The Many Hats Of Seyf Dean Laouiti
It’s fair to say that surviving the fashion game these days requires versatility and the ability to wear different hats. It’s a landscape that’s constantly evolving and while many have slid into the jack of all trades mode with ease, none have exceeded the expectations of each role like Seyf Dean Laouiti.
Creative Director of his own label Narciso, Laouiti also consults for other fashion and lifestyle brands while acting as the Editor-in-chief of FFDesigner magazine at the same time. I chat to him about his style and love for travel and also find out why he chose to move back to Tunisia to hone his craft.
You’re one of those whose CV list several different roles at the same time. That must keep you busy! Tell me more about the magazine
I set the tone for every issue which could be about economic issues in the fashion industry in Tunisia to trending style topics from around the world. There are the editorial side of things from the theme of the shoots to what artist we should focus on. It’s headlines and deadline but I’m surrounded by a great team, thank God for that.
“I try to portray situations that reflect our social situation whether it’s political issues or economic development or the radical changes that occurred after the Tunisian revolution.”
There’s a decadent and salacious element in the editorials you’ve styled, to the extent where some appear to have subliminal statements.
As a fashion editor, I try to portray situations that reflect our social situation whether it’s political issues or economic development or the radical changes that occurred after the Tunisian revolution. I try to think about it as if I’m writing an article but with photographs. As an artist, I want to push the boundaries and test the limits as well as challenge the consumer.
The Tunisian revolution would have opened many doors and provided new found economic and creative freedom for its people.
Absolutely. After the revolution of 2011, Tunisia went through an explosive freedom of expression and creativity. I was studying in Beijing at that time but when I came back a year later, I saw the potential in the fashion scene. People were suddenly interested in fashion and started to think differently and openly about it. That made my decision easier to stay in Tunisia. It’s a small industry but a fast growing one so I see a lot of future in it.
Let’s talk about your personal style. Is there a fashion icon you look up to?
I have an eclectic style and am not afraid to mix and match. It also depends on the mood that I am in – it can go anywhere from dandy to urban.
One of my style icon would be Justin O’Shea but my all time muse is the marchesa of Rome, the late Luisa Casati. Her motto was “I want to be a living work of art”.
Justin O’Shea is the great juxtaposition of punk rock meets dandy, proving that you don’t need to conform when it comes to style. What are your thoughts on menswear at the moment?
There’s definitely more gender-neutral styling and options for men these days. I’ve noticed a lot of playfulness during men’s fashion week and a sort of mixed identity which was really cool. I always encourage my readers to get curious and adventurous when it comes to menswear since we’re getting more wardrobe options than ever before.
Sounds like you have a wardrobe that I would love to raid.
(Haha) I’m more of an editorial-orientated, statement piece kind of guy. I hate basic clothes – they are boring. I like to discover unknown designers or find that “wow factor” piece and mix and match to create my own style. Having a fashion identity is very important to me.
“Travelling to me is a way to disengage from the projects that I’m involved in and look at them from a new perspective.”
Another thing you do quite a fair bit is travel.
I love to travel. I was born in Taipei and one of my earliest memories is on a plane to Tunisia for the first time. Travelling to me is a way to disengage from the projects that I’m involved in and look at them from a new perspective. Because I’m rooted in two completely different culture, it allows me to bring something fresh.
I’m guessing you’re one of those who would look impeccable on the plane even if it was a long-haul flight. How do you pack for your trips?
I’m one of those travellers that doesn’t dress for comfort. I obey the silly rule where “more is more, less is bore”. My packing method depends on the destination but I’ll always have a total black look and at least three suits. Always leave room for shopping.
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m preparing my “comeback”. I’m the creative director for my brand Narciso where I build the collection from head to toe, from the colour and silhouette of the season to the campaign itself. It’s been two years since I’ve created anything major, but this year I’m back with a brand new collection which explores and breaks down gender equality and norms.