From Milan to Amman: Local designer breaks the mold

Model wears design by Dana Shahin
(Photos: Handout from Dana Shahin)
AMMAN — Local designer Dana Shahin is known for her unique pieces, bold style, and daring looks.  اضافة اعلان

She started her career on a strong foot, by studying in the heart of the fashion world. “I studied fashion design in Milan,” she told Jordan News in an interview. “I graduated in 2016. I launched my first collection in January 2017. I've done eight collections until now and my ninth will be dropped soon.”

Before deciding to pursue fashion, she began her education in marketing so she could have a stable degree prior to pursuing her dreams. This helped her get a leg up in the industry, giving her essential background knowledge of the business world. “Just to get to know the market better, how to market your product to get to know your niche.”

Her pieces are unlike anything you can find at your average chain store. Intricate shapes and bold colors are signature to her style. “Someone has to be very fashionable to wear my clothes. You know, not like anyone can come into the store and pick an item … You have to be very daring.”

She said that often people are not bold enough to don her unique pieces for daily events, seeing them as eccentric articles more suitable for niche events. “Because everyone comes in there like, ‘I have to be very fashionable to wear this. Where can I wear it? I have to go to fashion events,’ something like that.”

This hasn’t stopped her from catering to the specific demographic of women in their mid-20s to mid-30s who are looking for a unique style, bored of the more cookie-cutter looks offered by fast-fashion brands. 

The sources of her inspiration: shape and color.

“It just depends on my mood when I'm doing the collection. Really, when I start going, I just sit and see what I want to do and look for the colors that I want, and then I start drawing,” she said. “So, one of my collections, it was totally black for Fashion Week. It depends, mainly on my mood and what color I want to use as a palette and then I go from there.”

Shahin strives to remain unique in the Amman fashion scene, “If you see my work, it’s totally different than everything that’s on the market. It's not something that you see in every store. I have a unique touch. Like when you see one of my pieces, you know that this is Dana Shahin’s piece because it speaks to you. It's like 'Dana’s style’. I have created my own style and hopefully, I will continue to do this. I just have a unique style, I would say, that makes each piece look like me.”

The designer has also made a consistent effort to continuously evolve her style, while still maintaining her own distinctive personal flair, “It’s evolved a lot, just to keep up with the market and what's going on, regarding the colors and the shapes and everything like that,” she said. “I don't want to do that, but you have to. You have to go with the market and what it needs. But still, you have to keep your own touch. Whenever I launch a collection, it has to look like my style, like me.” 

However, the designer made the distinction between evolving and just following trends. “I don’t follow trends, I just follow my mood, and what I want to do,” she said.

But she is not completely unconcerned with market needs. “I’ll follow the colors that are in trend and what the market needs for the season. Like you follow the colors that are in. You have to. When you start, you put the colors that you want to work with, and then you do the shapes. And that's been the first step to do the collection.”

Shahin’s bold pieces demonstrate that being a trendsetter will reap long-term rewards, which she hopes leaves everyone with inspiration to remain daring in their creative choices. 

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