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Albania, Macedonia, Netherlands… Aida!

By Florian Mueck • Sep 17th, 2009 • Category: Fashion Theme, Home Zone Macedonia, The Festival Embassy, Top News

The Festival Family has grown by one fantastic new member: Aida Saracini.

The young fashion designer from Albania was born in Macedonia and lives in the Netherlands today. If we add her name based on Verdi’s great opera, then Aida must be one of the most European souls out there!

Aida stumbled across The Festival by accident. Let’s explore her European story…

The Festival | Aida, you are an Albanian fashion designer born in Macedonia and now living in the Netherlands. Plus you carry the name of Verdi’s opera. This is what we call a European soul…

Aida | Yes indeed :D I have my name thanks to my cousin who was totally in love with that opera and especially with Aida’s character. Most of my family were born in Kosovo and moved to Macedonia more than 60 years ago. I was born in Skopje in 1985. After I had finished art high school in Macedonia, I wanted to continue in a fashion design academy. Since there was no such academy at home nor in the neighboring countries, I decided to move to The Netherlands where my brother and his family had already been living. Missing a conceptual approach to my work till then, I decided to study at the “Gerrit Rietveld Academie” - one of the best conceptual schools in The Netherlands in my opinion. I graduated in fashion design in July 2009. Living in The Netherlands was a great European experience for me.

The Festival | What was the inspiration for you to become a fashion designer?

Aida | Well, I come from an art oriented family. My father, Bedri Saracini, is a painter and I have always been connected to art in one way or another. My parents used to take me to theater plays, ballets and operas, and I loved spending time after school at my father’s studio, messing up his paintings. In the beginning I wanted to become a painter too. When I was 14 years old I even had a personal exhibition with 23 paintings which, at that time, triggered a lot of of media attention in Skopje.

After finishing my elementary school I decided to go to an art school. One teacher of mine, Lira Grabul, noticed the talent I had for fashion and drawing and changed the way I was thinking. I became more confident in what I was doing.

Today, since I love both so much, I still somehow cannot divide fashion design from art.

The Festival | What are the fashion hot spots in Europe right now? Who is hot in the sector today?

Aida | Hmm… Fashion is exposed to constant change. It’s getting too fast and dynamic. Sometimes we turn our eyes to London, other times to Milan, Paris, Berlin, our neighbors or random people in the street. For me personally my all time favorite designers are Hussein Chalayan and Balenciaga. But I also have some other favorites like Maison Martin Margiela, Comme des Garcons, Gareth Pugh.

The Festival | You read about The Festival in the Internet. What were your first thoughts?

Aida | To be sincere, I found out about your project by accident. And the first thing that got me interested was the line: Europe grows together through its people. I started reading more about this great movement and I think that everybody should join together in this wonderful project. Europe is not only politics! We are rich in culture and it’s a great project to make Europeans more aware of that. My compliments!

The Festival | You grew up in Macedonia… What’s the opinion of the Macedonian people towards the European idea?

Aida | As the German filmmaker Wim Wenders once said: “I think Europe is heaven on earth as soon as you look at it from the outside. Those who have lived for a long time in Europe seem weary of it and those who are not there, who live somewhere else, want to get here at any price and join us.” I totally agree with that. Grass is always greener on the other side, even though I do believe that now with the easier access to travel visas for Macedonians, I think people are much more interested and open-minded there than they used to be. They want to travel more, see more, learn more. I believe the Balkans can also cross that fence and take part in growing the greener grass. Altogether we should, and hopefully will represent an important cross-cultural model for the world.

The Festival | And we heard that Albanians are said to be the most hospitable people around…

Aida | Nice to hear that :D And it is true! Not just Albanians, but across the whole Balkan region people are much friendlier and open to help compared to Western Europe. Even though, sometimes it can get too hospitable… It’s just a different culture there. People are somehow more connected to each other and mix more into each other’s lives. There, you can meet friends without arranging an appointment one week before. It really took me a while to learn that in The Netherlands. Now I have problems when I come back: Everybody looks at me strangely, when I ask them to meet me in a week or so… :D

The Festival | Thank you so much for your sincere words. All the best for your career and definitely see you at The Festival!

Contact info

Aida Saracini
+31 638950089
mail [at] aidasaracini.com
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Florian Mueck is European, initiator and co-founder of The Festival: "Passion for Europe maybe does not exist in the media. But it does exist in many hearts of many people."
Email this author | All posts by Florian Mueck

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