CONTEMPORARY LEBANESE DESIGN
“The work of Lebanese designers is the fruit of innovative, moving and elegant
DESIGNS ON BEIRUT
Reem Acra, Georges Chakra, Nour Hage, Zuhair Murad, Elie Saab…Beirut is the birthplace to some of the most sought-after fashion designers in the world.
Here, After Nyne, goes beyond couture to explore the eclectic world of some of Lebanon’s little known designers outside of Beirut.
Situated in the fashionable district of Beirut’s Saifi Village lies Sarah’s Bag,
whose clutches have been worn by everyone from Amal Clooney to Man
Repeller’s Leandra Medine. Amongst the statement handbag line are pieces in the shape of Walkman radios, edible Lebanese delicacies like manoosheh and kaak, and empowering clutches that have statements like Women of the World Unite and Power to the People emblazoned across their front.
Sarah Beydoun launched the line of colourful and expressive bags in 2000, following research at the end of a sociology degree into an NGO that rehabilitates at risk women and female ex-prisoners. Her research prompted her to set up a social enterprise that would train and employ women, whilst simultaneously empowering both the women who make and the women who wear the bags.
The handcrafted bags mix ancient techniques with modern interpretations
that utilize beading, crochet, embroidery and sequins. It can take up to 25
hours to produce some of the pieces in the collection. The team of over 200
women who create the bags are all trained by the Sarah’s Bag team and are
encouraged to pass on their skills to other women in underprivileged
communities in Lebanon. As a result, not only do these women gain skills in a new craft, but their new status helps them reintegrate into society and ease the stigma of being ex-prisoners.
Sarah’s Bag manipulates materials to experiment with the Perspex, resin,
woodwork and marquetry that find its way into the dazzling designs.
into the next chapter of her life.