Our Exclusive Interview With The Fashion Creative Director Uns Ghassib
Uns Ghassib is a Jordanian multidisciplinary creative director, costume designer & stylist known for curating creative content for editorial short films & images, TV commercials & brand campaigns, as well as runway shows.
In 2018 you received the LW Fashion Blogger of the Year Award, what inspired you to start blogging?
Well, “blogging” to me was more about having a creative outlet; sharing a visual insight of frames with the world. You see, I’ve always wanted to work as a creative in the fields of fashion and film. Mostly to merge them together and create evoking and inspiring art in the form of editorials, films, and media. I started with my digital video camera at the age of 11; documenting art, streets, outfits, friends’ gatherings, my baby brother at the time, and basically anything inspiring to me. Twenty-one years later, I still document what inspires me but across different mediums.
When Instagram emerged (before the term “influencer” was used and before we were able to post stories), it was pretty much instinctive to share some of the behind-the-scenes of any photoshoots I was working on, the TV show I was co-hosting in, art in Jordan and so on.
Receiving the LW Fashion Blogger of the Year Award back in 2018 was exciting. It just meant that I was doing ‘something right’ – and it only showed that the number of followers is not always directly proportional to the support and loyalty of the people that have been around for years watching you grow.
Describe Uns Ghassib’s personal style in 5 words.
Simple, edgy, effortless, both feminine and masculine.
When did you start Uns, The Studio?
Uns, The Studio has been in the works for a long time now. I was just on the path to building experience, growth, and knowledge in the industry. Being a part of the creative industries (fashion mostly) for 11 years now, I felt like it was time to showcase my work and recent projects. A personal and professional metamorphosis.
In a way, it felt like it legitimizes the passion and extremely hard work I have been putting in, a conclusion to almost a decade of trials and education. I decided to launch an Instagram page (@uns_thestudio) back in April and will continue to work hard on growing Uns, The Studio.
What are the essential qualities of a successful creative director?
Successful creative directors are leaders, and problem solvers, capable of applying their creativity through different mediums and styles. They are able to balance the clients’ wants while supporting their teams. They are mindful of the requirements and allocated cost of the project at hand. A very famous creative director once said: it is about being able to “really twist their brain to come up with ideas that make sense for what it is we have to deal with today”. The job requires promoting and ultimately selling a collection or a product while resonating with the targeted audience because your idea is authentic and has a voice. It is important to know all this is combined with what’s practical; what works. That’s the challenge and that’s what makes a successful creative director. That fine balance.
Nowadays, I believe that being multidisciplinary is an integral ingredient to succeeding as a creative director. For example, being a stylist and costume designer and having worked on sets, help a lot when I’m visualizing a frame. My graphic design experience aids immensely when I am about to digitize my ideas and work on my conceptual mood boards.
How did you find your creative voice?
A very personal and long journey that was! Being very detail-oriented, observing, lots of research, and trial and error kept creating opportunities to learn all the time and acquire multiple skill sets. Through different visual mediums, the common denominator that remained consistent was my creative voice.
Describe your design process.
That usually depends on what kind of project I’m handling and in what capacity. Overall, the creative process is vital to me. Whether I’m the creative director, or am directing, styling, or working on designing costumes, I usually start with a lot of research, working on a visual mood-board, sketching, and so on. Coming up with strong concepts as well as strong executions that can also be flexible and multilayered is what I focus on in my process. It is also important to be very prepared beforehand as preparation and being organized are key.
Who inspires you?
My father was my very first source of inspiration as I was growing up, introducing me to classical and baroque music, film, writing, philosophy, and magazines. In general, hardworking but also smart-working people, a person who does their homework before a meeting, multidisciplinary creatives, people defying the norm, loyal humans, confident and with humility, honest and authentic people inspire me.
What type of products have you designed costumes for?
TV programs, commercials in many capacities, events, dancers, children, music videos, short films, and international productions such as EMMY nominated show Ahlan Simsim (powered by Sesame Workshop, NYC).
What has been your biggest creative challenge?
Honestly, I can’t seem to think of only one big challenge. Having said that, there have been many challenges over the years that I am now grateful for. When I started in the fashion industry, there weren’t as many other fellows ‘stylists’ or ‘directors’ out there – the whole scene was brand new. The first time I styled a presenter on national TV and collaborated with a fashion designer, I was asked a lot about what it is that I was doing and why. At the beginning of my career, I started off in magazines, later in TV stations and creative agencies. It felt like I was expected to have a very specific skill set. I wasn’t satisfied with only one skill set. I wanted to do more, to direct, style, and create. With time, people started noticing that. The idea is to communicate visually through different mediums. When I was working on commercials, there was a bit of resistance to the idea of stylist vs. costume designer, or the idea of being in front of the camera vs. behind the camera. Sometimes, it’s easier to box or label others. I didn’t want to let a specific skill set box me in my career. I feel like that is up to us, our generation, to shift that perspective and to grow the fashion and film industry in Jordan collectively.
What is your measure of success?
To me, success is when you never give in to the outside noise and are extremely focused on what you’re doing. That is when your work and your authentic artistic voice are recognized. That is when there’s a demand for your specific touch.
Is there a difference between fashion and style?
Fashion is versatile, it’s art, interchangeable and always moving yet everlasting. Style is individualistic.
Describe your greatest creative achievement.
Hmm, tough one! I would say being able to wholeheartedly contribute to building and enhancing the creative industries in Jordan, shifting the perspective slowly but surely, specifically in fashion, one project at a time. I intend to continue with other fellow creatives to aid in growing the industry and to show what Jordanian creatives are capable of.
What has been your favorite campaign?
I usually tend to not look back. It’s like ‘on to the next one’. I don’t even watch my previous work again. However, my favorite kind of campaigns are certainly fashion related and specifically when I’m directing or the creative director. Very recently, I worked on styling (in collaboration with two of my favorite local designers) as well as designing the looks of Raya Abirached, along with the rest of the cast of Sesame. That was a super hectic and fun project.
Do you have a styling philosophy? If so, what is it?
I always make sure I get to know my clients because as I’m designing or styling it is important to reflect their personality in their style. It’s a combination of understanding their body shapes as well as personalities. Before any shopping or going out to the market is done, I always urge my clients to take a look at their wardrobes and assess what they actually need.
What are the latest fashion trends?
Love a good long camel coat they’re having a moment and are timeless! A good oversized boxy biker jacket, maxi vests, and sheer dressing specifically with well-tailored suits. Lately, I have been obsessing over the bodycon turtleneck long dress trend (I recently wore a customized sheer turtleneck long dress as I walked the runway for the debut collection of local designer Kish Jeane).