I truly wish I was writing this piece under better circumstances; however, this is not reality, nor has it been reality for as long as I can remember. As such, today, tomorrow and every day moving forward, we are bound to do our part by amplifying Lebanese voices, online and offline.
Even after the devastating explosion on August 4, 2020, and despite Lebanon’s ongoing political and economic unrest, Beirut remains a source of inspiration for many. Why? Because of its people. No matter what blows they suffer, the people of Beirut never stop inventing, innovating, and creating.
The location of the explosion had a particularly traumatic impact on the creative community of Beirut, being so near its most artistic districts, which were packed with boutiques, cafes, galleries, and ateliers. One of the ways to support Beirut creatives through this unprecedented crisis – apart from donating and continuing to amplify their voices – is to directly purchase from the emerging talent that form the backbone of the Lebanese fashion industry.
With this act, you will not only be supporting one of the most impacted industries in Beirut, but you are also bound to discover a unique piece designed by the incredibly talented designers below.
[Please note that some of the affected brands may not be operating right now.]
Who: Designed by Salim Azzam
What: A ready-to-wear brand which preserves local folklore and traditions. This is done through exquisitely embroidered work by local craftswomen, where each piece tells what Azzam refers to as a ‘moveable story.’
Shop: Matches Fashion
Who: Designed by Rim Beydoun
What: A ready-to-wear brand meant to redefine preconceived ideas of African fashion. The brand draws influence from the exploration of cultural inheritance, nationalism, belonging and migration, while opting out of clichéd motifs.
Jeux De Mains
Who: Designed by Salim Cherfane
What: A ready-to-wear brand that sees the world in pulsating colors. From loud patterns, to clean cuts, each year, the brand explores different themes creating versatile pieces that are graphic and playful.
Shop: Orders via Instagram
Who: Designed by Roni Helou
What: A forward-thinking and androgynous ready-to-wear brand where designs shed light on social and environmental issues. Roni Helou maintains a system through its eco-friendly and ethical practices, sourcing vintage and deadstock materials. The brand is currently participating in a fundraiser to help raise $800,000 for designers impacted by the Beirut explosions.
Who: Designed by Alexandra Hakim
What: A sustainable jewelry brand that promotes zero-waste. The line repurposes materials and objects that would usually go to waste, such as tomato stems, matchsticks, and more. Meticulously made by hand, the brand creates striking, contemporary pieces of jewelry.
Who: Designed by Pascale Habis, Bashar Assaf, Nathalie Khoury, Stephanie Chachard, and Walid Akkad
What: A conscious luxury ready-to-wear brand, offering the woman of today a selection of glamorous and feminine pieces. The designs celebrate women of substance, individuality, and sophistication.
Who: Designed by Karma Salman
What: A jewelry brand which visualizes its pieces as miniature sculptures. Inspired from the design and framework of Lebanese antiquity, the brand preserves the heritage of its country of origin, offering customers unique pieces that represent Salman’s intimate dedication to her craft.
Shop: Orders via Instagram
Who: Designed by Yassmin Saleh
What: A ready-to-wear brand which often explores the themes of fighting complacent nature, while always carrying a message of hope. Each collection evokes conflicting emotions, as illustrated in the brands refined yet deconstructed garments. The ‘Tattoo ‘ series – which is a brand staple – is reimagined in each collection, displaying intricate drawings and meaningful symbology.
Who: Designed by Mira Hayek
What: A ready-to-wear brand dedicated to dynamic women who seek contemporary yet edgy styles. The transitional pieces are ideal for women who lead a bustling lifestyle. The brand is inspired by street art and vivid dreams, with designs that illustrate creativity with loose silhouettes, geometric patterns, and color blocking.
Who: Designed by Timi Hayek
What: A brand deeply rooted in historical, mythological, and artistic research, highlighting the importance of preserving cultural heritage and the natural world. Prints are hand-drawn on delicate materials, which are individually hand-rolled and hand-stitched, creating imperfect yet beautiful scarves and dresses.
Who: Designed by Andrea Wazen
What: A luxury footwear brand that offers high-quality handmade shoes for women, which are designed and produced in Beirut. Inspired by her mother’s 90s wardrobe, Wazen offers the modern woman a selection of versatile designs which lend themselves perfectly to every occasion.
Emergency Room Beirut
Who: Designed by Eric Mathieu Ritter
What: A gender-bending, sustainable, and ethical ready-to-wear brand that utilizes an alternative method of creating clothes. Emergency Room Beirut employs unique vintage materials and deadstock fabrics sourced from different towns across Lebanon to create one-off pieces. As such, the pieces are not only conscious and ethical, but unique.
Who: Designed by Rafah Seoud
What: A ready-to-wear brand dedicated to raising awareness toward a more conscious world, locally and globally. Rafa Homme’s collections tackle social and environmental issues through storytelling, while merging an aesthetic that facilitates the transition between menswear and womenswear.
Shop: Orders via Instagram
Who: Designed by Jessica Khoueiri-Achkar
What: A ready-to-wear womenswear label that reinterprets fashion paradoxes by creating accessible pieces fused with masculine and feminine elements. After sourcing the finest of fabrics, each collection offers pieces exuding confidence, femininity, and refined silhouettes.
Who: Designed by Donna Hourani
What: A jewelry brand that specializes in honest and sustainable pieces. Hourani’s pieces are unique and narrate their own story. They are brought to life by skillful craftsmen after materials are ethically sourced by Hourani herself. The brand upholds high standards of environmental, social, and economical sustainability throughout its supply chain.
Who: Designed by Tatiana Fayad and Joanne Hayek
What: A lifestyle label ranging from jewelry to apparel that celebrates femininity by offering bold products inspired by nature. Each piece is handcrafted in Lebanon, while engaging activism that promotes community development though craftsmanship and environmental awareness.
Who: Designed by Sandra Mansour
What: A sustainable evening and ready-to-wear brand that creates artistically driven pieces with timeless silhouettes. The brand celebrates a blend of romantic yet bold creations, made from delicate fabrics with extreme attention to detail, as seen in its hand-and-thread embroidery techniques. Sandra Mansour is also the first Arab designer to partner with H&M for a fashion collaboration.
Who: Designed by Sara Melki
What: A ready-to-wear brand celebrating the soul of a nomad. Known for its style mixing and combination of ethnic influences, the brand illustrates a free-spirited aesthetic through its refined materials and graphic cuts. From couture-like details to accessible transitional pieces, Sara Melki offers the modern-day woman smart looks.
Boyfriend the Brand
Who: Designed by Amine Jreissati
What: A ready-to-wear “gender invisible” brand, focused on minimalism and comfortable silhouettes. Boyfriend aims to highlight the importance of wardrobe staples through its minimal and high-quality pieces, which can be used as layering or transitional pieces.
Shop: Orders via Instagram
Who: Designed by Hussein Bazaza
What: A ready-to-wear brand which fuses storytelling with fashion. Hussein Bazaza focuses on evoking emotions through its garments to narrate a bigger story. Through the mix of colors, fabrics and textures, the brand combines couture-like details with ready-to-wear methods to create unique, standalone statement pieces.