True to BSTN’s proprietary ‘Feed Fam, Fuck Fame!’ philosophy, we’re introducing you to some members of the immediate as well as the extended BSTN family. In their own words, they talk about themselves, their career, and selected topics close to their heart. This is Feed Fam – Episode XVI featuring designer and model Alima Darouiche:

On her introduction to fashion:

In my family, art is a way of life. At the age of 6, I joined an art class where we got to explore various materials, including fabrics on a sewing machine. When I turned 9, I received my aunts old sewing machine. That’s when I began sewing at home.

I started with simple projects like bags and pillowcases, gradually working my way up to bigger and more ambitious creations. So, I kind of got stuck on sewing and it became my passion. It makes sense somehow, because playing dress up as a kid was one of my favorites.

My grandmother was and all my aunts are dressmakers or fashion designers which is why I’ve been always very connected to the industry in general.

On turning her passion into a profession:

A few years ago, my sister organized a pop-up for her brand and approached me about selling something as well. That day, I sold my first pair of pants. I feel like this moment revealed to me that there are people beyond my family circle who appreciate what I do, want to support it, and are eager to see it progress. The motivation that came out of that still drives me.

Over time, the process of designing and making clothes became a part of me and my everyday life, to the point where I naturally thought about whether it’s what I want to do in the future. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to pursue the creative scene, and the idea of “earning money with doing what you love“ resonated perfectly for me.

On the dual perspective of working as a designer and as a model:

I think modeling supports the journey of my brand in many ways. It helped me to get in touch with the industry quite early and allowed me to connect with various people.
You have the opportunity to get in touch with photographers, stylists, makeup artists, and other people that inspire you. That may open doors, offers guidance, and provides insights into the complexity of the fashion world.

For me, modeling brings a deep understanding of the industry’s workings and trends. You also get to experience firsthand how different designs feel and move, helping you to better understand the practical aspects of apparel design.

On her own style:

If I had to decide for one existing category, I would say streetstyle, but it’s not only that. At the same time, it’s conceptual and sculptural since I am assembling all the pieces to make them make sense.

On sustainability and other sources of inspiration:

Many things can be an inspiration. Very often, I get influenced while working on something, and the outcome has nothing to do with the sketch I made before. A lot of what I create reflects my personal style combined with other things. I get my inspiration from different sources. Sometimes, it’s my surrounding, the people that surround me, or even objects and textures.

It may sound like a cliché, but sometimes – when I receive a lot of input during the day – I get out of bed again so I can write down what I was thinking while falling asleep.

While working on custom-made pieces, I am very grateful for all the input I get from my customers. Sometimes, they make me do things I didn’t even know I’m capable of.

On why there’s no need for new fashion labels:

I love fashion, obviously, but I also think there is a lot going wrong in this industry. For example, when it comes to exploitation, working conditions, overproduction in relation to waste, the environmental impact, and sustainability. The motivation behind my brand is to avoid those things with upcycling, reworking and reusing materials.

When I got my first sewing machine, my grandma gifted me all her leftover fabric to sew with it. It was a lot. I still have some of it. So, the Idea built up unconsciously and quite early, since that’s how I started.

I realized that there are already so many fabrics in the world, which is why I concentrate on processing existing ones to support the throwaway society as little as possible. For me, up-cycling is a very special process, since you are working with many single parts, trying to find an arrangement in which they all work together.

When it comes to branding, I try to be creative. For example, my tags and postcards are made from old worksheets I kept after school to recycle and turn them into new paper.

On the challenges and the reward of working with existing materials:

Working with existing materials is a journey filled with a blend of challenges and opportunities. The limited availability of these materials may test our creativity. However, it’s in these limitations that you often find innovative solutions that sets your work apart. Limited choices in colors, patterns, and textures encourage you to think outside the box and create distinctive designs that stand out.

Sustainability is not just a consideration but a guiding principle, reinforcing your commitment to responsible production practices. I’ve noticed that many people tend to have the perception, that sustainable clothing is not that fashionable. I want to retort those perceptions by creating stylish pieces. Despite the challenges, the beauty of working with existing materials lies in the opportunity to create something truly special and original.

In the end, these challenges shape your own story as a designer and the rewards of using existing materials, both creatively and sustainably, are what make your work not just a profession but a passion. Always stay true to yourself and your work.

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