What’s the most kind of fabric you favor or like working with and why?
In answering number 10 again, in a different way, each type of print and theme in a collection is different . however, i am almost always familiar to the printing onto silks and high quality fabrics. if i am going to be experimental for my own arty side , without any commercial reason, then i will explore mixed fibre fabric, manmade fabrics like poly-satin, satin-acetate and cotton-synthetic mixes as the print will develop a new dimension; maybe more fluid, or more matt or more vibrant or deep and dark.











When you print, do you apply it or work manually? If so, what’s your personal method?
My favorite methods are using doing things by hand: stencils, wood blocks, cut outs, hand found objects to paint and press on fabrics, or tie-dye with objects to reveal positive/negative color ways and features. its very hit or miss , but that  is what excites me and intrigues me the most in my personal textiles experiences and these ways were the ways of how i started and why i wanted to pursue textiles as a subject.


Ever worked as an in-house textile designer? To whom (Roberto right)? And can you please walk us through it (from different kinds of pressure to the work sphere to the process of developing)?
I have worked  in-house for a small number of designers and , for the time i have done  it, i really enjoyed it, but was pleased to leave after as its very demanding and highly pressurizing. the ways of developing collections is very diverse from one house to another but they all have set time guides and regulations with business obligations. i am devoid of all that .  i have worked with Cavalli , Kenzo, Enrico Coveri, ghost and paul smith on this in- house basis and i would do it again…


How do designers use recycled textiles in their designs? Do you think they should?
To be honest, i am not sure how designers or textile designers re-cycle their fabrics . i would guess that they give to a charity to send off to re-use. i do know of a company called TRAID  that  people of the public can just dispose of their clothes into big metal bins on the street that gets collected by the traid charity. yes, it would be a good idea for designers to re-cycle. it some other ways, a lot of people in the UK and europe donate clothes to charity  to be re-sold to the public. this is very trendy and you can often find vintage and designer wear. i am a big fan of this , and i also wear second hand clothes bought in charity shops.


Are you stuck among a certain crowed or do you feel better off alone? Meaning, are you your own crowed? If not what are the kinds of people you socialize with, beside Bella Freud, Kate Moss and the Bvlgari people…
The people who i surround myself with is very diverse in their personalities yet they seem to be people  who are , somehow involved in the arts in some way. that is what i prefer. of course, i don’t reject or think less of those who i meet who are maybe in science or sales etc- but just that we may have less to talk about on an interests level. i seem to be attracted to photographers but , moreover- i am fascinated by people who are from either the middle east or south america. i always say that: my mind belongs to the middle east and my heart to south america. its difficult as it means i can rarely find the perfect guy (if we are talking on that level?) in the end , i am open to all sorts of people from race, color, sexuality, creed, ethnicity and employment type. quite often its the people who maybe bankers who are quite witty or have great stories to tell. its unexpected and i find that endearing and enchanting. yes, i have rubbed shoulders with more famous names that i can remember but its all memories. i don’t expect that to happen every time i go out and it would be a bit surreal anyway if that were to be the case. its just quite exciting at time when i spot a singer, a film star who i want to meet  at an event.

I have also got a special interest to attend foreign embassy functions who host cultural events such as lectures or films, exhibitions often followed by a  drinks and canapé reception. in my experience, i have most pleased by the italian, peruvian and german embassies.


Tell us about your visit to Jordan-Amman? As a city how did it appeal to you?
I really enjoyed my trip to amman, and to other parts of jordan such as Madaba, mount Nebo, the Dead Sea. it was all very beautiful and i had a great time in all places. i wish that i had of got to see Petra and Jerash  but as i was ill with fever, dehydration and stomach illness – it was impossible for me to pursue anything else . i felt very much at ease in amman and other parts of jordan that i visited. i always feel comfortable in north africa, middle east. i have also travelled to: tunisia  five times (different places), marrakech, morocco, damascus, syria, and jerusalem, israel, bethlehem, palestine, cairo , alexandria, Luxor , egypt, istanbul, turkey- so, you see i am very familiar with feeling at ease in such environments. i think amman appealed to me both than some of these others as i was surprised to have a gay bar : books@cafe that i enjoyed but i was not aware of any other gay bar or gay activity.


When coming to Jordan? What inspired you the most? Besides getting dehydrated!
My inspiration can come at any time, and although i did enjoy amman and jordan of the places i went to, i was not inspired since i would of liked to see a souk, a bazaar, the inside of a beautiful mosque and some more elaborate architecture depicting islamic imagery. i would go back to jordan as i do want to see Petra and Jerash, and i feel at ease in the city of amman with friends who i met. i also wish to start a business/develop a line of clothes with a friend where we can promote our collection to jordan and the middle east.


Are you well aware of Islamic cultures? And how can they interpret your work as a textile designer?
I am extremely aware of the presence of the culture and the religion in such a country such as jordan and i always feel it when i travel in these territories,  and i respect it. i have respect for all cultures and religions but i don’t interact with any the endorsements or propaganda as its my choice to follow who i want and at my own will. i do feel that the presence of muslims is quite calming for me and i am fascinated. i adore the looks and the mannerisms  but i find that i am cautious to make a move for fear of wrong doing. this is my only draw back by being in a muslim country . its not a negative post but as i am from europe with no faith , and obviously very western looking, i do feel i am a target of exploitation at times, though i know this happens throughout the world.

i have used  islamic imagery in my work for years. it may not be too obvious in the literal image/print work but as i am so much in touch with the feeling and the ambiance of the islamic culture and its environment, i have soaked up and absorbed the culture in my brain and i feel i am able to convey elements of this ; being maybe a color selection : gold, turquoise, black, or hot pink with orange and brown. i know the colors well and i am aware of the imagery in such contexts. i also such details of windows, tiles, text and architecture – in a subliminal or abstract way to show my appreciation of its richness , history and ability to be modernized  and used in variety of formats.

(Pictures up and right; Sienna Miller wears Ian Labeija's designs on a photo shoot from his S/S 2003 collection)












In your experience, as I’m holding pages of your work in various magazines, is working for magazines more influential or with designers? Maybe the other way around? What’s the advantage and how does it differ?
As a small printed textiles designer  and fashion designer, i am always very , very keen and excited to  have any form of publicity in any way, shape or form . i have not received any huge press attention to document my work, even though i have been featured in many magazines. nothing in terms of work or contacts has developed from this exposure so far , and i am saddened by this fact. on the other hand, when i am doing a print for a designer who is mega famous, i am aware that millions of people around the world will be wearing the label that i worked on. its not my name , but i know it myself and that feels great for my confidence. it  also a huge platform for my prints to be seen on the catwalk in paris, milan, new york to the top leading editors, stylists around the world- and that is the greatest power i have received  by association of the designer i am working with, whether it is Moschino, Ungaro, Cavalli or Von Furstenberg.


How did you feel dressing Sienna Miller in your prints? Were there in the shoot?
My time with Sienna Miller was  a delightful experience,. she was very  calm, friendly, easy going and chatty  to be with. she had great poses, ideas and was in character for a lot of what was asked  of her, she needed little make-up since had great skin and clear eyes. she was very down to earth  and i have since discovered she is a capricorn symbol star sign , same as me !!




Stay tuned on Ian’s work through his updated blog which got most of his textiles and designs on it. It also reveals his ideas and sources of his work in textiles, not to mention his work history and clients… (here>)