The collector: Ramzi Hani, Interior Architect, Beirut, Lebanon.
The collection: Clothing tags.
The story behind the collection...
It all began with a Christian Lacroix tag. My sister bought a pair of pants from the designer's flagship store and I remember falling in love with it's visual identity and its sophisticated design. It must have cost the fashion house a good deal of work and money to create. I started thinking that such a small piece of print encapsulates a whole fashion empire that the designer worked years to create.
Psychologically speaking, I have always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer but was never able to attain that reverie professionally. This love is reflected in my personal design style and my love for details which is a main theme in all the tags that I have collected so far.
I have been collecting tags for 14 or 15 years. My friends and family members help in enlarging this collection. They know it is a sin to throw away an interesting tag as long as I'm alive!! By now I must have over a thousand pieces. They reflect diverse national and international brands through various seasons. I find something special in these little pieces of information that abbreviate months of work for their corresponding items. The tags vary from the super funky to the super classical, depending on the calligraphy, the imagery, the colours, the logos, the way they are attached to the clothes and so on. Each season all the fashion houses create new ones that mirror their clothing lines. There is always a new tag to be collected.
My collected items do not require a lot of space to store since they are small print works and painted fabrics. I safe keep them in boxes, hoping that one day I will be able to create a huge collage that fills up a whole wall, or even use them as a surface for a dining table in my future house.
My favourite find has to be a tag by British designer Paul Smith. It perfectly reflects my fascination with coloured stripes that are carefully done with great proportion and choice of colour. Another important find is an old tag that includes a care label on how to wash and iron its garment in ways that are no longer used today. It dates back to the 1970s I suppose.
My collection reveals my fashion passions, my strong eye for details, my fascination with the world of colours and design and also my appreciation for and evaluation of products irrespective of their brand, source or existing condition. The tags also correspond to my excessive care for details in everything I want to buy or wear. I recently counted 63 white shirts in my closet but each one has a slightly different details or stitching. The collection reflects the neatness and order I surround myself with, even in my daily schedule, which is not always a positive thing as it keeps me nervous most of the time. Finally, I think it shows how emotional I am - in certain instances I keep a tag just because it reflected a certain era or item I'm nostalgic about losing.
I am a collector in general.... I cannot resist buying items with remarkable details or a specific innovative design, even if it means I have to transport it across countries. In the end a designer always sees beyond the physicality of the product, and that's why he collects a lot of things and enjoys owning them as part of his line of memories, possessions or interest.
Images © Ramzi Hani and used with his kind permission.