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Designer brings essence of Jordanian, Palestinian cultures to Milan Fashion Week

Fashion is a different way of saying who you are, Hinnawi says

By Suzanna Goussous - Feb 28,2017 - Last updated at Feb 28,2017

Designer Hama Hinnawi poses for a photo with models showcasing her designs at the ‘Milano Moda Donna Fashion Week 2017/2018’, in Italy in February (Photo courtesy of Hama Hinnawi and Mohammad Abu Dawwas)

AMMAN — Oriental embroidery, the olive tree and the black iris were present at the opening event of the Milan Fashion Week this year as representatives of the Jordanian and Palestinian cultures on Italian runways. 

Jordanian Hama Hinnawi was the only Arab fashion designer who showcased eight pieces at the “Milano Moda Donna Fashion Week 2017/2018”, held in February 22-28.

Her message through fashion was not restricted to design; she aimed at spreading the culture of embroidery and design in a modern context, she told The Jordan Times in a recent interview. 

Hama Fashion’s slogan is “Made in Jordan with Palestinian Passion”, as a means to conserve traditions and heritage in a contemporary method.

The designs showcased in Milan featured red and black and white and red colours, calligraphy, flower cross-stitch embroidery, line cross-embroidery, embroidered capes and cross-cultural embroidery.

Some of the designs also featured Arabic poetry verses, such as Lebanese poet Zahi Wahbeh’s lines: “Your body pales against you, your femininity a flooding heart, a laugh under which rivers flow”, she said.

Another piece included a line from Wahbeh’s poetry: “Dazed by her figure is the Earth”, to show the beauty of the Arabic language through fashion designs, the designer explained.

Hinnawi used other patterns that highlight the culture and background of Arab designers. One of the patterns represented the Jordanian-Palestinian traditional dishes with designs representing grape leaves, pastry and olives printed on it.

The designer said she had chosen some designs from her previous collections, adding that “they were much appreciated by the Italian people as they were seen as different and interesting”.

“They appreciate our embroidery, but they do not have handmade pieces, which is what makes pieces by Arab designers attractive and different.” 

One of the dresses showcased held the message “this is Jordan”, with the black iris printed on a velvet cloth as part of the dress and an Arabic letter emblazoned on the back, to represent the country’s traditions in Italy.

Hinnawi said she observes the trends in the international market and works towards more global exposure for embroidery and Jordanian and Palestinian cultures.

“Many people abroad don’t know Jordan. Through fashion, we can spread awareness of our country and culture,” she added. 

“Fashion is a different way of saying who you are, why you are doing this, or showing people that this embroidery is Palestinian, not Israeli, for instance.”

Hinnawi continued: “Some express themselves through poetry, some through writing, others take to the streets and protest, but personally, I think art is smoother than any other tool. It is also closer to the people.”

One of Hinnawi’s designs showcased in Milan consisted of an olive tree branch as a headband as part of the piece. 

“I took the olive tree branch with me from Amman, as a symbol, a sign, that this is Jordanian. I tried to make the runway a pure Jordanian one, the shoes, the jewellery, the hair, makeup — all made by Jordanians,” she added, noting that Jordanian photographer Mohammad Abu Dawwas was in charge of the photography at the show.


“At every fashion show, I have two important things to accomplish: make myself, my country, and my parents proud; [and] to have a good reflection of my message through my displayed collection.”

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