NOT-SO-SEXY with Malik Kydd
At-home and personal with the artist, printmaker and fashion designer.

Not-So-Sexy is an on-going series on Miilkiina.com profiling creatives around the world and their real, raw, and “not-so-sexy” work-from-home experiences. This week we got intimate with artist, fashion designer and printmaker Malik Kydd. 

Art meets Fashion in the practice of the Jordan based creative. His gorgeous, hand painted creations literally allow you to drape a canvas around your body and run around with it. 

Informed by the ancient crafts and the precious unearthed items sitting behind the glass of a museum vitrine, Malik’s blend of English and Iraqi heritage plays a pivotal role in the making of his creations. 

A strong believer in bespoke tailoring, Kydd has a way of creating a connection to his clients by hosting them in his studio and setting up a decorative table that will make them feel at ease. 

From catching up with family at the crack of dawn, to delving deep into his work and lounging around with the people he feels the closest connection to, we got into Malik’s routine and we asked him to reveal the secrets behind his stunning designs.

What does your space look like?

My space is a long room with a horizontal window that extends across the width of it, with a direct view of both the Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Citadel, in the heart of old Amman. The room’s walls are covered in white paint; a blank canvas in which I have repurposed to become my own functioning fashion studio. My walls are plastered with sketches of textile print designs, mood images, drape photos, archival research, hand dried flowers, as well as my portfolio which spreads across and covers all the walls painting them with bold colors and splashes of black and white pieces drawn in charcoal. 

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

The inspiration for my pieces has always come from an ever-growing appreciation of personal family histories, stories, and inherited objects that were stored and eventually passed down to me, repurposed and adapted within my pieces. Every month I visit museums or archives in which I can explore, or access online, granting me with new images of visual histories which are truly vital to my work. I hoard these images in order to look back on if ever I am in need of inspiration. Being from both England and Iraq, I became a wallflower in both cultures, sitting at the edge of those societies, observing, and absorbing. I am in awe of the sensuality of cities, the markets, and those who bustle through them. I grew up in a small village in Southeast England which consisted of 400 people, and no shops, just a Church that loomed over it. For work I can only exist in an Urban environment but when I return to the countryside, I feel grounded and at home, ultimately basking in the inspiration that leaves me with.

What prompted you to experiment with clothing?

When I was younger my Bibi always told me that I should be a fashion designer. I was always obsessed with sewing, and found pleasure in shopping for fabrics, especially with my mother. We used to go to Shepard’s Push and spend hours picking out specific fabrics. I was also always obsessed with drawing, and drawing detailed women figures infatuated with and fixated upon their silhouettes, outfits, and accessories. My childhood dream to be in fashion had been overtaken by an affinity to create visual artworks, and ultimately, I found a merger between the two by printing those drawings onto fabric. 

Do you have a favorite piece you have ever created?

I don’t have a specific favorite. I believe that I have not yet created anything that compares to my potential and where I can go. The pandemic has allowed me to focus more on bespoke orders, having my own studio and sustaining myself from sales, focusing specifically on product refinement and the reproduction of items. I love everything that I have made this year for it was made with love, and a special handmade touch. I have always been a person that thinks bigger and ahead, never truly being satisfied because I consistently think of the future and where it can take me. As a dresser I have really long legs, and I find so much power in iconic trousers fitted perfectly creating an overall feel of pure chicness, sexiness, and professionalism. I am consistently trying to achieve and reproduce a quintessential pair of fitted pants. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my client leave my studio fitted in pants that shape their bodies flawlessly. I believe that pants are neglected, if you own a marvelous pair of pants all you need is a plain t-shirt, and a pair of leather shoes.

What kind of artist are you? Are you messy or neat? Does your space become chaotic when you create?

I am very messy, a hoarder by nature and inheritance, passed down from both my mom and Bibi. I cannot envision not keeping anything that stirs emotion within me, inspiring me. I collect rocks, leaves, fruits, and drawing images. When I am creating all chaos breaks loose. I hand dye in studio and when doing so the white walls are splattered with splashes of liquid. When drawing I am not delicate with the use of ink or pastels. I wear clothes to death, loving them, enjoying them before laying them to rest. I love playing host for clients, I love creating table settings and just generally decorative things, there are about four points of time in every month where my studio looks absolutely beautiful. 

How do you feel during the creation process?

I love when I’m busy enough that there is no room for anything else, in this state I take pleasure in feeling centered and guided. Truly fulfilled. Especially since I have only had my studio for 9 months, I am constantly feeling excited and blessed during the creation process. I always feel stressed and conflicted in that I have not yet figured out how to balance self-care and working. I sacrifice everything when working, I skip the gym, and stick primarily to ordering out. I adore the research stage and love dedicating time to reading and recording. The drawing aspect is never exciting but more of a practice and I procrastinate it the most. However, the execution is satisfying; seeing it come out. Refining a product, as well as its development are both stressful and extremely rewarding. I savor the focus, being an overthinker by nature, I love dedicating the time to think solely about the product being created, honing in for that one moment and connecting back to my childhood dream.

