Why "I Don't Belong to You" is Mido's Life and Fashion Statement

Mido fashion style
“I don’t belong to you” - Photos by  Marco Ter Beek

“I don’t belong to you” - Photos by Marco Ter Beek

As I was walking around Hotel Intercontinental during the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, I spotted the fashion designer Mido wearing a belt full of statements like “Justice, Freedom, Peace” and other power words I related to.

Because I’m specialized in portrait interviews centered around social justice and impact, I grabbed him for an interview.

“- I love women. But I feel like when women design for other women, there’s jealousy involved.

I’ve witnessed several times clients looking perfect in dresses and the designer would say “Don’t take it, let’s stay on the safe side”…

I don't chose the safe side. In fact, the way I’d describe my ideal client would be “a diva”.

I don’t like how this word is usually defined, but the way I see it is a woman who’s walking down the street and everybody is looking at her, wondering where she got her outfit from, because she looks fabulous!

It’s not just about the cut, the color, the silhouette nor the cloth, it’s also about sending a message.

One of my idols is Viviane Westwood because she makes crazy fashion, a mix between pretty a porter and haute-couture, but through her clothes, she expresses herself and the way she thinks, which it’s really important for me too.

It’s one of the reasons why I feel different from many designers.

Another reason I feel different comes from my background: I was born in Egypt and I’m mixed-race. My mother is white, my father is black, my grand-mother is Turkish.

Every 2-3 years I would move to a different country, so I’ve always been interested in other cultures. I studied in American schools, and even if we’d speak the same languages with my classmates, we would have different accents and backgrounds.

I used to hate that instability because I’d always have to make new friends and get accustomed to new cultures. But now I see how it has built my character, and eventually my work.

Actually, my biggest inspiration is mixed cultures. For instance, my last collection is inspired by two cultures very far away from each other… I researched those cultures a lot and tried to find the common ground to mix them together : Maasai and Mongolia.

I just moved from Poland to Paris this week and I’m excited to see what inspiration will arise for my next collections!

“I don’t belong to you” is my slogan and is part of my label, sewed on all my clothes.

Anyone will interpret it differently, but for me it means that wherever I’ve lived, I never felt like I belonged anywhere. I feel the same about religions, languages… I appreciate everything but I don’t want to feel biased nor limited.

I don’t like to feel judged by close-minded people, upon whichever category they put me in, for instance, my skin is colored and people get shocked in Polish when I speak their language perfectly. Why?!

- It’s really a strong statement because when comparing your journey to your work, it feels like since you were forced to move to all those different places during your childhood, you probably felt like you didn’t belong, and though “You know what, if I don’t belong, I’m gonna be my own persona, embrace my uniqueness and create pieces that stand out”, I reply.

- Exactly. I want to show that difference is beautiful and not something to hide from, rather something to embrace.

Life is so short!

I’ve noticed that people prefer to stick with jobs and situations they dislike until the end of their lives, to then regret and question their choices once it’s too late. If everyone pursued what they were good at, they would put their heart into what they do best and the world would change.

- That’s what I display with my work, by portraying people like you”, I conclude.