One thing that people are constantly looking for -subconsciouly, most of the times- is something to relate to. A triggering of memory & senses every once in a while, when they know they need it and when they don’t. Serendipity of emotional attachment, if you prefer.
While my visit in Tel Aviv, one autumnal evening, designer Naomi Maaravi & I met. Her boutique was a warm little place where it was evident that she’d personally put pieces of her life into it. I wanted to get to know the story behind. Little did I know that Naomi was a storyteller herself. Of the sartorial kind.
She has the rare talent of redesigning old clothes that bare a story with them, into shiny & new ones. So, their story goes on & gets enriched by new adventures.
After a couple of months & some more later, Naomi & I had a chat -some may call it an interview too- about memory, style & stories so you can see into how many shades inspiration can be unfolded.
(Spoiler: Much more than Grey.)
Take a look!
On the beginning & identity
I am a Dutch designer studied in the Netherlands fashion textile and theater costumes. I have an extensive experience in the world of clothes without boarders: in theater, dance (Bianca van Dillen), music (Candy Dulfer) and fashion from underwear (Delta for ck, Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren etc.) to outerwear (NafNaf, Mexx etc.), from baby (Shilav) to wedding, from Holland to Israel through Milan & Paris with love and passion through work and through life.
The story began 12 years ago when I made my first piece for my daughter. It was a dress I created from a pair of jeans my husband had worn out. My father did that. He never threw anything away, never ever. He created a new world out of items the were considered having no value anymore. Milk bottles became lamps. Strings and ropes were made into carpets or seats. Combinations of old bikes, appliances and garments became interesting, new, useful or just lovable objects. My father taught me that every item has value, no matter how old or broken up, everything has a soul, an identity. Behind every object there is a story.
As a result of my father’s teaching, I considered that every garment has a personality, something that makes it unique, individual and precious. Like the person to whom it belonged. I give the stories their continuation. I re-use my own collected high-end materials or the emotional & valuable personal materials given to me by my clients to create new stories, new garments, different & unique. I put my heart in every piece I create like a writer puts something of himself into the story he tells.
My memories, events, happiness, sadness are all parts of the material I use, blended to create unique garments with stories of their own. I worked in several companies but it was my husband who gave me my life present, to realize and fulfil my dream in all its facets, emotionally, technically & by belief. [The fact] that I have a store (laboratory) today is because of my husband who wanted so much to fulfill my dream - he was the one who said “quit your job”; he was the one who came home one day and said “I found you a place”; he is the one who made my dream tangible.
On the favourite story
The one from Yael, now 67 but when she was (I believe) 10 years old her mother made a dress for her for a party Yael was afraid the dress will not finish on time, her mother calmed her down, but …her mother died.Yael kept all the unfinished garments (sweaters yarns etc.) in a bag who her brother used in child hood for his marbles. On her 67 she came to me to make something out of it .. I used a blanket of the grand father of my kids, knitted sleeves from her left over yarns and started to tell her story by sewing .. it became a wonderful coat where mainly inside the story is told.
Memory is something you capture or suddenly remind you by some of your senses… It brings you back or it can capture something you don’t want to loose.. For me, an essence and safety feeling.
On her photography wall
When i lived in Milan just when i finished fashion school i was 22; poor, hardworking and bit lonely .. So i started to hang pictures of my loved ones; I could see them, talk to them share etc it was the time without Internet mobiles, faxes and a phone abroad was extremely expensive. From then on photo wall moved with me it wherever I was wherever I am, also at home! I believe it started as a kind of Facebook page for that time and still is a memory communication platform (also my books are like that and my clothes too - collecting and communicating).
On each story’s creation
I do not come up with a story, i listen to the people who have stories and i try to tell them further, or i get inspired from things like a camera and then try to see what are the possibilities to tell also another story then the purpose of the camera (they became jewelries).
On personal style & the plethora of fashion bloggers
To me personal style means personality means, you express yourself via clothes; lots of people need clothes to belong to something .. Personal style is more expression of yourself. I personally like fashion bloggers - they use the new media and that is OK truly, I am personally more connected to the bloggers who have something to say than the ones who like to show themselves. But if I do not like to look at it there is a button. I like the Internet because “I can be everywhere in the world” if I want to.
On future stories
Not really [longing for any particular one]. I get excited when suddenly someone comes in with stuff, tells the story and I feel like I need to do it. I wish for more time and more understanding of the value of the process and outcome in money. Maybe when I get wedding dresses from the mothers and I make a new one for the new wedding or I make a piece for my kids out of the story of me my husband and even generations before.
On sentiment & fashion and the danger of ending in the “trend pile”
[I find] the word “fashion” a difficult word . I am personally not connected to fashion as a look only. I find it unpleasant that fashion can manipulate people to feel that they are not beautiful as they are they have to look thin young and perfect. I like people and I like the in perfection because that makes us special. Further I like fusions, I like morals, I like intelligence, I like emotions, I like feelings, I like that we care about what we have. Fashion is so often running; I like the part of slow fashion and awareness. Trends are moments, moments that are at time interested us. So if at the moment we are more attached to sentiment good for us! I do what I like, what I love with love, surrounded by a team that have the same values and I hope that people are connected to it and want to be part of it.
To be a part of it, follow Naomi Maaravi’s world here
Images by Naomi Maaravi
Edit by Eau de Style