Alissar Hammoud Shakes it Up

Emerging Designer Alissar Hammoud was selected as an emerging designer to show her label ALISSAR.H last week at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia as part of the ST.GEORGE NEXTGEN show. NEW K!D decided to get the lowdown about the build-up to MBFWA and find out why it’s important for new designers to put their work on the runway.

Alissar focused on styling and accessories. Photo credit: @everylastsecond

What kind of prep was needed and did you have a 'game-plan'? 

Initially I had no game plan. I applied for Project NextGen in late December and with the support of Flaunter Media I ended up being a finalist and eventually one of four winners to preview at MBFW. Then from February onwards it was crunch time and my main plan was to make sure I had 10 looks developed that reflected my signature aesthetic and showcased a new approach to denim that Australia hadn't seen before.

I also wanted to highly consider styling and accessories in the show, which funnily enough took up most of my time. We had to show between 8-10 looks so I ended up adding four extra looks to my graduate collection. I also collaborated with a jersey maker (adding more under garments), and worked with a leather maker to create denim/leather belts. On top of that I introduced eyewear with copper embellished straps. 

Allisar's collection backstage at MBFW. Photo credit: @everylastsecond.

Allisar's collection backstage at MBFW. Photo credit: @everylastsecond.

What's the most enjoyable (and most stressful) part of showing at MBFW? 

This was the first time I had showed my collection as an emerging designer who was no longer holding the student or graduate title. So it was exciting to see things come together with my own instincts and spontaneous decision making. I definitely became a lot more confident during the lead-up to the show and found solutions to every problem, which was something I probably couldn’t do a couple of months ago. 

I guess the only stress that comes to mind was dressing the models on the actual day of the show. Every look had a strategy to it and many layers, so it was about getting those garments on the models the right way within the restricted time, and hoping it ran smoothly!

Why did you want to show at MBFW?

I believe it's important to bring an innovative vision to the Australian market, so my involvement was literally to shake things up and away from the commercial scene. And knowing that MBFW would be such a great platform for exposure and networking I also hoped that by showing my collection it would open doors for more conceptual clothing and thinking.

Conceptual denim layers backstage at MBFWA. Photo credit: @everylastsecond

You recently showed a collection at iD Fashion Week in New Zealand. How are the opportunities different in comparison to the MBFW NEXT GEN show?

My intentions were completely different for iD where I was talking to my current collection and the workmanship, whereas with MBFW I was more future-focused and displaying the beginnings of what's to come from my label, ALISSAR.H. 

MBFW is focused on the marketing and growth of a brand and offers young and emerging designers the opportunity to showcase their work alongside well recognised and elite brands with the same amount of encouragement. So for the NEXTGEN show we were given input into the selection of models at castings, hair and make-up and production and music, which really prepared us for the realities of having an independent label, which is so rare!

Alissar (left) backstage at the NEXTGEN show. Photo credit: @everylastsecond

Alissar (left) backstage at the NEXTGEN show. Photo credit: @everylastsecond

Who came to your show and what kind of feedback did you get from attendees at the event?

MBFW provided us with a delegate list which included buyers, stylists, photographers and magazines. So we got to hand pick who we wanted to invite. I had the chance to invite key buyers such as Lane Crawford, ASOS, Opening Ceremony and Net-a-Porter, which was pretty exciting! There have been some promising opportunities and offers that have come from the show...

What advice would you give to other young designers wanting to show at this event?  

It is so rare that any fresh graduate or emerging brand will have the chance to make their own decisions and be as experimental as they want to be, unless they involve themselves in shows such as NEXTGEN. The creative freedom and personal input is definitely once in a lifetime, so definitely give it a go!  

ALISSAR.H boots are made for walking. Photo credit: @everylastsecond

ALISSAR.H boots are made for walking. Photo credit: @everylastsecond