The respect of intangible know-how by Ali Rakib
Ali Rakib, founder of Forweavers and a champion for the protection of intangible goods, sourced ethical and responsible materials for us, to contribute to our brand new edition of the Color Intelligence Spring & Summer 2023 trendbook.
What was the main motivation behind your interest in these subjects?
I’m a typical example of a French education: I’m proud and nationalistic, and I place a lot of importance on my feudal history (imagined and real) and on its architectural heritage, monuments and cathedrals. As I child, I escaped into Arthurian stories much more often than into Japanese manga.
At the same time, the basis of my thought process is rooted in my Bedouin culture from the Atlas Mountains’ desert regions south of Morocco. There’s very little material to collect in that area, so the idea of an intangible cultural heritage took on a magical allure.
My two educational influences have made me the adult I am today. Using this double perspective, I’ve traveled, visited civilizations and had all kinds of experiences. I’ve also recognized the insidious danger of increasingly uniform lifestyles driven by a cultural and economic dictatorship of a powerful few.
Because of this, my life’s purpose became clear.
For NellyRodi you chose a certain number of materials that illustrate exceptional expertise and express your personal convictions. Please tell us the story of these fabrics and the men and women who created them.
I paid close attention to NellyRodi’s methodology for interpreting and analyzing trends. I asked questions, suggested concepts, asked even more questions and recommended intellectual approaches that respected cultural integration and maintained appropriations. The final result is a textile anthropology coherent with the consultancy project outline.
After being isolated during lockdown, it seemed clear to us that the materials we suggested should resonate with a group. With the health crisis confinement behind us, we had to consider long-term, carbon-neutral prospects. In view of world events that made us think about the meaning of how groups of people are different, we needed to find a powerful symbol for being open minded. And after a collective awakening to the necessity – not only virtuous but also vital – of respecting non-human life forms, animals, insects and the climate, we needed a fabric in harmony with this ideal.
And so I suggested ahimsa silk (which doesn’t require killing the silk worms). I also suggested plant-based materials made from leaves, stems or bark and created by island people, since they are the first to alert us to rising waters or problems with vegetation. We also chose fluid materials with irresistible softness, since gentleness is something we need now more than ever …
The result is a wonderful playground where creative, intuitive people can use their senses to explore the surfaces and textures of these rare and unique materials. By encouraging their production, those creatives support the preservation of an intangible cultural heritage.
I loved working alongside you, and it was extremely valuable and enriching for our team to exchange ideas with you. What about you, what did you think about our collaboration?
It was an honor, given your company’s prestigious name. But mostly I wanted to work with the brilliant professionals in your agency, I truly appreciated each one. When I started the reflection process I felt a little stress, imagining the tens of thousands of people who would look at my work and perhaps criticize the materials I presented.
Before this project, I had only worked for companies that created products under their own name. That meant I could stay in the background, which suited me perfectly. I had never been involved with a structure that created for other businesses, working on a project that showcased my work and put me in the spotlight. But, after our first cup of coffee together, the relaxed atmosphere helped me get recentered in my mission, get on board with the project and be carried away by the excitement of the work ahead. And in the end, it was exactly that – a great adventure that I would have liked to continue for much longer.