Hamza Qassim

Jordanian model makes mark on international fashion scene

(Photos: Hamza Qassim’s Instagram)
AMMAN — The Jordanian fashion scene has grown rapidly over the last few years, so, unsurprisingly, young Jordanian models are beginning to see success on the international stage. One model rapidly gaining traction in the industry is Hamza Qassim, an 18-year-old model born and raised in Amman who has recently walked in shows at London Fashion Week and graced the pages of Vogue and W Magazine.اضافة اعلان

The modeling industry in Jordan is new and still relatively small, with the country playing host to only one local modeling agency called “Zvemeché”.

The founder of Zvemeché, Saif Saleh, has previously been recorded as saying that modeling is a particularly challenging industry to enter in Jordan considering many people believe modeling is a career that should go unpaid. For that reason, it proves even more exciting to see real-time changes in the development of an up-and-coming model.

And as we fashion lovers know, it is always exciting to catch a model at the outset of their career as it allows us to see their successes play out as they snag bigger and better deals. For that reason, Jordan News chatted with Qassim to discover what drove him to pursue a career in the fashion industry and discuss his future goals.

To Qassim, growing up in Amman influenced his personal style and career trajectory.

It was with the help of the portfolio he built up over the past couple of years in Amman that he was able to gain his shoots and runway stints in London and Europe, benefitting from the innovation of local brands and creatives to access the international stage.

“It all started when I first tried to model for some local brands in Amman, and after doing my first photo shoot, I started getting more offers from other brands, which helped me make connections and build my portfolio step by step,” he said.

Despite the limitation of the Jordanian fashion industry, Qassim believes it is “yet to gain more popularity”.

“One of the photo shoots that I enjoyed most was the one for Swatch, where I was modeling for their sports collection,” as it integrated his “passion for basketball” and took place at a public basketball court in Jabal Luweibdeh.

Qassim’s childhood in Amman “definitely had an influence” on his fashion sense. His favorite brand to shoot for to date was, in fact, for a local Palestinian label, “Trashy Clothing”, a shoot featured on Vogue online.

Beyond evident local influences in Qassim’s style, his personal style icon is Kanye West. “I honestly like to keep an eye on what he wears and take inspiration from him,” he said. This mix of local and international contemporary influences has helped him build a personal brand that distinguishes him from other young models on the scene.

Sports and athletics were a childhood passion for Qassim that pushed his success in modeling. He gained his black belt in Taekwondo and did martial arts, then transitioned into basketball as a teenager, playing nationally and internationally. It was only after an injury setback in his sports career that he decided to pursue modeling, though it seems the regimented drive required to play sports professionally helped Qassim develop the work ethic necessary for the fashion world.

  “My athletic history definitely gave me an advantage in modeling as it first gave me the athletic physique that is wanted in the industry. It also gave me the competitiveness that I take with me in every aspect of life. I believe this drive that I have all started with basketball.”

A certain level of savviness is also required to gain brand deals. Young creatives and models have used their tech expertise to gain contacts and contracts. Nowadays, it is a given that millennial and Gen Z creatives utilize the power of Instagram and TikTok to further their careers — a fact that Qassim is all too aware of when seeking out jobs.

“Social media can be a very powerful tool for people like me. Working as a freelance model — most of my clients reached out to me through social media. So, utilizing this growth can help drive success in this career (path).”

While not essential, it’s certainly beneficial for young creatives in Jordan and internationally to harness the powers of their social media profile to build career momentum. However, the risks associated with maintaining an online persona are widely documented, and it’s important not to portray an image that may damage your prospects.

Often industries that capitalize on aesthetics (such as the fashion and beauty industries) can be tied to a significant level of pressure to conform, something that Qassim has ensured not to fall foul of.

“I do not really allow my career to influence who I am, so whatever I show on my social media is me to an extent. But definitely, as a model, my social media will have a certain style to it because I use it as a tool to help me grow in my career,” he said.

The desire to remain authentic despite the pressures of fashion seems core to Qassim’s fashion identity; as someone who has the power to influence others, he staunchly believes in advocating for body positivity. He believes that “everyone has their own struggles hidden behind closed doors — whether it’s mental, physical, or anything else.”

“I like to support people and help them be confident in who they are, no matter their physical appearance, because everyone is beautiful the way they are.”

This sentiment is certainly uplifting, demonstrating the coming generations’ desire to promote a body-positive mindset. A far cry from the fashion crowd of the 90s and early 2000s, who faced enormous industry pressure to conform to the popularized “heroin chic” aesthetic that ultimately resulted in a pandemic of disordered eating.

While Qassim’s trajectory in the fashion industry seems to be on the up, he is not limiting his goals for the future. Despite his recent success, he maintains lofty ambitions, admitting, “I always want to get better. Nothing is enough. So, whenever I achieve a goal, I’m onto the next.”

As an entrepreneurship student, he has his sights set firmly on the world of business, aiming to invest in production and creative management, which would undoubtedly bring a welcome boost to the creative industry in the region.

We are certain that fashion enthusiasts in Jordan will welcome the news of this local success and that they will be looking forward to seeing how Qassim continues to carve his own niche in the industry.

For young models starting out in their careers, Qassim leaves you with a valuable piece of advice “go after what you really want, even if it means letting go of other things, and be careful who you surround yourself with and who you listen to.”

Read more Fashion
Jordan News