Italian and EU officials on Tuesday took part in a field visit to the Garment Design and Training Services Centre and the Noorway Factory, as part of the regional “Development of Clusters in the Cultural and Creative Industries in the southern Mediterranean [CCI]” project.
Worth a total of 5.6 million Euro, funded by the European Union and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, the project is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, according to UNIDO project associate Nana Zabaneh.
Launched at the end of 2015, Jordan’s CCI project entails the development of the Amman Fashion Cluster, the first creative cluster in the textile sector in the Kingdom. “The cluster, which aims to support small and medium entreprises [SMEs] in the local market in need of higher productivity, provides these companies with technical assistance to help them produce high quality textile products, making use of the unique Jordanian knowhow,” said Sulafa Mdanat, UNIDO country representative, adding that “it also assists these SMEs in getting access to new markets both locally and internationally”.
During their tour of the centre, EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana, Italian Ambassador to Jordan Giovanni Brauzzi and director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Michele Morana, voiced their joint commitment to supporting the CCI project in Jordan, expressing their support to the project’s next phase.
“Textile is a key sector for the Jordanian economy. It accounts for nearly 23 per cent of Jordan’s total exports. It is also Jordan’s second export source to Europe, accounting for 47 million Euros in 2017,” Fontana highlighted during the visit, adding that “the concept of developing clusters is young in Jordan, but it has a lot of potential. It means leveraging the strengths of many actors, allowing all invested parties to reap the benefits of collaboration, cross-fertilising ideas, and ultimately sharing the risk”.
The officials were then introduced to “JO!”, the first ever industrial-based Jordanian fashion collection launched through the CCI project. “Entirely designed by a team of Jordanian women with the guidance of an Italian designer, the collection involved local suppliers fulfilling the whole supply chain requirements,” Mdanat told The Jordan Times.
According to its co-designer Dina Maqdah, “JO! has a unique story to tell as it showcases Jordanian embroidery with a ‘modern twist’. Sophisticated and unexpected, these casual pieces offer a modern take on a long revered tradition.”
JO! by Creative Jordan offers a modern reinterpretation of the bedouin traditional clothing, aimed at reviving the unique “diamond” Jordanian embroidery stitch which gradually disappeared throughout the years.
The brand, which uses the traditional indigo-blue hand-dyed fabric to replace contemporary denim fabric, seeks to “create contemporary pieces which are adapted to the international market, to help our culture survive and improve our living conditions”, she explained, noting that the collection represents “the contrast of Amman”, where the old and the modern are juxtaposed in a fitting combination.
“A modern design which reflects nevertheless the traditional cultural identity of this land is the key for the success of an innovative fashion line, like the one created by the Garment Design and Training Services Centre. I am sure that JO! Collection will become a flagship for the Jordanian textile industry,” the Italian ambassador said during the visit, expressing his happiness to see Italy associated with the project.
The cluster participated in several fashion fairs in Dubai, London, Milan and Paris, where the first JO! collection received “very positive feedback”, according to Zabaneh, who noted that “in Jordan as well, the collection, which was displayed at pop-up shops in Abdali and Souk Dezain, was very successful among Jordanian buyers, who showed their enthusiasm for the collection’s intricate designs,” she told The Jordan Times.