Listed as an honoree member of the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2020 list, Hadeel Osman is a creative director, stylist, fashion researcher and founder of DAVU Studio, a multi-disciplinary creative studio tasked to fuse sustainability into design, art and education. Hadeel has worked in the industry for over eight years and has built a deep understanding of the media and fashion industries.
She is amongst the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list of 2020, and she is also named in the official list of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans 2020. Hadeel is an influential advocate for growth, development, and change in Sudan and Africa’s fashion and creative industries. In pursuit of sustainability and low impact living, she aims to help in developing the current contemporary fashion industry infrastructure across Africa and help evolve it into a fully functional and sustainable industry. All the while researching continental resale and second-hand markets and their overall impact on the environment and people.
There is a general misconception that garments imported from foreign countries are superior to those locally made. However, this is a concept Hadeel plans to get thrown out of the average Sudanese mindset. Hadeel Osman, who became the country coordinator for Fashion Revolution Sudan, a board member of the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion, and created the hashtag #AfricalsNotALandfill, intends to bring about awareness and education on sustainability in the fashion industry, the regional impacts of capitalism and industrialisation that is heavily practiced in the Global North, while raising the value of local markets.
Hadeel recommends second-hand shopping and thrifting from local markets, to shopping from fast fashion brands, because not only will people be supporting local traders, these clothes would otherwise end up burned or rotting away in landfill. With the online vintage and clothing reseller platforms, thrifting has never been easier. Hadeel plans to inspire the world to stop in their tracks, take a look around. She intends to lead them away from naively taking part in the evil repercussions of the fast fashion industry as a whole, and navigate their paths to slow fashion and conscious consumption instead. She provides an alternative to living a conscious, and honest life with minimal negative impacts on the environment, as possible.
With sustainability comes one major option: use what you already have and take care of it because “Loved Clothes Last”. After all, in most cultures within the global South, sustainability is deeply rooted in the culture. Not only due to economic issues, however people tend to be more resourceful and appreciative to what they already own, therefore prolonging the lifespan of these items and finding new ways to repurpose them if and when needed. Hadeel, with good reason, discourages consumption from fast fashion brands as they put the people within the supply chain, for example from farmer to factory workers to consumer, and planet in the backburner with their focus on monetary gain at the forefront. She also recommends that people look into supporting small, local designers. These local designers mostly provide hand-made products that tend to be one of a kind, instead of the fast fashion’s low quality mass production. Persuading people to buy and support local fashion products in this unprecedented time of COVID-19 helps people look unique and help local businesses prosper in these dire times.
Creation of DAVU studio
Having studied visual communication and marketing in Malaysia and the US, Hadeel worked in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) before embarking on her freelance journey, as she desired to live and discover Africa. From then on she worked on several projects with clients in Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and Sudan. With over eight years of experience worldwide in the field, while coming from a background that included styling, visual communication and marketing, it was only suitable to gather all that experience and use it to start a business in the same field.
Having lived her life as a third culture child, Hadeel desired to work for a positive change. Hadeel had spent a few summers in Sudan as a child, however upon moving back and with the cutthroat political situation that presented itself especially for women, Hadeel experienced quite a bumpy ride. Her struggles continued with the limitations enforced by the culture and political regulations, as well as the uninspiring dull “mostly brown” surroundings in Khartoum. The surroundings helped further boost her desire to bring about change and inspire visual creativity.
Hence came about the creation of DAVU Studio. DAVU stands for “Designing A Visual Utopia”. With limited resources and a collapsing economy, Hadeel worked alone to make her desires a reality. DAVU Studio provides many services that include concept development, styling, branding, developing concepts, creative and art direction, and workshops that work as a form of informal education.
Hadeel was able to work with an array of Sudanese visual artists, designers, startups and a variety of businesses. For the years 2018 and 2020, Sudan Independent Film Festival, GIZ, British Council and Goethe Institut are amongst some of the organisations that have commissioned Hadeel to create workshops and train creatives in various fields. Her clients include slow fashion brands, local as well as regional, startups and cultural houses and corporations.
Experience in the field
Hadeel Osman is a creative entrepreneur on a mission to improve the outlook of her country. And hence, she dedicated her entire career to boosting Sudan and Africa in the creative frontier of art and culture. Discovering Fashion Revolution on social media back in 2015 and watching the highlights of its global events inspired Hadeel to seek out establishing a Sudan version.
She worked to bring about positive attention to the cause, and Hadeel moved on to make Fashion Revolution Sudan a reality. Here she served as a country coordinator. Hadeel also became an Ambassador at Slow Fashion Movement, encouraging the growth of slow fashion and local brand support, all while discouraging fast fashion consumption and highlighting its negative effects on people and planet. From then on, she helped co-found the Arabic Instagram page of the movement, as there is a lack in Arabic content on the subject.
Hadeel also worked as the creative director and consultant for the debut album release of Salute Yal Bannot, an all-female Sudanese band. Their work brings attention to modern Sudanese women, concentrating on breaking down barriers and cultural norms.
She creative directed and styled the “Sudany” editorial published in Shuba magazine and the “Vinting” editorial published in Picton magazine. Amongst other directorial work, she also directed a commercial for Enda, Africa’s first running shoe company, during her time as a resident art director for TAP Media in Kenya. Over the last few years, Hadeel Osman has created multiple samples for her own clothing collection. She intends to release a capsule gender-neutral, lightweight, colourful ethical fashion collection. However, with sustainability in mind, she plans to dive into the world of upcycled fashion and is considering trying out vintage reselling at some point in the future, since she collects and curates an array of unique pieces from her ten years journey of thrifting. Her aim through her work is to provide advancements in fashion that are innovative, minimize waste and have fewer negative impacts on our fragile environment.
Hadeel Osman is a creative director, stylist, graphic designer and mentor. Detail-oriented and solutions-driven,she advocates for a sustainable full functional fashion industry, one that thrives upon individuality, ethical design and innovation. Hadeel Osman, through her continuous hard work, aims to boost local brands and slow fashion while raising awareness on the impacts of fast fashion, secondhand trade in Africa, the functionality of the fashion industry in terms of labor and rights, as well as the importance of conscious consumption by consumers.
Photo cred @talal.afifi
Client @oreeed.sd , creative direction @davustudio , model @dixter9
Workshop conducted by @mshadeel via @davustudio for @siff.sd
DOP @ahmed8nouman Art direction & styling @davustudio
Photo Cred @noorytaha model @dr.ramaaaa
Client: @dowaqa Art Direction, food and fashion styling: @davustudio
Subject: @mustafa_jorry Art Direction: @davustudio
Photography @thefazpixels art direction @mshadeel via davustudio
Client @Ashrenkail creative direction @davustudio