Shaddy Ellian's innovative new line makes a statement in more ways than one.
There’s a lot to be said of fashion. Some dismiss it as the worst of humanity’s fad-culture. Others, however, believe that few disciplines reflect and contribute to society as much as it – something that Egyptian jewelry designer, Shaddy Ellian, not only believes in, but actively takes part in.
Last week, Ellian launched his third line, I Am Hayden; a cutting-edge collection that not only looks good, but one that was conceived as social commentary on women in Egyptian society.
The collection symbolically focuses on women's position in Egyptian society, but retains a touch off flair nonetheless. The inspiration found in the intricate details, from every stone, to every design is impeccably thought out, and references historical events and figures.
"I want women to wear my pieces and feel them," explains Ellian, whose objective is to inspire women to pay no heed to all the haters, so to speak, and revel in their own uniqueness.
This is a celebration of powerful women in history.
When asked about the meaning behind the name "Hayden", Ellian explains that he’d initially researched strong women in history and came up with a few Egyptian and Greek queens. Their names, though, were too hard to pronounce and he wanted something that rolled off the tongue. And that’s when he found inspiration from a random woman, a stranger, called Hayden.
“Hayden was a strong and unshackled woman. She had cancer and she had lost all her hair. Yet she projected herself so confidently and boldly and broke all the limits set in front of her by the disease. That’s how I think women should be. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being confident and beautiful, and disregarding society’s shackles. It’s about being the queen of your own kingdom”
Ellian, who's been interested in the fashion industry since he was 15-years-old, wasn't satisfied with what the market had to offer in terms of jewelry.
"I used to sketch my own design of pieces that I’d like to give to someone as a gift or have them made at a manufacturer. And that's when I decided to do it myself. Why not start my own designer line?" he exclaims excitedly.
The collection was shot in Dubai, but not behind closed doors. Ellian made a conscious decision to make a statement and take the collection to the streets, so as to maintain the spirit of the collection – one that invites women to break free. It also acts as a statement to alter the world’s perceived notion of Middle Eastern women and their fashion. He wants the world to know that Middle Eastern women are here to be seen and to be heard, in all their avant-garde glory.
This is not just a case of matching pretty colours with pretty shapes. In his pieces, Ellian likens women to the moon; an emblem of strength and freedom; ruler of the night. Everything has a meaning and significance that touches on the wider philosophy of the collection, as Ellian explained for each piece.
"This is a celebration of powerful women in history; its Mother Teresa’s coin."
"The necklace and bracelet are made up of little bar-shaped elements, a representation of women being trapped in a prison - the prison that is society."
"This choker has a padlock, but with Swarovski crystals shaped into a moon in the middle because you can't shut down the moon, the woman."
"Adorned with silver wings on either side, I want women to always remember to set flight, with the sky as their limit."
"This necklace is representative of the shackles they used to put on the ankles of slaves, with the chains and all. And the gem stone is symbolic of the moon, of being free. So the cuff is where society puts women and the gem is where she belongs, where she should be."
"This is my favorite piece. It represents balance. Basically how the rights of men and women are unbalanced in Egyptian society."
"The equation that allowed for the first man to land on the moon was the three circle bracket. And it was devised by a woman. That's why I have three circles on one end and one circle representing the moon on the other. And she is the moon, above the three circles."
You can find out more about Hayden here.