with all the positive feedback. I want everybody to know that you made my day.

The finalé featuring Immodesty Blaize and the 3-piece ensemble was incredible. How did this collaboration come about?
My collection was about the art of dressing and undressing. On catwalks, particularly in the fashion shows of the 1950s, models really worked the outfits. I wanted a burlesque artist to undress – they do it best. I didn’t want it to be about nudity – it is about the art of undressing. I met Immodesty and asked her to model in my show and I am very grateful that she did. She is an amazing performer and artist.






Photography by Matt Bramford

The models you used were incredibly diverse, as if each piece had been tailored to an individual. We also see recurring models, like Jme and Polly Fey, throughout your work. What’s the story behind your models?
I love working ‘in family’ I only use models that understand and read my work. My models are artists that want to wear and perform in my clothes. I let the model be themselves and I ask and take their opinion into consideration.
My shows are a platform and a chance for people I love to show off. I love helping and I love getting help back. It is the secret of a healthy society.

Going back to your SS2010 collection, there was a strong sustainability ethic with recycled couture and a reaction to consumerism. Are these issues important to you?
Yes. I respect the world and the planet I live in. I am anti-fur and anti-cruelty to people and animals. I want happy people to work with my clothes so I am anti-sweatshop labour. But, I am realistic in knowing where to draw the ethical line.

Your inspiration over the past few seasons has been cited as anything from Victoriana to the Middle East. Can you talk us through where your inspiration comes from, and how it translates to the catwalk?
I am inspired by many cultures and I love music and films.I want be a film maker when I grow up. At the moment I’m still a baby playing dressing up… hahahahaha!


Ziad Ghanem AW 2010, illustrated by Naomi Law

We’ve recently had a chat with Marnie Hollande about the film on which she collaborated with you. Where you happy with the result? What was the aim of this film?
Marnie is a wonderful artist and a lovely person. I am more than happy and thankful for her work and talent. There will be more and more to come. She is a lady… and I want apologise about the dirty talk in my studio. I blame Aiden Connor, my assistant…!

What can we expect from Ziad Ghanem SS2011?
Romance and a carnival of print and a performance. I love it when my clothes perform and my models always do a great job. 
Plenty of organic silk. A very simple silhouette

What does the future hold for Ziad Ghanem?
The present is wonderful I can hear and feel my self breathing and nothing can replace that. The future is a bonus and I welcome it with open arms.


Ziad Ghanem AW 2010, illuustrated by Amy Martino

To see our review of Ziad’s autumn/winter show, click here, and to see more photographs, click here.

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