Jordanian fashion designer returns to her roots

(Photos: Handout from Edelina Joyce, taken by Ferras Oran and Hazem Jweinat.)
Edelina Joyce, a Palestinian-British brand owner, has been taking steps to revolutionize the Jordanian fashion scene through her unique brand identity and international industry experience.اضافة اعلان

“First and foremost, I’m a fashion designer,” said business owner and teacher Edelina Joyce in an interview with Jordan News. “But I’m also an instructor, a mentor, and a stylist.”

Upon realizing her passion for designing, Joyce found that there were insufficient educational resources in Jordan to support this goal. “I decided to study fashion but at the time in Jordan, there was nothing of the sort,” she explained. “The most they had in school here was art; you couldn’t get a taste of it.”

When Joyce first decided to pursue fashion as a career, she faced intense criticism: Most people viewed fashion only as a hobby. Since then, however, she believes that the culture has become more accepting.

“It’s been almost 20 years, 15 years, and the mentality has changed so much,” Joyce said. “If you give it another five, 10 years, how much more can it change as well?”

During her time studying in the United Kingdom, the budding designer had the opportunity to work with brands such as Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Mother of Pearl, before eventually settling down with a job at Victoria Beckham, the eponymous fashion line founded by the celebrity.

Despite finding herself at such a prestigious brand, she eventually wanted to branch out with her fashion education. Joyce knew that she could either continue with her current career trajectory working for already-established brands, or move to Jordan and start her own brand. She chose the latter.

“I decided to move back to Jordan because I really wanted to do my own thing. I came to a point where I thought I could work my way up the corporate fashion ladder and continue working for Victoria Beckham or for other big brands, or I could try and do something myself, and I thought, you know, I (will) try it,” she said. “Then if I find it’s not for me I can always go back and work in the industry.”

“One of the reasons that I moved back to Jordan is because I wanted to launch and set up a Jordanian brand. I wanted it to be recognized as something that we can offer in Jordan.”

After launching her brand, she found herself wanting to give back to the community and decided to begin teaching. “I began teaching fashion because I wanted to help people here like me who were interested in fashion, but didn’t know what it meant, or couldn’t afford to go abroad.”

While still a student, Joyce received a holistic fashion education. “We learned everything; whether it was fashion, photography, buying, marketing, PR, fashion, journalism, everything,” she explained. She aims to bring this same experience to her students.

“When it comes to fashion, studying is not enough, and working in the industry is not enough,” Joyce said. “You need both because you learn different things from both, and they’re equally important.”

She stated that it was paramount to her students’ success that they tackle all aspects of the fashion process, from conceptualizing designs to putting the finished products on the rack. Her philosophy is that technical knowledge only takes one so far without practical application, and practical application is useless with no technical backing.

“A lot of people go and study fashion design, and then think that’s it. That’s not enough,” she explained. “Likewise, if you’re lucky enough to just start by getting jobs in the industry, it’s not enough if you don’t have a technical background.”

Her approach has led both her and her students to great success. “We’ve had quite a few graduates from there who all have their own brands now, and I’m still a mentor for them and their brands,” she said.

Joyce has noticed immense changes in the region in comparison to when she first entered the industry. “The Middle East is changing a lot; the market is opening up and we’re getting more and more designers.” 

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