The judges at Fashion Scout's SS17 selection panel, including Fashion Scout Founder & Creative Director Martyn Roberts, were throughly impressed by Sana Aloui’s collection, especially the images of Sana's grandmother wearing her designs. We couldn’t resist finding out more!
The team here loved the idea behind your grandma wearing your clothes, why did you choose to do this?
My grandmother’s stubborn and quirky personality was the initial inspiration for the collection, so it just felt right. My sister and photographer, Ranya Aloui, and I collaborated on the shoot, and making it a family affair really aligned with my intention for project. So often we see fashion taken out of context and put on a standard model; I wanted something more intimate.
Can you tell us the inspiration behind the title of your collection ‘What Makes An American?’
What Makes An American is inspired by my grandmother’s identity as a Chinese-American immigrant to the United States, her multi-cultural contradictions, and the contemporary dissociation of immigrant identity from American identity. It’s a melting pot of 70’s Americana, rickrack on denim, and my grandmother at a crazy 4th of July party.
I can see from your website that you chose to dye your fabrics yourself, can you tell me more about your process?
Textiles are a starting point and major inspiration to me. I work with screen-printing, dyeing, and knitting my own textiles on a manual-knitting machine. Most garments start out as I explore new fabrications; I like everything to be very hands-on because these textiles tell my story.
Are you inspired by the things around you or by particular people/places?
I’ve had the great privilege of traveling a lot when I was young to places like Japan and Egypt where I was inspired by rich textile traditions. Traveling and feeling nomadic has influenced my practice a lot, but also left me with a desire to honor local traditions and make work that speaks to a local environment and people.
If you could pick one person to wear your garments, who would it be?
What’s your favourite look from the collection?
It changes every time I see someone new wearing it. I love my knitted red stripe top with the yellow poppy pants. The pants were inspired by an actual pair of pajama pants my grandmother wears and made from a tablecloth.
Where do you see the future of your brand?
I would like to have a small studio that produces handmade knitwear, printed and dyed garments, maybe one or two collections maximum per year. I’m interested in the intersection of art and design, approaching branding as an art piece, and saying something about the local environment. I’d love to collaborate with friends to open a collective store/ restaurant/ farm and studio space, where many artists can come together and see the whole process of making, as well as the lifestyle of the brand.
I can see you take great pride in the process of your design what is your favourite part of bringing together a collection, the research, the design or the construction?
I like each stage more at different times; right now I would say construction because I’m loving working on my knitting machine and there is nothing greater than the feeling of pulling a new panel of fabric off the needles! Making things by hand is a true joy.
Why did you choose to get in touch with Fashion Scout and how did you hear about us?
I am always looking for organisations that aid emerging designers and I was drawn to Fashion Scout’s international roster of designers who all have distinctive styles. Creating a network of designers through organizations like FS is important as a young brand.