Do you have a favorite brush? Paint color?

I don’t have a favorite brush, because I’m not painting right now, but would like to get back into it eventually. I do have a favorite color of pastel, a dark forest green, almost dark enough to be black.

Do you have a daily routine, if so walk us through it.

Every morning at 6 am I go for a walk with my Khalto (Aunt) at the Al Hussein Gardens and we gossip about our previous days for half an hour because I get home the night before, right before the curfew. I ask her about family histories, Islam, politics. I then go back to my house and eat breakfast which is always 3 eggs and half a manoosha. I then head to my studio in the old center of Amman. The day is then spent running back and forth between my screen print studio, tailor, other studio, other artists in residence, and clients who pop by.  I try to fit in gym three times a week, which since the pandemic has been happening in studio. I am always thinking about what I’m eating and what I’m going to eat next. I leave my studio at the latest time possible. I never feel like I can leave early, I would probably stay until 2 AM if there was no curfew. 

Do you have a favorite song?

I don’t have a favorite song but generally I love listening to whole albums when I work.

What do you dress like when you are creating?

I mainly wear vintage men’s pieces that are well made. I make sure that everything I wear is tailored so it fits me perfectly. I am always seeing clients simultaneously as I create so I keep an emergency pair of leather shoes in the studio since I mostly work in sandals. 

One thing that has brought you piece of mind amidst the current crisis?

Professionally it has been a great year in that I was able to venture out on my own. I managed to get a studio and space. Despite the terrible events of this year, I find peace and solace in that I have been able to develop my brand throughout this period of time. The saddest thing to me is viewing how close whole industries are to collapse. Textiles and fabrics were already scraping by and now are on the brink of collapse. As well as art foundations which are crucial in the developing of growing artists. As well as whole nations like Lebanon which has been the home of such pure talent and beauty. I have learned to accept the true impermanence of everything, staying focused on the small things that I am doing, working in the most honest and ethical way possible. I am constantly made to acknowledge the fact that the artisans that I work with are on the verge of giving up and I find peace of mind in that if I work with someone and there is mutual benefit, we end up helping each other. 

How do you like to unwind and pass time?

I love dancing and haven’t been able to do that in a long time. I love getting dressed up and going dancing until the early hours. Currently, I relax by lounging around in pretty spaces, surrounding myself with the people closest to me. 

Favorite day or memory?

Seeing the first suit that was commissioned for a client. Seeing her try them on in her home in the morning that she was going to wear it at a party that night, and being truly floored by her elegance, and seeing my samples and prints out of the studio and brought to life. 

NOT-SO-SEXY with Malik Kydd
At-home and personal with the artist, printmaker and fashion designer.

Not-So-Sexy is an on-going series on Miilkiina.com profiling creatives around the world and their real, raw, and “not-so-sexy” work-from-home experiences. This week we got intimate with artist, fashion designer and printmaker Malik Kydd. 

Art meets Fashion in the practice of the Jordan based creative. His gorgeous, hand painted creations literally allow you to drape a canvas around your body and run around with it. 

Informed by the ancient crafts and the precious unearthed items sitting behind the glass of a museum vitrine, Malik’s blend of English and Iraqi heritage plays a pivotal role in the making of his creations. 

A strong believer in bespoke tailoring, Kydd has a way of creating a connection to his clients by hosting them in his studio and setting up a decorative table that will make them feel at ease. 

From catching up with family at the crack of dawn, to delving deep into his work and lounging around with the people he feels the closest connection to, we got into Malik’s routine and we asked him to reveal the secrets behind his stunning designs.

What does your space look like?

My space is a long room with a horizontal window that extends across the width of it, with a direct view of both the Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Citadel, in the heart of old Amman. The room’s walls are covered in white paint; a blank canvas in which I have repurposed to become my own functioning fashion studio. My walls are plastered with sketches of textile print designs, mood images, drape photos, archival research, hand dried flowers, as well as my portfolio which spreads across and covers all the walls painting them with bold colors and splashes of black and white pieces drawn in charcoal. 

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

The inspiration for my pieces has always come from an ever-growing appreciation of personal family histories, stories, and inherited objects that were stored and eventually passed down to me, repurposed and adapted within my pieces. Every month I visit museums or archives in which I can explore, or access online, granting me with new images of visual histories which are truly vital to my work. I hoard these images in order to look back on if ever I am in need of inspiration. Being from both England and Iraq, I became a wallflower in both cultures, sitting at the edge of those societies, observing, and absorbing. I am in awe of the sensuality of cities, the markets, and those who bustle through them. I grew up in a small village in Southeast England which consisted of 400 people, and no shops, just a Church that loomed over it. For work I can only exist in an Urban environment but when I return to the countryside, I feel grounded and at home, ultimately basking in the inspiration that leaves me with.

What prompted you to experiment with clothing?

When I was younger my Bibi always told me that I should be a fashion designer. I was always obsessed with sewing, and found pleasure in shopping for fabrics, especially with my mother. We used to go to Shepard’s Push and spend hours picking out specific fabrics. I was also always obsessed with drawing, and drawing detailed women figures infatuated with and fixated upon their silhouettes, outfits, and accessories. My childhood dream to be in fashion had been overtaken by an affinity to create visual artworks, and ultimately, I found a merger between the two by printing those drawings onto fabric. 

