Dara Hamarneh creates cross cultural leather accessories that stand the test of time. Made in Italy, operating from London and designed in Jordan, the true essence of the brand is versatility. Dara’s main goal is to push for a slower, more educated approach to fashion by creating a classic product communicated in a contemporary fashion.
1: Who is Dara Hamarneh (the person)?
An opinionated old woman trapped in a 23 year old's body.
2: What is Dara Hamarneh (the brand)?
A way of thinking, subtle but out there.
3: How did you start?
I was tired of applying for jobs that put me in a box, my degree was so all over the place - i loved product development but i also liked imagery and content creation, i couldn't see myself doing just one thing. so i decided to try putting all the things that i liked together and making my own job I guess.
4: Where are the DH handbags made?
5: Who is DH for?
A forward thinking individual that has an appreciation for quality and design in the broader sense, someone that isn't afraid of questioning the norm but also isn't afraid of being silent.
6: Where do you get your inspiration(s) from?
Space age, the 90s (so cliche), what future humans are going to look like, what are they going to wear, what are they gonna use that we use today.
7: Describe your creative process.
It's more technical than creative I would say, my goal is to create a lasting product, so I try to think of silhouettes that people need.
8: How do you get 'unstuck' creatively?
Leave it alone, come back later.
9: What is your design approach?
Because it's handbags, I imagine what someone is wearing and based on my vision create something that goes with that, it's also more practical than fanciful, I think.
10: How would you describe your work and influences?
I'm obsessed with "normcore" and how some people can make anything look cool and timeless.
11: What would you say is the future for design?
New materials entering mass markets.
12: Design school never ends. How do you learn and grow your knowledge and expertise as a designer?
At the end of the day schools are also businesses so don't overstay your welcome, working in the industry and trying things on your own is what will shape you.
13: Who do you look up to? & why?
My parents, I feel like parents are such a crucial part of how a person is going to turn out, and they have so much responsibility, they're like super humans. my mom also had a really nice closet so that helps.
14: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Would you be open to expanding beyond handbags?
I hope I will have the luxury of going beyond handbags, getting into clothes would be cool.
15: What are the challenges you face in the Middle East today?
There's so much to say lol, I'd say the greatest challenge is the lack of resources but also feeling like a needle in a haystack 99% of the time also sucks. There is also, unfortunately, a lack of education / appreciation for education.
16: What are your thoughts on the Middle Eastern fashion/ accessories industry?
17: We know you’ve only just recently launched, but has there a moment in your career thus far which felt surreal?
Seeing the finished product with my name on it was super cool and I think seeing someone carrying one of products will always be pretty weird.
18: What is next for DH?
Working in one product category is quite awkward for fashion terminology, but hopefully more products coming soon.
19: What advice would you give to a young Middle Eastern reader wanting to pursue a career in the arts?
Do your research, work hard, don't be shy.
20: What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion?
I hate the bandwagon but it definitely is important, and some brands truly are trying to make a difference, I think it just depends on the approach and how transparent the story is.
21: Would you say DH is sustainable?
Sustainable has so many subcategories - for now I can confidently say that my supply chain is transparent and fair and the scale of the project thus far has been sustainable. There is definitely more that can be done, but that will come with time.
RANDOM DH FACTS
22: What is your favourite colour?
23: Favourite cuisine (and item of food)?
I can't live without fries.
24: Favorite brand?
Can change depending on my mood but will always love Acne, Jil Sander, Helmut Lang & Hermes.
25: Favourite instagram account(s)?
26: Favourite item you own and why?
Balenciaga motorcycle bag because it never gets old.
27: Vacation of choice?
Anywhere by the sea.
28: Which of your personality traits have been the most useful and why?
Persistence - I am a nightmare if I don't get what i want so..
29: If you had to create a law that everyone had to obey. What would it be and why?
Stop eating meat it's gross.
30: What’s the most interesting thing you've read or seen this week?
That some people think corona virus is linked to the beer.
31: What skill or craft would you like to master?
Making furniture would be so cool.
32: Do you believe things happen for a reason? Why?
ummmmmm I do and I don't, it's a really easy way of just letting things happen instead of taking initiative but then sometimes in certain situations it does make sense.
33: If the internet wasn't invented- how do you think we would be?
How do you think we would be? Either extremely smart or extremely stupid.
34: What is a superstition you believe/ used to believe?
I'm Arab, evil eye of course.
Interview by: ILNA COLLECTIVE
Creative Direction: Seif Umaar
Photography: Saif Umaar
Model: Soraya M