Celebrity Favorite Fashion Designer Whose Priority Is Giving Back

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Inked satin stitches, draped lavish dresses and hand embroidered accessories are the hallmarks of designer Feben. The Central Saint Martins graduate, who completed her MA in Fashion as undergraduate Isabella Blow, is one of the brightest up-and-coming stars of the British Fashion Council’s Newgen cohort, which already boasts many famous fans: she dressed Erykah Badu and Janelle Monáe , while Beyoncé asked Feben to make a costume for Brown Skin Girlode to the beauty of black women.

Feben’s own introduction to the power of fashion came from his mother. ‘Looking back, I can see that he used clothes as a tool to express himself. I remember being so embarrassed growing up because she didn’t dress like everyone else. But now that I’m an adult, I can see that being different is much cooler. I think the most interesting styles come from people who have nothing to do with fashion and are completely out of that world.’

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AW22 FEBEN show, entitled Sky

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And that was the type of woman that Feben designed. ‘Someone with an eclectic vibe, who likes to mix things up and has been exposed to different cultures. I want people to feel like they’re wearing something special.’

His AW22 Collection Sky is about ‘the pursuit of light in the midst of darkness’ – a theme that expresses his desire to uplift the people he meets. ‘People forget how hard it is emotionally in this industry. Sometimes you just need someone to say, “I believe in you.”‘

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FEBEN

Collaborating with others is the way to do this: jewelry for Sky made by Peruvian craftswomen, while the beaded bags are the result of an ongoing collaboration with craftsmen in Ghana. ‘This is a way of giving back and helping this community develop their work.’

Offering a new designer placement in his studio is another: ‘People want to learn, and they help at the same time – so why not help? What sign will you make no make someone’s life a little better? Now that I’m in this industry, I’d change things if I could.’

His approach is undoubtedly partly the result of his own life, stranded among different countries. Feben is Ethiopian, but he was born in North Korea and raised in Sweden, before moving to London. ‘I grew up in different refugee camps,’ he says, ‘so I think it’s important to always remember where you come from.’

This article appeared in the June 2022 issue of ELLE UK.

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