Meet Basim, Self-Taught Syrian Magician Behind No Nation Fashion's Designs

As we watch Basim piece together fabric to create a white summer dress, we feel as though we're witnessing the making of a showcase piece for a pret-a-porter collection within an extraordinary fashion house. However, there are no armies of seamstresses or teams of designers surrounding him, no discussions on how to create a sleeve or consultants for design, and no research projects declaring white as the hit color for the summer. Basim sits alone at his sewing machine, a measuring tape draped carelessly around his neck. A few minutes later, he stands at the tailor's table with scissors in hand, using his own technique to determine the perfect measurements for the dress. After ironing the hem, he smiles and asks if anyone wants to try on the nearly finished dress. The rest of us stand in awe, witnessing this magical one-man-show moment.

Basim, along with his wife and three children, arrived at the temporary reception center in Ušivak seven days ago as they embark on their migrant journey, fleeing war-torn Syria, through Turkey and Serbia, hoping to eventually reach Germany where his siblings are waiting for them. Despite the unknowns and challenges that come with irregular migration, Basim has taken over the No Nation Fashion studio and astounded us with his ideas and execution. Shy at first, he quickly began contributing ideas and creating garments and accessories on his own. It only takes him a few hours from concept to finished piece, as we witnessed in amazement as his hands worked quickly to cut and sew the fabric for his vision of a white summer dress with ruffles. In just an hour, two ladies will be trying on the final product.


Basim is completely self-taught, learning quickly from watching his mother, who was skilled with a sewing machine: „"I am completely self-taught, I have always had a great love for the textile industry. Since I learned quickly by watching my mother, my family bought me a sewing machine. That really helped me while we were in Turkey, where I worked for a while in the textile industry, sewing and cutting over 500 formal garments," Basim explains that he learned the art of hairdressing in Turkey and has become a skilled and talented hairdresser.

His sense of aesthetics is innate, and he collects ideas from this mind, the internet and learns sewing techniques from YouTube. His dream is to continue working on his designs and open his own business in the textile industry. In the midst of uncertainty and struggles, Basim finds solace and joy in the sewing machine and scissors, letting his troubles melt away as he creates.


In the No Nation Fashion corner, located in the temporary reception center in Ušivak near Sarajevo, Basim has made several t-shirts and is almost done with an evening dress, with the leader of the workshop saying he needs no assistance at all. Following his heart, this man with golden hands is the inspiration that NNF embodies - that fashion has no borders or barriers, and that it is a universal language, a symbol of courage and persistence in achieving one's goals.



About No Nation Fashion 

No Nation Fashion (NNF) is a celebration of cultures and a testament to the incredible potential of migration. Born in the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), NNF is a collaborative effort between migrants and local designers, powered by the support of IOM - UN Migration. 

Through NNF workshops in BiH and other activities, we've seen lives transformed, talents flourish, and new opportunities emerge. As we move forward, our vision is to make NNF a self-sustainable social business. We're not just about fashion; we're about creating a brighter future for everyone involved. Together, we can rewrite the narrative of migration, turning it into a story of creativity, collaboration, and solidarity. By contributing, or simply spreading the word, you become a part of this beautiful journey of cultural celebration and empowerment. 

Support Migrants Thrive Through Fashion:  


Written by Balić