During Whataboutery 02, FDFA talks to Arnhem-based designers Zyanya Keizer, Yousra Razine Mahrah, Mehdi Mashayekhi and Lisa Konno who are part of the inner-city exhibition. Language: Dutch

Zyanya Keizer
Tribute to Mexican Craftsmanship
Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Fashion), Antwerp, fashion designer
FDFA 2024 in Arnhem city centre: photo exhibition
Title: Binhe (Zapotec for ‘seed’)

“My work connects fashion with art. During FDFA 2024, I will showcase photos of my project in Mexico, where I grew up and lived until I was nineteen. It is a tribute to the hard work of Mexican artisans. During my studies in Antwerp, I realised that my love for
detailing in fabrics and materials, which I grew up with in Mexico, was not always understood here. The production process is very labour-intensive, but this is often not apparent.”

“I love storytelling. My clothing designs are made from small pieces of Mexican handicrafts: beads or the fabric used for hammocks. They tell the life stories of the makers in Mexico.

I personally love the combination of craftsmanship and experimentation. This is how I create fashion that is sometimes very sculptural but still allows for movement. When you create something with your hands, you are more connected to what you do. I want to make people aware of the time and care it takes to produce a vase, rug, hammock, or tableware. And that it yields relatively little, while it is a livelihood for many people. Hopefully, this will connect the maker and the user more closely.”

Design by Zyanya Keizer

Yousra Razine Mahrah
Increasingly in Balance
Yousra Razine Mahrah, fashion designer
Custom Fashion, ROC Hilversum (2018)
Menswear and Tailoring, ROC Hilversum (2019)
ArtEZ, Fashion Design (2023)
FDFA 2024 in Arnhem city centre: photo installation
Title: Ikfha (‘To be concealed’ in Fosha – Arabic)

“My first collection was mainly about my personal struggle growing up in a practising Islamic family. During the design process, I tried to find, play with, and merge the boundaries between these worlds.

I have now learned to embrace these two versions of myself much more — the free Yousra, who wears make-up and behaves more freely, and the more covered, modest Yousra. I have started practising my faith more, which has brought more harmony. Since last year, I have been praying again. This places me right in the middle of these two worlds. And you can see this in my second
collection, which will be showcased in September during Amsterdam Fashion Week.”

Exciting Combinations
“I also seek tension in the use of materials, which sometimes results in technical challenges or seemingly impossible combinations. For example, using transparent fabrics that still cover the skin, or metal overlaid with lace fabric. Just like in my own life, it sometimes requires switching; it doesn’t always come naturally. But it always results in exciting combinations. The balance lies in the middle, and that brings more peace.”

Design by Yousra Razine Mahrah

Mehdi Mashayekhi
Wood as a Metaphor for Domesticity
BA Design & Styling (2018), ArtEZ University of the Arts, designer
BA Applied Chemistry (2011), Tehran, Iran
FDFA 2024 in Arnhem city centre: photos and film footage of wooden
clothing collection
title: CHOUB (Farsi for home)

“Twelve years ago, I came to the Netherlands from Iran for my then love. Such an immigration is quite a big step; you have to reinvent yourself, so to speak. New country, different culture, different norms and values. I also started studying at ArtEZ, focusing on textile design and fashion. Quite different, as in Tehran I studied applied chemistry. In my final year, I conducted a study on the chemistry of wood for my graduation project. Wood reminds me of our home
in Tehran, where the entire living room was covered with wood veneer. Everything happened in that living room: eating, sitting together, talking, watching TV. For me, wood still stands for homely, safe, home.”

“I have a fascination for materials, high technology, and craftsmanship. This
is reflected in my designs. In my collection of wooden garments,
everything comes together. I design using SolidWorks, a program for
modelling 3D drawings. From 5-millimetre thin plywood, I cut
the pattern pieces with a laser machine.
You could see this processed wood as a metaphor for a migrant who
has to adapt to a new society, while the core remains
the same. This is also a difficult process with a lot of experimenting, trial and error.
But if you make an effort, you can create something very beautiful.”

Tip: Mehdi’s work can be seen until 17 August during the ‘Amstelveen Triennial’
at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen.

Design by Mehdi Mashayekhi

Lisa Konno
Contradictory Beauty Ideals of the Netherlands and Japan
Fashion Design, ArtEZ Arnhem (2014), artist and designer
FDFA 2024 in Arnhem city centre: photo exhibition of objects
title: The Porcelain Body

“In my project The Porcelain Body, I combine textiles with porcelain, as a result of a residency in Arita (Japan). Arita has been renowned for its porcelain craftsmanship for over 400 years. A lot of porcelain was exported from Arita to the Netherlands and other European countries. To keep this craft alive, they invite artists each year who do not necessarily work with porcelain but would like to, for an interdisciplinary project.”

Exciting Material Experiment
“In Arita, I made porcelain for the first time. It was an exciting material experiment in which I reversed the properties of textiles and porcelain. I tried to treat porcelain as textile by allowing it to move naturally. Conversely, I hardened textiles to make them much sturdier.

I have both Dutch and Japanese roots. I wanted to create fashion and objects that explore the contradictory beauty ideals in the Netherlands and Japan. That’s why many of the objects have elements of traditional Dutch clothing, but also kimono elements and Japanese knots that you see in temples. In this way, I want to show how our ideas of beauty are subject to time and culture.”

Lisa Konno – The Porcelain Body can be seen until 16 June at Museum JAN,

[all interviews: Nicole Beaujean | N.B tekst & advies]

Design by Lisa Konno