Meet The Maker // Shaima Shamsi
Q: Tell us about your background. When did your interest begin?
A: Shaima started her journey through the exploration of identity being Indian, born and raised between Saudi and London. She took her constant exploration of cultures and nature to open dialogue through design, which led to the inception of Third Culture Co; a brand with ethical consciousness towards the environment and all living things. She has made statement collections in collaboration with @nasibahafiz, @alichaaban, and @raghadalahmad.
Q: Why did you name the brand Third Culture?
A: Third Culture Kids are children who have spend a significant period of their developmental years in a culture outside their parents’ passport culture. They have been a part of the Earth’s population from the earliest migrations. I quite simply identified as just that. Being born and raised in Jeddah to Indian parents. It seemed quite fitting to what I wanted to explore through my brand, of myself.
Q: How did the concept evolve?
A: Each concept grew its space very organically; I have a series of coincidences that have always occurred at the start of every project mindfully leading me to the success of each whether through collaborations or individually.
Q: The regenerate collection was very powerful - Was this the beginning of sustainability in third culture ?
A: Regenerate was certainly the beginning of something great it was a collection that translated knowledge (which is the heart of actionable change) along with actions to lead change in the co-relation between our relationships with abundance and wastefulness in the GCC highlighting our habits of water consumption. The one-off Denim jackets were each a statement of the role we have to play individually for an impact to occur collectively. The support from the community for the project was absolutely incredible.
Q: Can you explain the concept of sustainability to us?
A: When a clay pot is made its clay is first collected from the soil after its natural process of deposits formed with minerals, plant life, animals found in the earth all combine to form its texture. It is then molded using our hands and sometimes a wheel. From there on a liquid glaze is placed on it before it is fired making it vitreous, meaning it can hold water. This entire process of making a clay pot for me is a very simple translation of the very concept of just starting to talk about sustainability. Where all processes are transparent all extractions are fair upon all living things involved in the process. Where accountability is held and responsibility is taken, in ensuring that the output produced has a place to return to. I too am still learning about the very concept of and what is for certain about is that it requires essential reading and conscious action.
Q: What do you advise current designers in order to be more sustainable?
A: Sustainability is an opportunity we have today which will shape the future of the generations to come.
1- Educate yourself (I can recommend books, read online, research)
2- Ask your supplier about where your fabrics come from, do some digging find out if the people making your clothes are in safe environments, learn about how different fabrics decompose
3- Pay the hands that work for you fairly
Q: What advice would you give someone who is just about to start a label?
A: Find your why and that is not easy at all, however if you can’t just yet, then try to develop an ethos for your brand that is a true reflection of what you want it to be. Starting is really the easy part it is carrying on that takes courage and passion and this is really for anything not just fashion.