A nostalgic clothing brand blends 90s flair with Jordanian experiences

Photographer The opening of the Tania George shop. (Photo: Zaid Al-Lozi)
AMMAN — Tania George, a Jordanian fashion designer, characterizes her business, Tania George, as a unique blend of cartoon graphics, colors, and aesthetics. With experience in the fashion worlds of Amman, Florence, and New York, she is ready to take on the world with a 90s pop-inspired style. اضافة اعلان

The designer creates her own pieces that stick out for their illustrated prints, youthful aesthetic, and abundance of color.

‘Learning with the brand’

George traveled to Lugano, Switzerland when she was 18 years old to study visual and communication arts at Franklin University, where she found she had so much more to learn. She spent years traveling across Europe, visiting other countries and acquiring more exposure to new concepts of art.

“After I finished my Bachelor's degree, I moved to Florence to study fashion. I did my internship in a factory where they do textile printing, and in that way, I found my passion for printing,” George said. “Through my work with Stamperia Fiorentina, I discovered that I loved textile printing.”

Moreover, she added that she moved to New York and worked at Tibi, an American fashion brand, for a while. “I explored myself during these experiences, and I found myself drawn to the contemporary field and its casual wear: skirts, pants, and casual dresses,” George said.

Photographer: (Photo: Omar Sha3)

When she returned to Amman, designer began making clothing for herself and her sister just for fun, but that would draw compliments from people when they saw them. “I promised myself with each collection that I would develop my skills and keep on learning with the brand,” she said.

George added that one of the things she has learned since she returned is how to draw inspiration from Jordan. “I love exploring new places in Jordan, and when I returned to Amman I started seeing this city in new eyes. The urge that I want to create something from what I see,” she said.

“I finally realized how to put together a collection around a single theme and come up with brilliant ideas based on extensive research and discovering new things in my environment.”

Nostalgic designs

The designer's earnest desire to document her own culture and continue learning is apparent in each collection. During her childhood, she used to stylize these details and create patterns out of nostalgic memories. Her unique and eye-catching designs will take you back to the 90s. “Old things have to be documented in a way, I felt like my designs are a documentation of our childhood. Moreover, these graphics are so special,” George said.

However, Tania George is more than a retro-inspired clothing line, it’s a clothing line that tells Jordanian stories. The collections are whimsical and eccentric, but they draw inspiration from everyday life in Jordan, such as musical gas trucks and overly adorned pickup trucks.

George said that she launched her first collection in 2016, which was inspired by the trucks in Jordan. “I talked to the truck drivers and each one of them was excited to tell me about his truck, and how proud he was of the car, which made me realize how important this was to them. It is like an unspoken culture,” designer said. 

The second collection was the cotton candy collection, “it was so nostalgic and many people related to it,” the designer said. “I am very attached to old things, and the old graphic designs were not computerized, they were done with calligraphy and handmade.”

She added that retro graphics inspired her to create and produce more things. Moreover, this collection represented childhood memories and how simple life was.

The designer’s Arabic Alphabets collection was inspired by how Jordanians learned the Arabic alphabet, and how the method of teaching Arabic has changed over time.

“I love to tell stories through clothes,” she said, adding that she wants to convey through her designs stories about childhood, how she was raised, what her favorite shows were, and day-to-day life in Jordan. “The people who are familiar with such designs, they relate to it. They are happy to have an item or piece if they know its story.”

Moreover, she added that she likes to portray herself through the brand. “The brand is me, and I love to release my energy and my spirit through the brand. I love using a variety of colors that gives positive vibes and has a positive impact on people’s behavior and mood,” George said.

Photographer: (Photo: Mashael Alsaie)

“It is very personal to me, and I design and produce pieces with love. It started with a women’s wear brand, and now we have some unisex pieces.”

As a designer, George strives to tread a fine line between traditional handmade and modern designs, which is what distinguishes Tania George as a heritage-conscious brand.

“I am always drawn to the past and the old things and I love history,” she said. “On the other hand, I do not like to design trendy pieces, as people may get bored of it.”

She also noted that the only way to balance between tradition and modernity is to work with artisans, who craft the clothing by hand and then add a modern twist. Working with a hand-embroiderer, for example, brings a traditional experience to a piece.

Involving local artisans

A cotton candy bag or a gas truck aren't the only things the designer has created. All of their products are also produced by local Middle Eastern tailors.

“Everything is handmade, I print on fabric in Italy, and everything else is made in Jordan,” George said. “I work with tailors from Syria and Iraq, and I found artisans for embroidery through word of mouth. Furthermore, I love to work with these people, as we support each other.”

Those same artisans and tailors also help George brainstorm new ideas for collections and themes. “They were initially perplexed by the concept and how people could wear multicolored clothing, but after seeing the first photo session, they were delighted and they loved it,” she added.

The link to heritage extends to Tania George Studio, which is a small shop located in Jabal Luweibdeh, where visitors can buy nostalgic Jordanian foods and listen to Jordanian-inspired music.

Jasmine Hamlawi, who works at Tania George Studio, told Jordan News that the age range of most of the customers are teens to people in their mid-thirties. “Two elderly women came into the shop and asked about the brand, reminiscing over the last 20 years,” Hamlawi said.

Photographer: The Tania George shop one year anniversary. (Photo: Omar Sha3)

 “The customers favorite prints are the milk and the Arabic alphabets,” Hamlawi said. “The designs and pieces amaze most customers who are unfamiliar with the brand, and they also enjoy the store's atmosphere and the Arabic written sign with vintage calligraphy.”

George said that she opened the studio in 2019, and then just “created the Tania George world inside it.”

Read more Fashion news