Introducing Zvemeché. One word made of eight letters, with a wide myriad of meanings rooted in the hypercreative mind of the modelling agency’s founder, Saif Saleh. Through this imaginative noun, Saleh hints towards the agency’s will to build a community that lives up to the young Arabs’ vision for an industry that has yet to thrive in the region.
Placing the onus on empowering the youth to develop and create opportunities in a saturated online world, Zvemeche aspires to tackle one Arab country at a time by filling the gap in a market by easing the usually required needs and means to reach high-level experiences in the industry.
Drawing from the Hashemite Kingdom’s local pool of talents that range all the way from models to creative directors, fashion designers, stylists as well as photographers; the Amman-based bureau offers an extensive selection of services, putting the spotlight on everything from branding to art direction. Innovative, passionate and spirited at the same time, the group of young Jordanians really know how to do it all from A to Z (or Z to E).
Breaking the usual conventions associated with the fashion business whilst committed and constantly striving for success, we sat down with Saleh, the fashion trailblazer, to ask him what it meant to be one of the Kingdom’s pioneering agencies between conception, ethos and future.
Could you introduce yourself and the agency briefly?
I started my journey in the creative industry at a very young age finding myself wanting to become a fashion designer one minute and a painter the next. In 2017, I started out as a freelance photographer with one of my close friends Raya Baqaeen, but it wasn’t until I crossed paths with Izzat Bdair, who believed in my talent and abilities, that we managed to turn ZVM from a dream into a reality leading him and I to become the minds and co-founder of ZVM.
Why was it important to build such an initiative in Jordan?
Due to the lack of appreciation of potential local talents in the modelling field in Jordan, seeing some of my friends used for photoshoots without being properly recognised for their efforts, as well as the lack of development in the modelling scene in the country, I was determined to have ZVEMECHÉ be that point of connection between our local talent and international opportunities.
It seems as if there is a strong emphasis on recruiting local models, namely and mainly Jordanians and Palestinians, why so?
Mainly because here in our region the majority of brands tend to use foreign models for photoshoots, not giving local talents any chance. I believe that this is an organic way of supporting our own rising-stars as we feel the need to push this region’s potential to the highest.
We, as Jordanians and Palestinians involved in the industry, tend to recruit international models that are usually from Eastern Europe which covers our own beauty and natural features. We have amazing faces that you won’t be able to find elsewhere around the world and I truly believe that we really need the highlighting we deserve.
In parallel to the combat against Western beauty standards, your agency also seems to challenge most gender roles and stereotypes one could imagine in the region. Is that a fully fledged part of ZVEMECHÉ’s mission?
It’s important for us to tackle these topics in order for our models to dress, look and be styled in a way where they can express themselves without any barriers or limitations. We push our models to perform on the runway as though they would on a stage with the appropriate freedom and breaking away from cultural brackets we usually find ourselves in.
What advantages do you see there is to brands using this new wave and generation of models?
It’s a way of supporting a whole new face of this generation, where it will allow brands to portray different cultures and showcase unique faces and features. In my opinion I believe this can be highlighted, especially when big brands support new startups with a huge potential and a vision to upgrade the modelling scene.
How do you see the future of ZVEMECHÉ?
I see the future of ZVEMECHÉ in the hands of the creative community it has built. #IAMZVM stands for a strong force that unites a team of talent, keeping our strategic objectives of talent acquisition, talent development and talent retention at the forefront. We have built a strong team along with our models, tackling each area of our business, consisting of our head designer Abdullah Zrikat, our PR/Marketing manager and web designer, Jumana Bataineh, our social media executive as well as ZVM model, Elias Amarneh, and finally our office manager, Rahaf Rababah.
Images Courtesy of Zvemeché