Culture in the student community is sometimes neglected and inexistant. This year, Factory Fest broke the stigma and brought culture to students, directly to their places of study with a rich program and diverse activities.
Factory Fest is a student festival initiated by Campus Culture, which is a program that was launched at The Carthage High Commercial Studies Institute (IHEC) back in May 2021 in collaboration with the following public and private institutes: IPEST, Tunis Dauphine, Holberton School as well as the Higher School of Audiovisual and Cinema (ESAC Gammarth), with the purpose of improving the culture and celebrating it through enriching events.
The fest was held from February 22 to 25 and divided between the IHEC Carthage, the Mad'Art Cinema, Holberton School Tunis, the University of Paris Dauphine Tunis, and L’Agora. At the inauguration ceremony, there was a classical dance performance, followed by a hip-hop choreography, a rap song, then the events followed one another, in order to give the students the opportunity to taste culture and art to the fullest through movies screenings, debates, art exposition, musical performances, and round tables.
The event explored the world of business through the prism of the arts. The themes were chosen by the students to question the corporate world: sectorial themes, such as The Business of Sport or Fashion & Beauty, and transversal themes, such as Leadership, Well-being or ill-being in the workplace, Feminism, or Surveillance Capitalism.
Fatma Kilani, professor, art curator, gallery art owner and project manager of Factory Fest, defines the objectives of the event: 'Factory Fest questions the role of the company with students who are the future employees. It also started with the Factory Fest Academy, a festival management course, which took place on February 12. We wanted to expand the scope of our activities. I am relatively satisfied with the outcome. I would've loved to have more people come and appreciate the work we’ve done. Next year is probably going to be about other themes and different subjects will be treated as they are proposed by the students themselves.’
I attended the last day of the festival with the Maft team at IHEC Carthage to document the eco-responsible fashion show + performance organized by Moodha Okhra (Fashion Differently). Which is an educational project around sustainable and responsible fashion in Tunisia initiated by the Goethe-Institut Tunis and the association Pontalent.
With the help of Eya Sboui, Factory Fest coordinator for the meetings and the fashion show, alongside the students of IHEC from the Art Revolution Club, Photography Club, They marched down swaying to the sound of slogans claiming an ethical and responsible fashion, whole the public watched and admired the wonderful creations of Salah Barka, Anissa Aida, Boauna and Moodha Okhra’s first edition candidates along their walk and bold statements.
We’ve noticed that there was a lack of education and awareness when it comes to sustainable and ethical fashion. But they were really interested in learning and were very great listeners.
'With this small fashion show, we tried to also spread awareness with the signs and slogans on sustainable fashion and eco-responsibility. It was a new territory for us and for the designers also to enter this students' realm, this potential target. Students are the future of fashion as consumers and creators.'
-Mayssa Ben Fredj (Moodha Okhra co-founder)
Maft’s co-founder and Moodha Okhra co-founder Meriem Aouadi was one of the speakers in the talk that followed alongside Anissa Meddeb (Anissa Aida brand) and Salah Barka with the subject "Fashion & Beauty at the time of the all natural". They were accompanied by student moderator Sawssen Kraiem and interventions from the students who attended.
After the talk was over I caught up with the speakers to give you quotes and get more insight on the experience.
‘I attended the event as an Alumni. Co-founder Moodha Okhra and the title that I am most proud of is being a member of the IHEC community. It was an interesting event to connect the business world with art and fashion and to include sustainability and ethics. It was a great experience to talk to the generation that came after me and to inspire them and show them that you can work in the creative art industry as a business student. It was an honor to be among Anissa and Salah whom I really admire, to talk about such a theme and also discuss with the audience, and share perspectives.’ -Meriem Aouadi
I was glad to sit down with Meriem who’s an inspiration for me as a Co-Founder of the magazine and an alumni here.
I Stuck with Salah later on for a little chat about this experience.
Salah Barka quote : ‘When it comes to something that aims to spread awareness, teach people and share with them, I am always in! Even though I have a busy schedule, I always look for a balance and try to make time for these types of events. It was a very learning experience for me as I had direct contact with the young generation, the buyers, and found their questions very interesting and helpful for me. I had the opportunity to talk naturally with them when they asked us 'why haven’t we heard of you?' 'Why are our prices like this?’ and 'where can we find you?’. And I really hope for these kinds of events to continue, so all the actors in the fashion industry can meet and talk. It’s really important for all of us to share perspectives and experiences, so we can grow. We’re all really complementary to each other.'
‘I agreed to participate in this event because I thought it was a great idea to raise the awareness of young students on ethical and sustainable fashion issues. Through the fashion performance, I realized that the world of fashion fascinates many young people as they were proud to wear designer clothes and to make claims.' -Anissa Meddeb (Anissa Aida founder)
Anissa had some insightful words to say about the event and the revelations she discovered.
‘The conversation was interesting. I hope we managed to convey a message. However, throughout the questions, I realized that there was a huge gap between us, designers, and the students of IHEC. Some students were confusing “fashion designer” with craft. They are in fact two very different things. It so happens that Salah and I, who were both present as designers, often call for artisanal work because we would like to perpetuate the richness of our country's crafts. However, a designer doesn't necessarily need to work with artisans. Another thing I noticed was that many students were immediately focused on price issues. It was actually quite difficult to make them understand why designer pieces were more expensive than those sold by fast fashion brands (even though we told them about the creation process, from the inspiration to the realization in small quantities, about the uniqueness of the designer pieces and about their particular attention to the durability of the garment)’
-Anissa Meddeb (Anissa Aida founder)
Across the campus, I went with the students to visit the Sainte-Monique chapel to review the last day of the contemporary art exhibition of jewelry ‘Bijoux d’artistes’ commissioned by La Boîte (a structure supporting contemporary art in Tunisia), bringing together miniature creations by three great Tunisian artists and their artistic universe: figurative folk art for Meriem Bouderbala, abstract art for Amel Bennys, and conceptual art for Malek Gnaoui.
The godmother of the event was none other than Yasmine Dimassi, who's not only a known and appreciated actress but also a marketer who graduated from IHEC in 2015. She is known for her roles in “Dachra" and “Nouba” by Abdelhamid Bouchnak. She enhances the balance between academic training, professional life, and artistic passion.
We give thanks to the IHEC's clubs that helped us in this event like the Photography Club, the Art Revolution Club and The Radio Club. Their participation was very helpful and insightful.
We will be looking forward to the next edition and future events. We hope to see more participation from the students and improvements in the culture.