We sit down with designer Amir Hassan to discuss the brand that visualises histories inspired by Egyptian culture.
Most fashion brands speak about their dedication to storytelling, but none do it quite as well as TWELVEPIECES. Founded by Egyptian native Amir Hassan, the brand has a unique concept whereby he creates 12 unique pieces per season, each carefully crafted to represent a story which seeks to embrace cultural diversity.
“I have always had an interest in art and personal style, and my father was an artist too,” Hassan says of how he kick-started his career in fashion, “I used always to watch him draw and make sculptures when I was a kid. My father encouraged and inspired me to draw from a very young age. My love for drawing combined with my flair for fashion made it seem only natural to apply for VIA Design School in Herning after I finished High School. I soon realised I wanted to start my own company and less than a year after I graduated VIA Design, we founded the company and released our first collection, The Spring.”
The collection focused on the Arabic Spring and the anarchy in the Middle East. The result was what Hassan describes as “a rebellious outtake in a natural-toned palette and bold graphical prints.” Despite TWELVEPIECES being a new brand in a saturated fashion landscape, the pieces sold out quickly and received positive attention from the fashion press. They were even invited to show at Paris Fashion Week. The launch was a positive experience that easily outweighed their expectations. Hassan admits to being pleasantly surprised by people’s response to his creations, telling me that he has been successful in forming a strong bond with their audience.
“We did have a few unfortunate but small episodes,” Hassan confesses. “One of our brand ambassadors was held back in the airport in Israel because he was wearing our coat with Arabic calligraphy spelling FREEDOM. It got attention in the media, but luckily our audience resonates with the support of freedom for everyone. Though I do not want to promote any specific political stand, my message with The Spring was and is clear: Stand up for your basic human rights.”
Their second collection, Roots, focuses specifically on Hassan’s upbringing in Cairo, Egypt. Unlike The Spring, their second collection represents a more beautiful and peaceful side of Egypt. Hassan cites the pyramids, camelbacks and hieroglyphs as some of the things that he finds to be the most beautiful and inspiring. The result is relaxed structures, a diverse range of fabrics, some of which contain added print detailing. Even though there are only 12 pieces in the collection, there’s something about it that feels fresh and diverse.
If their trajectory so far is anything to go by, TWELVEPIECES is in for a bright future. Hassan is already looking ahead to what comes next. “We are dropping our mainline Fatamorgana part 2 in December online and with selected retailers worldwide. Beside that, we are dropping a new exclusive collection inspired by the 90’s hip-hop tour in early 2020,” he explains. “On a practical level, I aim to enhance a better understanding between Egyptian/middle eastern culture and western culture. On a larger scale, I hope to inspire curiosity and understanding towards and across cultural and social layers. I wish for a more unified future, and I think that starts with understanding and accepting each other and the cultures within.”