Showcases fashion with a meaning for Syrian refugees

The Bridging Spring/Summer 2018 collection represents luxurious streetwear with a meaningful message. Bridging is inspired by the experiences of the Israeli fashion designer, Michal Hidas. She volunteered to help Syrians in refugee camps in Greece and at an Israeli hospital, and continues to assist refugees on a daily basis. She was moved by the words and recurring symbols expressed by the refugees, and with the help of a Palestinian architect from Gaza (who, for his safety, cannot be named) and Max Noize, a calligrapher from Jerusalem, collaborated to create the Bridging 2018 collection.

Bridging 2018 aims to raise awareness, spark conversation and action, as well as to give voice to the desperate plight of Syrians through the language and medium of fashion. Part of the profits generated by the collection will go towards NGOs assisting Syrian refugees. The collection consists of striking and remarkable pieces that incorporate the Syrians’ words and iconography. Words, such as “escape” and “freedom” are interpreted in English using Arabic calligraphy, while sentences in Arabic expressing the refugees’ strength, hopes and dreams are woven into printed patterns. Symbols that repeatedly occur in the refugees’ drawings, such as caged birds and outstretched arms, appear in the pieces as part of a pattern or as stand alone icons.

The Bridging 2018 collection consists of four parts, mirroring the way the Syrian refugees view their experiences. The first, representing the ideal of life before the war, is made up of clean, white, soft and comfortable garments which are “stained” by symbols that reflect the challenges of life in pre-war Syria. The second part represents the revolution and outbreak of war where the boundaries of daily life were shattered and Syrians left vulnerable by the ravages of war. These pieces are characterized by chaotic patterns and revealed skin, symbolizing the people’s lack of control and the breakdown of conservative society. The third part traces the refugees’ going into exile and the need for more practical clothing to be worn on the journey, while also reflecting the Syrians’ identity and the desire to not leave their culture and humanity behind. An example of a piece from this part combines a denim jumpsuit with a soft silk, patterned apron dress. The final part of the collection reflects the refugees’ hopes and dreams for the future, as well as its uncertainty. These bold pieces are inspired by traditional gowns with modern interpretations that express the Syrians’ need to face challenges in the future, such as deciding what they can keep of their heritage and what to leave behind.

Bridging 2018 is part of a recurring series of high-end fashion collections by Hidas that aim to shine a light on complex and difficult global issues, making them accessible to a wide audience. By designing unique prints in bold colors, with eye-catching silhouettes, in a brave and unlikely collaboration, Hidas hopes to open people’s hearts, minds and eyes.

Hidas at NYFW: Maarkah – Studio 450, 450 West 31st Street, New York, NY – September 11th, 6-9pm