Positivity and freedom of expression, that’s the message Jordan’s young and creative generation are spreading these days, and one of the reasons why we’re loving Amman as a city break idea right now. Take fashion blogger Bana Abujaber for example, as well as supporting emerging local designers on her blog Sidenotebanaa, her Instagram feed is a kaleidoscope of colourful, fun-loving moments as she shares her everyday life and travel pics – all served-up with some serious style kudos in her outfit choices. We caught up with Bana to talk fashion, gallery hopping and finding inspiration in Jordan’s capital.
Hi Bana. So, what inspired you to become a fashion blogger?
I have always been a fashion fanatic, but it was when I moved back from New York to Amman that I decided to become a fashion blogger. I essentially wanted to bring back the magic I felt in New York – witnessing fashion rise to new heights through social media – and keep it alive in Amman. With Sidenotebanaa, I had the platform to construct my fashion identity and support local designers, which it really helped me do – it’s a digital fashion diary that aims to inspire my followers and readers.
How would you describe style scene in Jordan?
In Amman the women are not as conservative as you would expect. There is some level of conservativeness of course but the Jordan’s style can be described as laid back. There is definitely a mix between both modern and traditional. The creative scene in Jordan is booming, there is so much hidden talent waiting to be discovered such as artists, musicians and fashion designers. With my fashion marketing background I also dedicate some of my time to consulting fashion startups and emerging local designers.
Does Jordan inspire you and your work?
Fashion is a form of self-expression and by living in a country with so much heritage, history and culture it inspires me in countless ways, not to mention the beautiful backdrops it provides; from graffiti alleyways in Weibdeh to high-rises in Abdali downtown.
Thanks for the tip! So, what does it mean to you to be one of the pioneers of Jordan’s modern style?
When I first started blogging, I was intimidated by society. Choosing this path meant I wouldn’t be going the conventional route that all my friends and family had gone which made me nervous to say the least. So to me, being one of the pioneers means that you set your own rules, and hopefully it means that I’m sending the message that it’s okay not to fit the mold in every way.
Is that what you love most about your work?
My favourite part of my work is being my own boss. It’s a challenge at times but it means that you get to set your own priorities and being in charge means a career on my own terms.
What is it that sets Jordan apart as a place to be?
The degree of hospitality! I’ve never seen anything like it.
Do you have a favourite time that inspires you?
My favourite thing about Jordan is the weather; we get all four seasons during the year. I think the best time to visit would be during spring March through May, when the weather is perfect, not too hot and not too cold. During that time you will find yourself in the midst of a landscape in full bloom.
So where can we go to get our culture hit in Amman?
I have spent so much time shooting for my blog in Jabal Al Luweibdeh, which has become one of my favourite spots to hang out in Jordan. Weibdeh, which is one of Amman’s oldest districts has transformed into an artsy, hip scene, where streets are filled with cafes, galleries and of course graffiti. It is definitely the most inspirational area for me to shoot in as it provides a wonderful aesthetic for my photos.
My number one choice for a restaurant in Weibdeh is The Jasmine House Art & Food, which is basically an art gallery that promotes local culture and architecture. At the same time it serves excellent Italian cuisine.
What’s the best place to pick up some cool threads in the capital?
For trendy and chic clothing you can shop at The Rail, D2 Boutique, La Coquette and The Nines. For jewelry head to Stones, which has a mix of both local designers as well as international. For Jordanian designers your best bet is the concept Chamber Gyld Design House, which showcases both local and regional designers.
Finally, if you could sum up your daily life in one sentence, how would you describe it?