Kicking off our first FOCUS ON article for 2013, I spoke to accessory designer Mark Farhat from MARK / GIUSTI about his work, inspirations and challenges for the brand. Known for his dedication to the production of luxury bags and leather accessories, all handmade with the finest Italian craftsmanship, Mark’s eye for detail is unquestionable.
Well, if I tell you everything, then I wouldn’t have any surprises anymore! But truthfully, I am always myself with everyone. What you see is what you get and I believe that this is always the best way to deal with life and it is also the simplest. There shouldn’t be any pressure of pretending to be some one else. After all, if you are untrue to others, you are being untrue to yourself.
The same thing applies to our MARK/GIUSTI brand. We have set certain values and standards, which we do not compromise on. This is one of the reasons that our handcrafted pieces have stood out amongst others in the industry. The surprises then come out of inspiration.
Where do you do most of your work?
I do most of my work in our design studio in Kensington. It is my creative hub where I feel inspired. I also enjoy meeting clients, who give me a tremendous amount of feedback, which helps me focus my energy.
Why did you get into design, and tell me something about your favourite collection?
I have always loved fashion and design as early as I can remember. However, when I was young, boys in Lebanon did not study fashion especially if they came from highly regarded families. So, early on, I decided to do a general business administration degree at the American University of Beirut. I then moved to London and completed my MA in Marketing Management specializing in Fashion and Luxury brands at the University of Westminster. In march 2009, I finally decided to pursue my long-lived dream for fashion accessories and established Mark / Giusti with the launch of my first collection “Bring Back Time” in June 2010.
What inspired you today?
It is very hard to define inspiration. Lots of things inspire me. People, colors, seasons, movies, music, art, mosaics…everything we see around us is inspirational. Many people inspire me on daily basis but those who have definitely left a mark on me: my Dad, my sister, the Cosmati family, Fellini, Thomas Maer for Bottega Veneta, Salvadore Dali and Madame Gres.
Do you have a favorite collection from your designs?
It’s quite hard to pick a favorite collection. They are all my babies and I truly love them all. Every collection is a part of me and represents a stage of my life. Practically speaking, each collection has its own personality and usefulness. For example, I might use the “THE GATSBY” Collection for longer travels or formal meetings; the “Palatina” for short business trips; “La Dolce Vita” for holidays in the Amalfi Coast or Greek Islands and the “ROMA-NZA” for short weekend breaks and any holiday around Europe or the Mediterranean.
What’s your biggest challenge?
The recent trend of big brands going to the Far East for larger productions, lower costs and higher profits have left hundreds of artisanal craftsmen, with generations of experience, out of business. It
is very sad that these arts are diminishing and leaving many people, who excel in their work, out of jobs. This is the biggest challenge we face in this industry. We need to create schemes that encourage young people to learn the hand made artisanal trades so that these beautiful works of art will be available to us all for more generations to come.
On a more personal level, the biggest challenge in creating and running a business is that it’s like having a child. You need to nurture it and dedicate your life to it, even attend to those ‘late night feedings’ if necessary and eventually it will grow up to have a beautiful life of its own. I truly believe that.