By Chere Di Boscio
Sometimes, a chance encounter will lead to wonderful surprises, and it was just such an encounter that led to my learning about Sakina M’sa.
After a luncheon at La Palette in Paris, a friend invited me to her flat see the latest collection of ‘an up and coming designer with a strong dedication to sustainability.’ I was astounded by what I saw: Balmain-inspired silhouettes made from reclaimed fabric, cut for Parisianne figures. I felt I just had to spread the word about this new young talent.
Originally from the African Comoros Islands, Sakina M’sa is a Paris based fashion designer who loves thinking outside the box. Her offbeat style and eclectic sophistication are tinged with her personal philosophy: themes of identity, memory and her love for the Earth are all reflected in her designs.
Sakina’s eco-approach, quality materials (often derived from old Balenciaga and St Laurent stock) and sharp tailoring skills have quickly won the hearts of fashionistas, celebrities, and even politicians, like Anne Hidalgo, the new Mayor of Paris.
I was lucky enough to have Sakina explain her work and inspiration in this Exclusive Interview.
How do you source your materials?
I choose (scrap) prestigious fabrics from Haute Couture brands. This process allows to comply all three pillars of Sustainable Development at the heart of the project.
What kind of woman do you design for?
I want to dress a free-spirited woman who loves beautiful things. A woman who sometimes doesn’t want to follow the rules and be trendy. She hates a totally off-the-rack look, so she assembles, say, sale pieces with some YSL vintage garments and a small skirt from my label. She loves gorgeous materials, the designs, the patterns, the contrasts. She cultivates an utter curiosity for contemporary art and style. She is unconventional and tries to escape from a particular snob culture…the one that believes that fashion is monolithic. She is a punk, who like Godard, doesn’t trust the so-called “professionals of professions.”
Which designers inspired you to choose this line of work?
Curiously enough, it’s a man from the theatre who inspired me to pursue a career in fashion: Tadeusz Kantor. I feel close to creators such as Bernhard Willhelm, Walter Van Beirendonck, Rei Kawakubo, who tribute a certain gaiety of the body without renouncing the evocation of the tragic pursuit of meaning. Maybe that is how they remind me of Kantor. But we must make sure that any kind of fashion remains accessible to all.
Does the material dictate the design, or does the design dictate the material?
They both have equal importance. There’s a powerful trait in the way organza falls, something engaging in creating a dress with materials that had a previous history. An obstinate pattern on the body’s silhouette…I think that these two elements reveal the woman betwixt material and style.
Why do you think sustainability in fashion is important?
Sustainable Development in fashion is crucial. The entire field is usually focused on purchasing and human resources. But we must change attitude to be able to change the world. Fortunately the new generation is concerned about the planet’s well-being, and is developing measures to help it, and most of, is all improving working conditions for us all and the environment. It’s important to get involved in this action even if it might mean going against the flow. That means that Fashion has to get involved in this trend even if it makes it become less popular.
Luckily enough, many big companies are now questioning themselves on these aspects, thus taking part in building a better world.
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