In the final interview for our Class of 2017 spotlight series, we caught up with Alissar Hammoud from UTS. Alissar is an emerging designer with a clear sense of self – she knows exactly what her label represents and why. We especially loved her take on who she’s designing for; a rebellious mashup of a young Winona Ryder on the cover of the rolling stones and an old school Gwen Stefani from her No Doubt days. So good.
 
YOU SEEM TO WORK WITH DENIM A LOT. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS MEDIUM YOU PARTICULARLY LOVE?
There’s an admirable thrill and something quite significant about working with denim, as you are not only creating clothing but finding new ways to generate meaning to a fabric with rich history and tradition. I was able to respect the origins of denim yet ambiguously apply lamination and vinyl heat transfers to the medium and people were still able to recognise what it was through the classic top stitching or functional seams. I always found it rewarding to be able to endlessly deconstruct, experiment and rejuvenate the iconic features of denim into a wearable garment while simultaneously resonate a sense of familiarity.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE ABOUT THE CONCEPT BEHIND YOUR GRADUATE COLLECTION?
The Carrier AW 18 collection explored migration, movement and what it meant to shelter the body using solidly denim. I explored the urban nomad, the adaptability of a garment and developed designs that gestured the tactility and motifs of a ‘bag’ and ultimate survival. Challenging the conventions of the functional and utilitarian bag I started to deconstruct and regenerate unpredictable forms by unpicking and further draping with secondhand backpacks, classic denim pieces and work-wear uniform. My garments became grounded by precise seams, body-less proportions and encompassed a variety of surface treatments such as lamination, stone and acid washing and creased vinyl heat transfers. I wanted to respond to the idea of sheltering the body as a home using seamless and structure variations of denim.
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WHO ARE YOU DESIGNING FOR – WHO’S YOUR TARGET MARKET?
I never really worked with a target market, I preferred designing with a muse, a set of keywords and the integrity to elongate the female body. I always envisioned a 1994 Winona Ryder on the cover of the rolling stones meets old school Gwen Stefani (back in her No Doubt days) in my clothing – a rebellious, youthful yet powerful female.
WHAT IS THE FIRST PIECE OF FASHION YOU EVER LOVED?
When I first saw the Helmut Lang 1999 collection it was mesmerizing to see how a designer could introduce classic cuts with a militaristic twist. I became aware of the conceptual side of fashion through the legacy of Lang and always dreamed to wear one of his nineties velcro bulletproof vests or jacket backpacks. Today, his work is still planted all over my mood boards and process work.
WHERE WOULD BE YOUR DREAM PLACE TO WORK AS A DESIGNER IN THE FUTURE?
New York.
Denim is an iconography of American culture so it would be incredibly fulfilling to work within the roots and heritage of the material. It would be a huge accomplishment to see people wearing my modern-day versions of denim staple pieces across Time Square and have wearers appreciate both the craftsmanship and narrative of the clothing.
NOW THAT YOU’VE GRADUATED, WHAT’S NEXT ON THE CARDS FOR YOU?
I want to collaborate and apply for internships internationally so that I learn and mature from upcoming industry leaders, as well as apply for masters in one of the elite design schools. Either one would be a great starting point and could assist with my continual specialisation in denim, global networking and potentially help with creating my own Australian label.

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You can find and follow Alissar on Instagram at @alissarh____ and at her website alissarh.com.
Image credits: Photographers – Ray Ranoa; Models – Lily Habermehl & Daisy Hofstetter