WRITTEN BY ANGELA SUNDSTROM
-- blurring the lines between high art and design and remaining somewhere between artisanship and sculpture. The Jordanian jewelry designer possesses multiple degrees from various institutions in the United States and abroad. Her work has been shown at Art Basel in Miami, The American Museum of Natural History in New York City and a plethora of galleries and museums throughout the world. Her work stands out precisely because of her unique ability to span genres and appeal to various cultural and arts-based organizations and spaces.
Elegant and cosmopolitan, Hourani speaks easily about her creations for which she uses the term “art-to-wear.” “Just like an art piece for me, it should reflect your individuality and taste, a collectible, unique, and personal item that triggers an emotion or a thought.”
Her enthusiasm and devotion are apparent in her eyes when speaking about her work. “Today art generates all sorts of emotions in me, I need to be artistically stimulated at all times. I create unique sculptures-to-wear that play on light and shadow and combine the rough with the delicate. I love experimenting with various materials, stones and elements.”
Hourani’s jewelry is dynamic and fluid; she explores multiple genres and styles. Each collection reacts to a specific inspiration, often largely rooted in geography, architecture and culture. She often plays with binaries: contemporary and vintage, natural and architectural, dark and light. This results in skillfully produced, striking pieces that not only reflect nature but also are steeped with mythology and symbolism.
She is an entrepreneur who is making her mark not only in the fashion world, but also serves as a prominent example of a business savvy Middle-Eastern woman advocating for social equality. Strongly devoted to connecting with her fans not as consumers, but as individuals, she speaks passionately about what her jewelry is really about. “What we wear should reflect us, not what others expect to see us wearing.”
I met Lama on a brisk, spring day in the cavernous yet inviting confines of Grand Central. Upon entering Cipriani Dolce she was immediately evident to me-her style reflected her strong sense of self and individuality. Her natural enthusiasm about art and the creative process were evident in her infectious smiles. As she sipped her tea she began telling me about her life with ease and grace.
LH: I’ve always been into jewelry ever since I was a child while in the market. I used to drag my mother to look at jewelry at local jewelry shops. As a teenager I started collecting crystals and restyling my necklaces by adding elements I had here and there... that’s when I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life! I studied fine arts and soon after I met a jewelry craftsman by chance who was looking for a job and we immediately started working on my first collection, which was launched back in 2000 and was a big hit! Afterwards I went on to continue my studies in Milano with an M.A in product design degree from Istituto Marangoni to broaden my horizons- and the rest is history!
LH: I have always been passionate about jewelry; I love creating handmade jewelry that carries stories and various influences from around the world like art, architecture and people.
LH: I definitely developed an eye for art at an early age and I owe it to my parents who founded the first private art gallery in Amman back in 1990; I was very fortunate to meet prominent artists from the region and was raised in a culturally-rich environment. My parents were very keen on developing my artistic sense and taught me the power of perseverance and hard work.
LH: This has enabled me to create various collections that go with different tastes and markets; I like to offer diverse styles while maintaining the essence and signature of the brand. I never restrict my artistic vision, that’s the beauty of the brand. Both men and women enjoy the eccentric appeal of the jewelry and the handmade aspect, so I’m very lucky with my fan base.
LH: Since 2001 I have been reaching out to underprivileged women to work on my bags and bookmarks to provide them with the opportunity of financial independence and stability. Soon after I approached several foundations that support individuals with disabilities and trained them in the assembly department where the final elements are combined with semi-precious stones. We have trained five wonderful women so far and this has affected their lives drastically, empowering them financially and giving them a sense of belonging to the community.
LH: I am very honored to be a YGL; it’s a big responsibility, you have to empower women and encourage students to pursue their dreams in the Design and Art fields. Even though Jordan is a small country with limited resources there’s always room for creativity and ambition. I think my success reflects on the younger generation of Jordan and helps people to hold on to their dreams and work hard to achieve them no matter how hard it seems at times.
LH: People from different cultures can relate to my collections, as they are a contemporary reflection of heritage, art and architecture from all over the world.
LH: Passionate, architecture enthusiast, foodie, artoholic, culturally curious, an explorer and an entrepreneur.
LH: My strength points include the ability to reinvent myself in diverse markets; my artistic background has enabled me to create art-to-wear pieces with a commercial appeal. Sometimes the challenges are cultural, the Middle East has a high sense of fashion & trend yet most times people like to be branded. This will disappear with time and be replaced with a very mature perception of fashion that will include a totally different approach to consumerism.