Tunisia’s fashionable soul
A Coup de théâtre of creativity in modern Carthage
Carthage, the ancient suburb east of Tunis played host to Tunis Fashion week which ran from 12 to 15 June. A coup de théâtre in what was once the Roman amphitheatre at the time of the Phoenicians, and a World Heritage Site since the 1970s. An exact reconstruction in recycled materials of the space where the Romans held chariot races and fights, became the ideal location to find out about and appreciate the multi-artistic nature of the Tunisian people. Taking place once a year, Tunis Fashion Week presents the Tunisian capital with the opportunity to show off its more productive side, its own savoir faire and dismisses the idea that it is an exclusively third world country, but instead has a creativity worthy of export.
Tunisia, in fact, possesses an authentic local artisan tradition, that in spite of the frenetic pace of mass-production for the most well-known international brands, it tries to safeguard through sector associations. New for this year’s event has also been the creation of the “Village des Créateurs”, an alternative space for events and exhibitions of Tunisian and international artists, designers and stylists, open to the public during Tunis Fashion Week.
Nestled between the desert and the south-western Mediterranean, crafty, beguiling, blindingly white, Tunis welcomes us with its 11th edition of the fashion event par excellence. The themes for this 2019 edition were recycling, sustainable development, and eco-responsibility. In reality, the shows of the famous and not so famous and some of the country’s real celebrities, with previous experience in Paris, London and Milan, have an important aim for the city and for the country as a whole, and that is to make “Made in Tunisia” a real, strong, lasting brand.
Hence the commitment, including that at production level to always be more “conscious oriented”, with maximum attention to the environment, by drastically reducing the use of harmful products. “It is time for the Tunisian textile and clothing supply chain to react”, read the slogan of a workshop that took place a few days ago before the event, supported by the Federation du Textile Tunisien (FTTH) and other national associations involved in the sector. This is the present of Tunis, but there is a timeless time, that which represented the departure point of Azzedine Alaïa, tailor and sculptor of the femininity. Born in this land, a life-long inspiration, his hometown Sidi Bou Said, a few kilometres from the capital, which we visit among the perfumes from the Mediterranean vegetation, is adorned with white houses with blue doors, all stretching towards the sea, seeming to stand still in time.
Azzedine’s retreat (when he left Paris), today is the headquarters of the Association Azzedine Alaia, a white space with big windows that look like they want to grab a piece of that immense turquoise that stands out as far as the eye can see, a balcony that looks out over the amphitheatre, ancient Carthage, right where the new Tunisian designers show off their creativity today.
Report organized with the support of the Tunisian National Tourist Office and Tunis Fashion Week 2019
ph @ Pixel Formula