Born into fashion, Jean Louis Sabaji was destined to follow the same path his family had followed. Jean Louis’ family owned a fashion house, which meant he was surrounded by design. From an early age you could find him playing around with the different fabrics, textiles and sewing machines. Before getting a Master’s degree in Fashion Design in Milan, Sabaji graduated with a Bachelors in Graphic Design in Lebanon; “I was always into art and I knew I was going to end up with a career in a creative field”. It wasn’t until his love for fabrics and colors started emerging that he realized his true passion was in design and designing women’s clothing.
With a thirst for knowledge, Sabaji has a craving for learning about all things new and different, he never wants to stop learning and drawing inspiration from everything he takes in. “As a designer I also have to keep moving upwards, I always need to challenge myself and do better with each collection, at the end I need to keep the consumer happy and interested.” Before beginning to even think about designs for a new collection, he always chooses a theme for each collection. This theme could change up to several times before he is happy with the final theme title.
The seasons are a great influence on the type of materials Sabaji chooses as he is mostly inspired by nature “I love everything that it offers, all the genuine elements are for me a gift from life”, but this is only one step in the process, for Sabaji, getting lost in his research and sketches had to be his favourite and most exciting part of being a designer. His Spring/Summer '16 collections have to be two of his favourite collections, as he drew inspiration from Jackson Pollock, an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was well known for his unique style of drip painting. It’s a collection that manifests paintings coming to life on the woman’s body.
Can you tell us a bit more about your previous collections?
“Most of my previous collections were inspired by mother nature, I love floral themes and I use them in an exaggerated way by emphasizing the size of the flowers."
“The Fall-Winter 2012/2013 collection: It was mostly inspired by birds; I recreated feathers using embroidery and fabric layering. The Spring-Summer 2013 collection: Flowers mostly inspired my collection where the floral trend was built like never before. I brought to life plants, roses and petals and gave us vivid dresses. The Fall-Winter 2013/2014 collection: I discovered Nature in further depth and made reptiles his new creative stimulators. I gave back to the woman the skin she had millions of years ago when the earth was only covered in water. The Spring-Summer 2014 collection: My main inspiration was fruits, flowers and insects. The whole collection involves tense material work and a vibrant color scheme. The Fall-Winter 2014/2015: I got inspired by birds, I recreated feathers in different a kind of way, never using real ones. I gave the woman a new skin and wings to fly. The Spring-Summer2015: The victorian era was the main inspiration in this collection, a time were floriography was popular which was very present in the cuts, colors and fabrics. The Fall-winter 2015/2016: This collection was all about tree limbs, the pieces represented a forest in white and gold, the only flore in the collection was the woman. I believe in couture because I love the close co-operation with clients and I believe that it keeps handicrafts alive.”
As a designer the most difficult and the most important aspect is time management and discipline, being able to juggle creating two collections a year while still dedicating time to his clients and custom made pieces is not a task everyone can do. Being a designer is all about challenging yourself and making each of your collection better and more exciting than the last, but what is important is keeping the consumer happy and wanting more.
With a hope to keep moving forward and a goal to create wearable art and extend the brand, Jean Louis Sabaji hopes to encourage women to be more daring when it comes to fashion, for young aspiring designers to not play safe and to always think out the box. It is safe to say that Jean Louis Sabaji’s designers will inspire many.