2020 has been a challenging year for many in the fashion industry, but it has also seen thrilling developments when it comes to emerging talent. To tell these stories, we’re introducing our monthly Pulse column titled “Pulse Loves the Newbie”, this is the first installment. Whether they’ve been in the business for a few years or a few months, boast thousands of devotees or a few hundred, this column aims to highlight the abundance of exciting new designers in the MENA. For our first feature, we’re taking a look at Trending Topic.

Founded in 2020 by designers Asma and Yazmin Turki, Trending Topic is a sustainable, genderless, Tunisian brand that focuses on trendy and unique style. “We try to focus on the trends of the moment, that’s where the brand name comes from. We add our own touch and take on it, until we have something unique and new,” explains Asma. Every item from Tending Topic is designed and handmade by Asma and Yazmin, in their atelier, located in Menzah 6, Tunisia.

The brand came to fruition after the duo noticed the lack of youthful ready-to-wear brands in Tunisia. “Most [of the brands in Tunisia] are directed towards eveningwear. There was no dominant brand for the youth, aside from fast fashion brands. No one was also focusing on sustainability either,” said Yazmin. As such, they set out to introduce a brand that not only catered to an underserved demographic, but one that was sustainable and inclusive.

For Asma and Yazmin, creating a piece starts with the fabric itself. This is because when it comes to their upcycling process, they are limited in terms of choice. Their fabrics are either sourced from an end-run warehouse in Tunisia, or from Asma’s grandmother, who is a seamstress. The plexiglass they use in their accessories and garments is sourced from a local factory that “save[s] us the plexi scraps that they normally would throw in the away, because they are small, not because they are defective.” The beads they use in their designs are either thrifted or harvested from jewelry passed on to them from friends and family.

As you may be able to tell by now, Trending Topic produces very little waste, often zero. In line with their sustainability efforts, their products are also released in limited ruins and are only available via pre-order. This allows them to focus on their craft and to not overproduce. In fact, their packaging is produced at the time of the order by a local craftsman based in their hometown. “Sustainability is the future, we want there to be a better world for future generations,” said Asma, “We also wanted to set an example, to show that it could be done in Tunisia, and to encourage designers to do the same.”

Some say the future of fashion is genderless, and the Trending Topic duo agree, “We strongly believe that clothes are just clothes and they shouldn’t come with all these rules. We were actually concerned at first about how it would be perceived and were scared if we would get hate for it, but surprisingly it all went well, we’ve only received encouraging comments, and we are so thankful and relived for that, knowing that the world is perhaps changing for the better,” said Yazmin.

As for the future, Asma and Yazmin want to continue producing quirky, sustainable pieces and one day hope their items become immediately recognizable. Love is their inspiration, not only in terms of design, but also in terms of the vibe they want the brand to emit: acceptance for all.