Do you have a favorite piece you have ever created?

I don’t have a specific favorite. I believe that I have not yet created anything that compares to my potential and where I can go. The pandemic has allowed me to focus more on bespoke orders, having my own studio and sustaining myself from sales, focusing specifically on product refinement and the reproduction of items. I love everything that I have made this year for it was made with love, and a special handmade touch. I have always been a person that thinks bigger and ahead, never truly being satisfied because I consistently think of the future and where it can take me. As a dresser I have really long legs, and I find so much power in iconic trousers fitted perfectly creating an overall feel of pure chicness, sexiness, and professionalism. I am consistently trying to achieve and reproduce a quintessential pair of fitted pants. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my client leave my studio fitted in pants that shape their bodies flawlessly. I believe that pants are neglected, if you own a marvelous pair of pants all you need is a plain t-shirt, and a pair of leather shoes.

What kind of artist are you? Are you messy or neat? Does your space become chaotic when you create?

I am very messy, a hoarder by nature and inheritance, passed down from both my mom and Bibi. I cannot envision not keeping anything that stirs emotion within me, inspiring me. I collect rocks, leaves, fruits, and drawing images. When I am creating all chaos breaks loose. I hand dye in studio and when doing so the white walls are splattered with splashes of liquid. When drawing I am not delicate with the use of ink or pastels. I wear clothes to death, loving them, enjoying them before laying them to rest. I love playing host for clients, I love creating table settings and just generally decorative things, there are about four points of time in every month where my studio looks absolutely beautiful. 

How do you feel during the creation process?

I love when I’m busy enough that there is no room for anything else, in this state I take pleasure in feeling centered and guided. Truly fulfilled. Especially since I have only had my studio for 9 months, I am constantly feeling excited and blessed during the creation process. I always feel stressed and conflicted in that I have not yet figured out how to balance self-care and working. I sacrifice everything when working, I skip the gym, and stick primarily to ordering out. I adore the research stage and love dedicating time to reading and recording. The drawing aspect is never exciting but more of a practice and I procrastinate it the most. However, the execution is satisfying; seeing it come out. Refining a product, as well as its development are both stressful and extremely rewarding. I savor the focus, being an overthinker by nature, I love dedicating the time to think solely about the product being created, honing in for that one moment and connecting back to my childhood dream.

Do you have a favorite brush? Paint color?

I don’t have a favorite brush, because I’m not painting right now, but would like to get back into it eventually. I do have a favorite color of pastel, a dark forest green, almost dark enough to be black.

Do you have a daily routine, if so walk us through it.

Every morning at 6 am I go for a walk with my Khalto (Aunt) at the Al Hussein Gardens and we gossip about our previous days for half an hour because I get home the night before, right before the curfew. I ask her about family histories, Islam, politics. I then go back to my house and eat breakfast which is always 3 eggs and half a manoosha. I then head to my studio in the old center of Amman. The day is then spent running back and forth between my screen print studio, tailor, other studio, other artists in residence, and clients who pop by.  I try to fit in gym three times a week, which since the pandemic has been happening in studio. I am always thinking about what I’m eating and what I’m going to eat next. I leave my studio at the latest time possible. I never feel like I can leave early, I would probably stay until 2 AM if there was no curfew. 

Do you have a favorite song?

I don’t have a favorite song but generally I love listening to whole albums when I work.

What do you dress like when you are creating?

I mainly wear vintage men’s pieces that are well made. I make sure that everything I wear is tailored so it fits me perfectly. I am always seeing clients simultaneously as I create so I keep an emergency pair of leather shoes in the studio since I mostly work in sandals. 

One thing that has brought you piece of mind amidst the current crisis?

Professionally it has been a great year in that I was able to venture out on my own. I managed to get a studio and space. Despite the terrible events of this year, I find peace and solace in that I have been able to develop my brand throughout this period of time. The saddest thing to me is viewing how close whole industries are to collapse. Textiles and fabrics were already scraping by and now are on the brink of collapse. As well as art foundations which are crucial in the developing of growing artists. As well as whole nations like Lebanon which has been the home of such pure talent and beauty. I have learned to accept the true impermanence of everything, staying focused on the small things that I am doing, working in the most honest and ethical way possible. I am constantly made to acknowledge the fact that the artisans that I work with are on the verge of giving up and I find peace of mind in that if I work with someone and there is mutual benefit, we end up helping each other. 

How do you like to unwind and pass time?

I love dancing and haven’t been able to do that in a long time. I love getting dressed up and going dancing until the early hours. Currently, I relax by lounging around in pretty spaces, surrounding myself with the people closest to me. 

Favorite day or memory?

Seeing the first suit that was commissioned for a client. Seeing her try them on in her home in the morning that she was going to wear it at a party that night, and being truly floored by her elegance, and seeing my samples and prints out of the studio and brought to life. 

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