Rawan Maki is a young Bahraini fashion designer and environmental engineer. Very curious to know how these two disciplines were intertwined, JDEED interviewed Rawan Maki to get the answer.
You are an environmental engineer and fashion designer. How did one lead to the other and how do these two professions merge together?
The two disciplines, to me, are very intertwined, and I have flocked between them back and forth for years until the conceptual space that ties them together merged for me.
I’ve studied both environmental engineering (at Yale and Imperial) and fashion design (at the London College of Fashion) at this point, and I found both to be very dimensional, structural, and conceptual disciplines.
You are originally from Bahrain: How would you define the fashion scene in this country and where do you position yourself within it?
Bahrain has a long history of traditional and local fashion, as well as a burgeoning arena of local contemporary designers. It would be honest to say that I am a product of both the “West” and Bahrain in terms of my design aesthetic and principles, only because Bahrain informs part of who I am.
My approach to sustainability is more European, with the concepts of Zero Waste, circular thinking, use of recycled and upcycled materials, and the “ways of use” embedded. However, it is difficult to draw lines in the sand of where an ideology is born and where it is applied. My stylistic vision is for a conscious and elegant wearer, regardless of where they currently live.
The eco-system and the environment in general is a recurrent theme in nowadays politics or school programs but is still under-considered in fashion. Why do you think not every brand can opt for a sustainable process of design and creation? Do you see effective results since launching your first collection?
First, to adopt sustainability can alter an entire brand’s business model and design approach. It is difficult for big brands, particularly giant mega-brands to make the leap fully, as a lot of their previous success has been based on the exact opposite of sustainability principles.
These transformations are not impossible, but they will be costly and take time for big brands.
I think the future lies in empowering smaller brands. Go for the unique looking dress or coat, it’s no fun looking like everyone else anyway. Fashion is about empowering ourselves through the way we choose to dress, so truly choose and empower yourself.
What are your projects and ambitions for your brand?
I hope to see people continuing to appreciate the brand! I can’t wait to see the designs on different people that truly add to the garments with their own aesthetic.
Anyone you’d dream to collaborate with?
Balenciaga, Issey Miyake, Jacquemus, Christopher Raeburn, Stella McCartney, to name a few.
Models walk runway in outfits from the Rawan Maki Fall Winter 2017 collection by Rawan Maki, at the Brooklyn EXPO Center on April, 2017 during Fashion Week Brooklyn Fall Winter 2017.