As I walked into Tania George’s gorgeous little pink cotton candy store in AlWeibdeh on a Thursday evening to meet Tania, my initial reaction was “wow, how times have changed.” I was taken back to my childhood, where playing in the ‘حارة ’ and chasing after the cotton candy man walking down the streets was the norm. The constant flashbacks through the beautiful, relatable prints on a Tania George garment felt surreal.
I was eager to find out more about Tania, her brand and her ever so loving relationship with home: Jordan.
Tania Haddad, is the designer and founder of Tania George. She was born and raised in Amman, Jordan and pursued a fashion design degree from Polimoda Fashion Institute in Florence. She discovered her love for textile design and print after working for the famous Italian printmaker Stamparia Fiorentina in Florence. She then moved to New York to work for the likes of Tibi and Moises De La Renta before deciding to move back to Jordan to launch her eponymous brand, Tania George.
I walked around Tania’s store, seeing regular every-day sights printed on a blazer such as the musical gas trucks, water trucks, or nostalgic snacks from our childhood such as the plastic covered cotton candy as well as the ‘بوشار’ crisps. I was eager to know where Tania gets her inspiration.
“I never search for inspiration(s)” she says, “I believe that it just comes to you! Sometimes I’m stuck in my ideas and I find myself struggling but once it hits, you can’t avoid it. For some reason I feel so alive when I’m in Jordan, all this chaos, the loudness, the people, the colors - it all speaks to me. I started to look at the things I see daily, in ways I’ve never seen before and that’s when I figured out that these are the sources of inspiration I NEED to be using!”
Tania’s love for her home-country is evident; she wants her brand to always stay true to itself and its origins. Tania says the brand will always represent Jordan and its heritage. Through Tania George, she wants to document the old, the new, the hidden gems, her 90’s childhood as well as the peculiar interests and behaviours which Jordanians have, that often go unnoticed by locals, such as the excessively decorated pickup trucks.
Her love for Jordan is not only in the form of inspirations, in fact, Tania insists on employing the Jordanian creative work force as much as she can. She carefully selects tailors from Jordan who she says “create magic from their homes around Amman and across Jordan” to produce the unique pieces we see today. Her commitment does not go unnoticed, even though her fabrics are printed in Italy, she says “if I have an idea that cannot be made in Jordan, we see how we can play around it and use what we already have and can be made.”
I ask Tania, what are the challenges you face in the Middle East? “It’s the lack of resources,” she says, “[…] but I’m so determined on producing everything in Jordan, so that puts me in a pickle; I try improvise a lot to figure out ways to work around that,” she chuckles and says “but with that being said, I don’t believe there’s a challenge that can’t be solved, after all, we are Arabs, there’s nothing we know better than improvising.”
As I continued to roam around Tania’s ‘نوفوتيه,’ I asked Tania, who’s the Tania George client? "Anyone!" she says “anyone can be a Tania George girl/boy. If you’re a young, old, quirky, curious, loud girl or/and boy who loves to own original pieces, explore and have fun wearing them, then Tania George is for you.” Tania’s pieces are sentimental, they are for customers who want to know how, where and what the story is behind the clothes they're wearing. She says the feedback regionally and internationally has been overwhelmingly positive; however, she finds it challenging getting people to wear them. You need to have an open mind to rock a Tania George garment, but once you put it on, you will realise that the clothes are fun and mixing colours and prints helps create a unique look.
Where do you see yourself in five years I ask? “TG going international baby!” she yells with excitement “I want to be telling stories and documenting Jordan to the world! I believe that when you really and truly believe in something, eventually all your hard work and determination pays off and people love seeing that!” So ‘what’s next?’ you may be wondering? “Something exciting is happening in December” she says, “I’m currently exploring new ideas that will speak to all the Arab world."
As part of our commitment to inspire those wanting to pursue a career in the creative field, we will be asking every designer we work with and feature to give our readers some advice. So - what advice would Tania give to anyone aiming to pursue a career in the creative industry? “Don’t be afraid to start!" she says. "Do what you want to do! When inspiration strikes, take advantage of that! Start small and grow naturally it’s a lot of responsibility to take on and I had no idea how intense it could get. Try not to take things personally, you can pour your heart and soul into something for someone to tell you it’s too expensive, try to mute these noises but always take feedback. Most importantly and the motto I live by: be genuine and true to yourself and your brand.”