With the regional fashion scene growing by the second, people are always eager to lay eyes on all kinds of new trends. All we have to do is log in to our Instagram accounts and scroll through the endless images in our feed. But let’s not forget that we are only able to do so thanks to the dedicated fashion photographers who stand ready to capture the perfect shot.

Fashion photographers take on many different roles depending on the creative mind behind the lenses, but few have branched out like Tarek Moukaddem, a Beirut-based visual artist who is mostly known for his photography work. From an early age, his passion for photography has been present and assertive and it led Moukaddem to turn what was once a hobby into a career. “I bought my first camera when I was 10, it was a basic Kodak film camera, and I’ve been in love ever since,” he says.

Moukaddem has always been very involved in the fashion scene, as many of his close friends and entourage were fashion designers themselves. But, his career was kickstarted as the Beirut fashion scene exponentially evolved and peaked. “I guess we all grew together,” he says.

The Levantine aesthetic

Having worked in fashion for a long time, Moukaddem found himself leaning towards fashion design. His penchant for garment design led him to launch his latest project, “Nightcomer”. The concept behind the work is how one can preserve the Levantine aesthetic while modernizing it. The first chapter of the collection comprises an urban wear collection with Levantine flair.  “I was very happy that the collection sold out within 48 hours of the launch,” says Moukaddem.

Stepping into a new field can often result in limitations and obstacles and the young photographer and creative director faced production issues, especially with regard to timelines and quality control when he first started. However, these barriers did not limit his goals and ambitions. “I am very lucky to be surrounded by a very supportive fashion community that is helping me with many of my obstacles and technical difficulties,” says Moukaddem.

When it comes to inspiration, Moukaddem does not hold back. The creative designer is mostly inspired by his daily routine and the local culture of his hometown. He is attracted by the people and places that surround him and is curious about their past, as well as what the future holds for them. He finds it easy to produce a “pretty” image or object, however its harder to create something that is seen as functional and that is good enough to respect the needs of the region, he says.

“Be unapologetically yourself. Don’t put yourself in a box or try to be someone else. Care about people’s needs, but be careless about their opinion,” says Moukaddem as a message to his audience.