Everything that fashion is looking for today, in terms of diversity, inclusivity, upcycling, gender fluidity, inspired creativity, collages that connect the past to the present and break down boundaries, a sense of community, traditional craftsmanship and most importantly, emotion, Artsi Ifrach has been doing with sincere love since he created his first piece at the age of 28. Here, he tells Pulse about his journey toward winning the FTA Award in that most prized category, Evening Wear. 

Growing up in a museum

“I don’t have many childhood memories. What I do remember in particular is that my dad worked at a museum, and I spent a lot of time with him in its basement. That’s probably when my creative process started. I was exposed to so many works of art and craftsmanship that fueled my imagination.

I was also a ballet dancer for many years, surrounded by interesting artists and clothing, especially stage wear. My passion for fashion is linked to the stage, dance, movement, and also touring the world.

I never studied fashion. I am a self-taught. I followed my intuition. I just started to play with clothes and fabrics and I became passionate about it. I created my first piece from a map and a beautiful tapestry found at a flea market. I wanted to make a dress. This is a very vivid memory. It was the beginning of my craft, the point from which I learned to develop and improve.”

Seeking elevation

“I don't look up to anyone in particular, I look up to myself. I try to be the best version of who I am and I work at it every day. I admire and respect a lot of people, but it's mostly through my own work that I seek elevation. 

Every morning I wake up at 7am, have my coffee, pray, do some exercises that allow me to relax and start my day nicely. Then I go to my showroom and workshop and start working on new pieces, discuss with my wonderful team what beautiful things can be done, meet with some clients... it's all about creativity. In the evening, I relax and get in shape to start a new day. I am very disciplined. Without discipline you don't get anywhere. 

My favorite place is my studio. It is the place where I create magic. I love my energy when I am there and what comes to me every day I am there.”

Life after the Award

“My plan after the Award ... is to keep going as I am and continue to grow in respect to this Award. I don't want to take it in a selfish way. This Award should set an example for the next winner. I want to show that this Award has a lot of meaning and importance for me in terms of culture, creation, and what it means to be a designer in the MENA region. So my plan is just to become the best version of myself and start over every day. 

My wish is to show that anything is possible, especially in the MENA region. Because I believe that it is our responsibility to develop it. And if people respect us and give us the options and the possibility to dream and achieve our dreams, I will be very happy to inspire others and continue to contribute to the development of the region. Above all, I want to continue to grow and do great things and show them to everyone."