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Self-discovery comes in many forms, but for Israeli designer Eliran Nargassi fashion was a catalyst for his breakthrough. His final project “O.M.G.” for his Shenkar College graduation, is the sartorial translation of inner conflicts. In his interview for Menswear Style, Eliran Nargassi tells me all about it.
Your work with your brand "Eliran Nargassi" and the projection of your inner tension abour spirituality & individuality is giving us food for thought. Do you think that the designing process can work as a road to self-discovery?
"Of course. My way to create comes from a need to put together parts from my identity, roots and ideology, each time. My self-discovery is expressed in the final collection I made for Shenkar's graduation. The idea was born from my identity and my roots. It was important for me to keep my design aesthetics which is clean and minimalistic, in addition to dealing with gender conception. Blurring gender boundaries was made by silhouettes. For example, a long buttoned shirt that is used as a dress for a man, which confines a pants cutting or a male skirt which is made from a pants cutting".
Tell me a little bit about your project "Oh My God". How religion & self-awarness get interwined?
"The collection O.M.G is about a self-conflict - the tension between religion, secularity and sexual identity. It reflects the cyclic process I went through in my life, which led me to where I am today. I was born and raised in a religious home. On a certain point, my sexual orientation led me to the secular world. My work almost always dealt with the conflict between the religious and the secular worlds. These worlds are not always colliding, and in my final project, O.M.G, I was trying to create hybridization in clothes with elements from the religious world, secular world and gender conceptions".
How challenging is it, using clothes as an allegory to express such intense & life-changing inner conflicts?
"It is very challenging. A thinking process that forced me to put out all my inner truth. During my studies I learned how to translate abstract topics and emotions to a garment that tells a personal story".
With menswear style being under the spotlight, do you think that men are turning to more "narrative" appearances?
"Yes, but it depends on culture and place. I think that in Israel, where I come from, men dress mainly to be comfortable without a calculated intention or meaning, though there is a growing sense of fashion among men in Israel. I guess it connected to a similar change that occurs in the rest of the world".
As a young designer, how do you see this take on fashion as a "silent protest" evolving?
"The chances of turning into aesthetic anxolytics are looking good, aren't they? I do see it that way but I also think that this process has always been there, because the clothes a person wears are one of the first things that we notice. They create a kind of a first impression whether it's a status symbol or a self-expression".
Armour or selective narration: What men find more effective when it comes to dressing in order to preserve an intriguing image?
"I do see it that way but I also think that this process has always been there, because the clothes a person wears are one of the first things that we notice. They create a kind of a first impression whether it's a status symbol or a self-expression".
How do you picture the men of your upcoming collections?
"Now, I work on a small men collection which ranges between casual and tailored. I'm aiming for a man who is aware of himself aesthetically and fashionably updated. A man that will wear new silhouettes with minimalistic elements, and appreciates the small details".
One thing you want us to remember the "Eliran Nargassi" brand for?
"I would like to be remembers as a designer who reinvents, using emotion".
Photo credit: Boyfriend Magazine
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