Fashion

A Year After the Beirut Explosion, Lebanon Is Still Suffering—Here, 3 Designers Share Their Stories

My atelier is still in Beirut, where I do all my creative development, and now I’m producing everything in Italy, which has been incredible. It’s been a good end to a horrible year. I feel really lucky to have supportive people around me, my friends and family, my husband—they helped me get through everything. I can finally say, okay: A year later, I feel fresh again.”

“We decided to close our office for the 4th of August this year as a sign of respect. It’s going to be a national day of remembrance. People are feeling a bit sad, because we’re all apprehending the anniversary, but my team and I are going to wear white because we still hope for a better tomorrow.

So many people lost a loved one, and I have friends who are still recovering from injuries from the explosion. But I was very lucky, because it was only material goods that I lost [in the blast]. Afterwards, I heard from so many NGOs who came to assess the damages in my atelier and help me fix it, but [ultimately] we had to leave the building.

We relocated our offices further from the city center and got a bigger space. But it was really complicated, because we had to work in a completely destroyed showroom for three months while the new atelier was cleaned and painted and finished. We had to keep working because we had orders we had to fill and our summer collection to finish. It was quite hectic—I think we moved five times. I think it took until February until we were fully operational, because in January we had another lockdown [for COVID-19]. Then we were back on our feet.

I have a lot of friends who moved their entire businesses to other Arab countries, or to Europe, or Qatar, but for me it was important to stay in Lebanon and keep giving my team work, and to keep working with my suppliers and my artisans… It’s my duty to give them work, because I don’t want the whole infrastructure to collapse. I have to keep this ecosystem alive. But you can’t judge anyone [for leaving], because some people have been more traumatized by this. I think it’s a personal choice, but I really do hope for a better tomorrow in Lebanon.

Creating has definitely been a little hard, but I think we all need to escape, and for me creating has always been my escape. It feels like I can breathe, and can forget everything that is happening in Lebanon. This season, I’m really into strong colors—I feel I need color and a bit of light. I’m using colors a bit like healing stones, like a purple that’s similar to an amethyst. It’s healing for me. And I always say to myself, I’m so lucky to work in such a beautiful field. I mean, there are worse jobs. So I try to always see the positive in everything I do.”

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