Jordan isn’t a fashion capital—yet—but give Nafsika Skourti a few years. The native designer is getting style cred for her home country with an eponymous new brand that seams together the country’s rich history and its bright global potential.
“We think of Jordan as a childhood best friend,” explains Nafsika, who co-founded the line with her sister Stephanie. “You were close when you were 7, but [now] you’re completely different people. Being back in Jordan after studying [at Central Saint Martins in London and L’école Lesage in Paris] is a bit like that. On one hand, I am referencing a culture that is so familiar and unchanging. On the other, I am constantly finding beauty [by] mixing it with my contemporary point of view.”
“Building a brand in Jordan has come with challenges, but also successes for our community,” adds Stephanie, a former lawyer and alum of Goldman Sachs. “Pattern-cutters, models, photographers and stylists are very limited [in Jordan]… We work with the raw talent here, and help them grow.” That includes their atelier, which includes both local artisans and refugee women who learn expert embroidery and handiwork techniques.
But the label’s success is a delicate balance: They’re creating clothes for modern global women in a place with strict, and strictly enforced, dress codes. (On our trip to the country’s famous Citadel, Stephanie herself was stopped by local police because of her mid-length skirt, which exposed part of her legs.) Consider this: While their “Jerusalem” jacket recently got acquired by London’s Victoria & Albert Museum for being cool and inherently political, similar pieces were seized by Jordanian customs for being “controversial”—in other words, for being cool and inherently political.
For now, the sisters embrace and acknowledge the challenge. “As a brand that celebrates sexy, we are defying cultural norms for our part of the world and challenging global perceptions [of Jordanian women],” says Nafsika. “Differences can only be addressed through a real dialogue… The internet created an extra dimension of connection, [so now] borders do not matter.” But whether you’re wearing them in Amman or Chicago, Nafsika Skourti’s pieces definitely do.
To shop the collection visit nafsikaskourti.com