Editor-in-chief Nichelle Cole grabs a few minutes with Rad Hourani, the Jordan-born Canadian based designer, photographer and artist known for his neutral genderless creations, to talk about his new eyewear collaboration with VAVA eyewear titled VAVA+Rad Hourani which opened Berlin Fashion Week last July.
My main rules: genderless, timeless, seasonless, ageless, straight, symmetrical and involving of long shapes -Rad Hourani
Hello Mr. Hourani, I am a very big fan of your work. I’ve followed your RTW & Couture shows in Paris for years! It is a pleasure to meet you and I’m excited to chat with you about the new collaboration with VAVA eyewear!
A pleasure to meet you too!
The moodboard for the collection referenced brutish architecture, cloudy skies and a red, white and blue color palette. I expect a moody but sleek and minimal aesthetic for the collection.
I created 8 art pieces for the launch of the VAVA collaboration in Berlin which were based on the function of the eye and how it captures light, color, shape etc. I wanted this artwork to represent neutral images that are not connected to a conditioned mental image. For me sunglasses are used to not only protect your eye organ but to also protect you from a certain energy that can be influential to your thoughts.
Can you talk a little more about what exactly was the inspiration behind the design?
I must say that I think a great deal about myself when designing. Of course, I didn’t create a brand just for my own sake, but I believe that using what I would like to wear as a starting point for the design process is the most truthful and straightforward approach. It allows me to stay focused on my aesthetic and assess my commitment to wearability, functionality and comfort.
Also I have always been interested in creating something that looks minimal but is complex to make. For me, that is the most challenging part of my work. I also admire the craftsmanship of making something extremely luxurious without it being showy. Attending to complexity and simplicity at the same time is a very long process that I am very interested in.
The product photo doesn’t give us much to go on. I’m super curious for the big reveal! What can we expect from the collection?
I wanted to make a collector sunglasses objet that gives the wearer a bold presence without looking contrived or overdone. It’s about apparent simplicity with refinement in the details. I designed a geometrical shape to come alive through the style and personality of the wearer. I would like people to feel confident and powerful, sort of like a weightless armor.
Straight, sharp, new and slick.
What brought you to the attention of the VAVA eyewear brand?
Pedro da Silva introduced us. I liked that the VAVA brand had a very clear style, I admire people who have an identity. And of course the quality of VAVA was important to me – such as their use of real lenses which is very rare today.
How does this collaboration play into your general aesthetic for the Rad Hourani brand and how does it tie into the VAVA brand?
VAVA has a signature style, and I wanted to keep that in mind. When you collaborate with a house or designer, I think it’s good to keep their identity in a way and work within that. It’s not an easy thing to do, you really have to think a lot about stuff like working within the size, and you are sort of creating a new shape on top of a shape, which isn’t easy to do either. It’s challenging. I also found that it was natural for me to design and work from an architectural shape concept, (in a sense) both Rad Hourani and VAVA have a graphical way of design.
How does the collaboration coincide with the Rad Hourani “agender” brand?
VAVA shares the same vision of neutral forms that can be styled in a feminine or masculine way. So agender or genderless or unisex is very present in both of our DNA.
There was never a unisex pattern before I created one, so my process is always based on my original unisex canvas starting with my main rules: genderless, timeless, seasonless, ageless, straight, symmetrical and involving long shapes. Then I sketch a graphic shape that can become a building, a piece of furniture or sculpture. (The design process) is not limited to becoming only a garment, it can also become a pair of VAVA sunglasses.
What is happening with your new collection? Any tidbits you can share about upcoming projects and what to expect?
We are launching the VAVA+Rad Hourani sunglasses on our Eshop at the end of July at WWW.RADHOURANI.COM, and the new collaborations and exhibitions are coming soon, and a movie script is on the way …