The conscious fashion of Georgia Halal
25 de outubro de 2017
São Paulo – Georgia El Halal opened her clothing shop in 2008 in São Paulo’s Pinheiros district, where she has lived since 2004. The brand and the outlet were born together – back then, selling clothes online wasn’t a usual thing. She intends to start carrying her eponymous brand’s items online by the end of this year.
Her Lebanon-born father, Youssef El Halal, moved to Brazil with his family in the 1950s, at age seven. They settled in Porto Alegre and Pelotas, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Georgia was born in Porto Alegre, the state capital, and relocated to São Paulo 13 years ago.
Halal is a widespread food industry term that designates items whose consumption is permitted to Muslims. It also means “purity,” the opposite of “haram,” which means “prohibited” to the followers of Islam.
The 34-year old Rio Grande do Sul native learned to sew from her maternal grandmother, a Brazilian woman of Portuguese and Spanish ancestry. She confided that this was where she got the creative side of her work from. Although her clothing designs are not Arab-influenced, she imputes her knack for doing business to the Lebanese blood cursing through her veins.
“My father was the first in our family to go to college. He went to medical school, but my uncles and my grandfather used to be merchants. As a kid, I’d go to their shop. I used to love being behind the counter and helping them out,” she says. Her favorite game to play was playing shop and selling clothes. “I was mimicking their behavior before I even realized it,” she quips.
The holder of an Art degree from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Halal claims her items are “comfortable, for independent women who know what they’re after.” She says each collection has a history of its own. The designer does not adhere to the fashion industry calendar. Instead, she doesn’t rush things and allows each of her seamstresses to take their time. She tries to make clothing that’s not disposable and lasts longer than average.
Georgia leads a conscious lifestyle. She does not own a car and has put out a collection for women who ride bicycles, but she wouldn’t call her brand “sustainable.” “I don’t believe there’s a single fashion industry business that’s 100% sustainable,” she stresses. And although she favors smaller-scale collections made from natural, quality fabrics, she doesn’t claim to be a minimalist either.
“I try to run my business as best as I can, but on the other hand, I need to sell and I need to pay my bills,” she explains. “You must find balance. You can’t be extreme. As the Libra that I am, I always strive for balance in live,” she says.
Essenciais (Essentials), her current collection, incorporates successful items from other collections by the brand to build a capsule wardrobe. It features eight versatile items that can create 30 different looks. The items include overalls that double up as trousers and a jacket that turns into a waistcoat. The goal is to create a small number of quality items that sell well. “As soon as we start our e-commerce business, the idea is to have minicollections of some five items each, with various prints and colors,” she explains.
Georgia recently found herself wanting to make her workshop into a place of art and militancy. She stressed that more spaces must be made available for women artists and said she found a way to make a contribution and support the feminist movement by opening up her workshop to forms of female artistic expression other than fashion. “This is also a way for me to somehow get closer to art, which is what I was trained in,” she says.
In 2013, she began hosting courses in her workshop. Since last year, she hosts roundtable discussions, as well as art shows where she encourages women’s interaction. This year, Georgia started teaching sewing lessons with an emphasis on handmade items. “My workshop’s my life. It reflects every moment of my life. It’s an extension of who I am,” she says.
Sewing lessons are available once a month. The next exhibit at the workshop will run from November 10 to 12
Find out more: www.georgiahalal.com.br and https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaHalal/
Georgia Halal Workshop – Rua dos Pinheiros, 338, São Paulo, SP
*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum