Fashion: who is to say what is and what isn’t right?

Articles - Q & A

“People may think my designs are unconventional. Well, I am a designer and I designed to be competent in the fashion industry internationally.” Designer Sabrin Hussien.
Does fashion have to always be connected to culture and the views and traditions of the community? Well, this is a question that young Eritrean designer has to give a negative answer to. She strongly believes that fashion means coming up with something creative. Fashion is a link that ties generations together and it never stops, it keeps moving on and so should we. So she trusts.
Born with the gift of talent and skills for designing, the 22 year old, grew up fascinated by the various types of fabrics and colors. As she came of age, Sabrin Hussien couldn’t wait to go to the designing school, where she thinks she got the most out of. Sabrin comes from a typical Eritrean family who do not condone wearing Western clothes such as miniskirts, but the views and comments of people didn’t stop her from following her dreams of becoming a designer who focuses on western fashion.
On her 22nd birthday, Q&A wishes Sabrin a very happy birthday and success in her profession.

  • Hi, thank you for being here with us. Let’s get aquatinted please.

I loved drawing when I was growing up. But that wasn’t the only thing that fascinated me. I also loved clothing fabrics. These are the two things that I wanted to play and experiment with. When I was seventeen, I went to Negasi’s Designing School. Well, that is when it all started for me. Going to that school gave me a whole perspective of what designing means and what a designer should be like. School was easy for me since it was something that I was passionate about. I was always egger to learn something new that would make me a professional, and I started working right after I graduated from the school.

  • You said you enjoyed the designing school. What was the most you gained out of there?

Well, learning something just because you have to and going to school for something that you are fervent about are totally different. So, going to a designing school for me was something that excited me the most because it meant that I was finally going to make my hobbies a profession. So yes, I really enjoyed the courses. I also got to learn something that I never cared about along the way, makeup art. I have never thought about doing make-up but it was something that I got to gain during my designing courses which were really interesting and benefiting. Also, learning about fashion, what it is and where it has gotten over the years is an essential knowledge you have to know as a designer. Fashion is vast and there are so many corners to it. But most of all, the school did a marvelous job in teaching us about the precise cutting techniques and colors. However, it doesn’t always mean that going to school makes you an excellent designer. Browsing the net to see new ideas and checking out where the fashion world is at and reading about the history of fashion and other related articles make you a competent designer, I believe.

  • For a designer, how essential are colors in clothes?

It is as important as a creative design for a cloth. Colors should represent the occasion, the place and the season. But most of all colors represent the outfit. A dazzling design could be ruined simply with the wrong choice of color. That is how imp o r t a n t it is to know the different shades of colors and when to use them.

  • You are known for your Western fashion, which could be rather exposed outfits. Why do you do it? Are there challenges on your way?

Yes. I am not going to lie about it; there are many challenges that come along with the type of fashion I choose to follow, not only with the Muslim community which I am from but with the Eritrean community in general. As we all know, our culture is very conservative in almost every way. But I want to change that as a designer. I want to let them know that fashion keeps upgrading with seconds and if we want to keep up in the fashion industry, we have to come up with works that are proficient. I am not saying that we have to change our culture; I want to make that clear. Nonetheless, we can share our culture with the world through a different dimension. We have the passion; we have the willingness to be recognized internationally as one of the best designers in the fashion world. In order to achieve that, we have to make changes to our ways and compete with other designers. It is time we try to keep up with the world. That is all I say.

  • You work with many Eritrean artists. Would you please tell us some of the works you did with some of them?

I mostly do outfits for music videos. To mention a few, I worked with Millen Hailu, Tsegu, and Yared Negu of Ethiopia. Working with the artists opened a door for me to be creative and to work harder. I first ask them to give me the audio to listen to so that I could have an idea about the story they are telling. It is only then that I decide what kind of outfits to come up with. You know, it’s not only the song and acting that tell the full story; clothes are also another portion of the story.

  • Sabrin, tell us about the fashion shows you presented; how challenging is it to host a show?

Well, the first show you do as a designer is usually a loss. You only do it to be recognized and have a name. Hosting a solo show is very challenging. I have already hosted five fashion shows in Asmara and Massawa. As I told you, my first show wasn’t beneficial. But I did my second show with Firewerk Hair styles, which was far better than my first one. I am also thinking of doing a show at the Geez New Year which will include an African style as well.

  • We wish you the best of luck; anything you want to add?

I wish that people would get the right understanding of what fashion is. An outfit doesn’t define who you are; it defines an era. We are in an era when fashion has taken over the world and we need to be a part of it.
I also want to express my gratitude to my mother, Fatma Ibrahim. She is the one who supports me to work hard and inspire me to achieve my dreams. I also want to thank all my fans for their unconditional support they extend.
You can follow Sabrin on Instagram: Sabicouture