Design Teaser: Eliran Nargassi from Tel Aviv to Super in Milan

Fashion By Stefano Guerrini

Born in 1985, with a diploma from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, which he obtained in 2012, Eliran Nargassi founded his brand with his own name the following year, and is now in the forefront of Israeli creativity, being based in Tel Aviv. The focus of the designer’s work is on menswear, and his designs include inspirations from religious elements, combined with more audacious details, but always with some prints designed by Nargassi himself, which have become his trademark feature. Recently, the designer took part in the Super fair in Milan, where we interviewed him. 

Can you tell us how you first became interested in fashion and how you made fashion your career? 

I first became interested in fashion when I was a child: I used to take my sisters' dolls and dress them up with little outfits I made myself. Before applying to college I managed to get my hands on a sewing machine and I made a simple jacket for myself: I was very proud of myself and I realized that fashion was what I really wanted to do.

Fashion became my work a few years ago, after graduating I was supposed to participate in a group exhibition that dwalt with aestetics, I started working on a piece but eventually the exhibition was cancelled, I was blown by the inspiration and decided to create a small collection based on the first piece.

Can you describe your style?

Modern and timeless, with attention to small details. I don’t follow trends and I believe that my style comes from a more personal place, conceptual but still very functional and wearable. 

Tell us something about the collection you showed at Super.
I showed two collections at Super.

The first was a collection I designed for a big Chinese brand – Canudilo H Holidays as part of the Vogue Talents for Asia project. I was asked to design a collection using my own design language, but combining it with the Canudilo Holidays trademark – the panda bear, which is also the national animal of China. While the panda bear is known for its round silhouette and black and white colour palette, my designs are usually characterized by sharp lines and graphics expressed by original cuts and prints that I create myself; the combination of the two led to the creation of a young and contemporary capsule collection that I believe combines both brands well. On one hand, the round, amorphous prints and proportions inspired by the Panda bear, and on the other, hand prints with fine outlines, while the silhouette and cut of the garments remain characteristic of the aesthetic normally associated with my brand. 

Then there was also your own brand’s collection, right?

Yes, the second collection I presented at Super was my brand’s collection for FW2016/17, inspired by secularism and cults in general. Three years ago, as part of my thesis, I designed a collection that was inspired by the tension between Jewish religious and secular lives, a tension that was reflected in my own life at the time. The current collection focuses on my own secularism, while incorporating elements from the BDSM fantasy world, something I regard as secular worship. In the pieces, I have integrated my interpretations of harnesses and other components from the BDSM sub-culture, such as slits and cuts in the fabric, oversized overalls accessorized with leather straps and metal rings, as well as tailored oversized T-shirts, dress shirts, Nehru shirts, dress pants, jeans and Bermuda shorts, fusing casual and elegant elements to create a cohesive collection. 

How important do you think fairs like Super are for young designers?

I think fairs like Super are very important for young designers, in order to expand their brand and to reach a greater variety of buyers and retailers. Taking part in fairs like Super is also a great opportunity to receive feedback from buyers about the design, quality and price of the garments. 

Is there a moment, a memory from the experience at Super that you want to share with us?

My best memory from Super was when I met the other finalists from the Vogue Talents for Asia project. I had met some of them during my trip to China and during my previous trip to Milan and it was such a great pleasure to meet everyone again. We shared our experiences as young designers in fashion and learned about each other’s cultures: we spent 3 intensive days together and it was rather sad to say goodbye to everyone on the last day. 

What is your definition of male elegance?

An elegant man is one who has self-confidence, who is aware of what he is wearing, of the proportions of his body and the way he carries himself. 

What are your plans for the future?

I am hoping to showcase my collection at the next edition of Pitti Uomo. I’d also like to translate my design aesthetic into a capsule collection for women, expand my brand and make it accessible to anyone in the world who appreciates my style.