Designer seeks to spark conversation, challenge assumptions

Designs from Fadi Zumot’s experiment ‘Hram’, which translates to ‘blanket’. (Photos: Handout from Fadi Zumot)
AMMAN — Fadi Zumot, the Jordanian designer behind the eponymous brand, perceives fashion as an expression of self and a tool to make people comfortable in their own bodies.اضافة اعلان

Zumot describes the brand’s avant-garde fashion pieces as “activists” in a society where traditions dominate. The innovative pieces seek to spark conversations and challenge assumptions.

“I want to have conversations. I want to put things out there that are not talked about. I want to document our stories, our experiences, our performance in the streets. I am talking about me and the bodies that look like me,” Zumot said in an interview with Jordan News.

The designer’s love for fashion began a long time ago with childhood experiments with different pieces of clothing in front of the mirror at their grandmother’s house.

This interest developed into a sustainable practice of creating fashion collections based on collaborative art installations with different artists. These “investigations” or “experiments”, as Zumot calls them, are meant to invite physical and emotional reactions and interactions, the designer says.

“Each collection says something different and stirs a different feeling. Our goal was never to just sell [clothing]. Everything is experimental and conceptual. The things that provoke me allow me to create pieces that interact with different bodies and spaces.” 

One collection, “Qalban Qaleban”, involved an installation of red wool knitted on metal rods at Jordan Design Week. When a visitor enters the piece, everyone else can hear their heartbeat. An immersive experience like this, according to Zumot, allows people to be vulnerable and empathetic.

The designer also created the “Hram” collection, which translates to “blanket.” The goal behind this “investigation” was to “reignite intimacy,” Zumot explained.

“We used those blankets we see in downtown everywhere. They’re so embedded in our culture, our memory, our psyche. It’s intimate and soft but synthetic. It’s a very particular experience. The texture also invites interaction and creates a certain connection.”

Another collection, “Mojahara”, which means “visibility” in Arabic, was created in collaboration with a bedding brand during Amman Fashion Week. The pieces allowed the audience to reimagine the shape of the human body.

“It was all big silhouettes taking big space around the body. It’s saying ‘I’m untouchable.’ And there’s a lot of lumps and bumps that remove the standard body shape,” Zumot said.

Zumot’s latest project, “Mutiny”, launched one year ago as the brand’s first sellable collection. This collection was all about versatility, the designer said; it featured complex, multifunctional pieces that can be transformed and adjusted to different styles.

Discovering the endless possibilities of clothes allowed the creative to test boundaries and break rules. Zumot believes that these experiments also nurtured the need to celebrate individual identity while still being part of a larger community.

“We are part of the community regardless of what anyone says. And we contribute to it. We give care, we give beauty, we give creativity and we will not be taken out of it,” they said.

As global challenges face people all around the world, priorities have shifted and designers are sometimes forced to second-guess their work, Zumot told Jordan News.

Nonetheless, Zumot hopes that local designers can work together to change the way people look at fashion.

“So many rules are imposed on us. That’s why fashion is so important: because it’s our expression of ourselves as individuals and it’s about how we represent ourselves in a society where only certain uniforms are acceptable,” Zumot said.

Fadi Zumot, both the designer and the brand, stands for society’s outcasts; for those who do not fall into black and white categories, according to Zumot.

“I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. That’s why I started creating. I wanted to find that and have my community next to me,” the designer said.

A design from Fadi Zumot’s project ‘Mutiny’.

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