25-year-old fashion designer Sheryn Akiki makes clothes for “women on the run”, with off-key tailoring and intentionally creased fabrics evocative of “a lady gone wrong, improperly going about her daily doings,” she explains.
But for Beirut-born Akiki – who graduated from Central Saint Martins’ prestigious MA course in February this year, receiving the L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award for her collection – there is also a political undercurrent to her designs. With references to getting dressed in a rush, she comments on lives lived in Middle-Eastern conflict zones, where the threat of having to flee at a moment’s notice is ever-present.
“I believe that the inexplicable feeling you get when you put on a coat or a skirt you love before leaving your house in the morning is extremely powerful, personal, and relatable,” she says. “For me, It’s about going back to that joie de vivre and enforcing it in a time of chaos.” After seven years at CSM (where Akiki also completed her undergraduate degree, showing a final collection that saw models accessorised with cigarettes and lipsticks in what appeared to be bullet holders), she is beginning work on a new collection, a short film, and several collaborative projects.