Isaac Sellam: S/S24 Showroom and Brand Overview
While often overlooked for flashier, more profitable ready to wear shows, Paris Fashion Week still remains a key destination for more niche designers to visit and display their collections. Out of these smaller brands, an undeniable subcategory is that of avant-garde darkwear. Among this crop of designers, Isaac Sellam stands out, with his namesake label, Isaac Sellam Experience, being a must visit for those who enjoy avant-garde darkwear. To many, Sellam’s work represents the pinnacle of avant-garde design, with cerebral yet handcrafted garments defining the brand.
Years before he began his showing in Paris, Sellam already had a keen interest in fashion, with his first experience in tailoring coming at the age of 16. As Sellam noted in an interview with Leclaireur, the reason for this foray into the world of fashion was spurred by not having the means to buy a Chevignon down jacket. Rather than merely accepting the fact he couldn’t afford the jacket, Sellam instead set out to create a version of his own. Soon after, requests for jackets began to stream in, with the then teenager initially selling the jackets to friends, and then a wider audience.
In 2002, Sellam’s 15 years of professional experience with leather and pattern making would culminate in him founding his eponymous label, Isaac Sellam Experience. Working with prestigious tanneries and applying his expertise, Sellam focused his label on leather products (though the label does offer other textiles as well). Picking up steam over the years, the label has begun to offer more and more, with the launch of his diffusion line 69 by Isaac Sellam as well as other diffusion lines. As the designer explained to Raw Looks this diffusion line is meant to be both playful and to offer his works to a wider audience, while still retaining the quality and expertise that go into the mainline label. As with other avant-garde darkwear designers, Sellam’s label often makes the trip to various fashion weeks, presenting the collections in private, away from the pomp and ostentatiousness of the RTW shows. In this more intimate environment, Sellam and his team present their vision of what fashion can be.
Along with the truly artisan approach to his label’s works, the designer's garments are often instantly recognizable, with the metal spine staples being a key motif of Sellam’s clothing. According to Sellam, the metal spine motif happened quite by accident, with Sellam adopting the staples pattern from a rug his friend owned. Inspired and already working with diagonal staples at the time, Sellam worked hard at developing the staple system, before finally figuring it out. In his words “It took me a long time to find the right system.” This is a perfect example of another part of what makes Sellam’s garments so special, he goes out of his way to experiment and explore the materials he works with. Rather than being bound by his materials, he bends fabric and hides to his whims, creating garments and techniques that have been underutilized if they’ve even been utilized at all by other labels. In an industry where technical innovation is often left to athletic brands, Sellam’s approach to his materials is second to none.
With all this in mind, its quite easy to see what makes Sellam’s works so sought after. From the technical properties of the leather he uses, to the attention to detail, Sellam’s passion oozes into the garments he creates. In his own words “I only do things with love, only for love, and that's it.” Often lost in the hustle and bustle of today's profit driven fashion culture is the act of creativity, and the absolute devotion to the craft of garment making. In Sellam’s case, it is quite easy to see in the designer's works that this devotion to artisan ship still rings true, and that at its core, his collections are an utter labor of love.
We at ARCHIVE.pdf were lucky enough to be offered a peek into the world of Isaac Sellam’s creation during Paris Fashion Week. View the gallery of images below, a special thanks to Isaac Sellam and his team for letting us experience their space.
Photographer: Pïkoi Hummingbird
Writer: Isabelle Davis