الوكالة الوطنية للإعلام – LAU Fashion Design Graduates Send Sparks of Hope All Around
NNA – The sixth cohort of fashion designers from LAU’s School of Architecture and Design put on an eclectic show that combines craftsmanship, innovation and vision.
Coming together to create new opportunities, much like a flame being lit for the first time, is perhaps the most accurate description of how LAU’s sixth cohort fashion drawing the graduates chose to win, after three years of economic, political and health uncertainties.
Their graduate fashion show, aptly named Ignite, filled the audience with a sense of possibility and challenge through creativity. Featuring five looks each, the students delved into themes of identity, belonging, timelessness, strengths, fears, and humor, among others.
Welcoming attendees to the “new jewel in the crown of the Beirut Campus” – the Gezairi Building – LAU President Michel E. Mawad named the many differentiators that set LAU apart, including the close collaboration with Elie Saab.
“The LAU Fashion Design Program is a statement from Mr. Saab and the university: it demonstrates their shared resolve to support and nurture talent, their common pursuit of excellence, and their shared commitment to Lebanon as a land of beauty and expertise. working together to establish global visibility, brand recognition and universal attraction,” said Dr Mawad.
CEO Elie Saab Jr. told the inspiring story of how his father started his business at the height of the Lebanese civil war as an “act of survival to support his family through what he knows best” .
He learned valuable lessons from the different phases of the ELIE SAAB brand: “Elie Saab didn’t start working on his first design thinking of dressing queens and Hollywood stars,” he said. “He took his time, focused on his work and built on one achievement after another.”
His farewell advice to students was to “break the patterns, create your own mold, focus on yourself, be patient with yourself as you grow, set your own goals, and Commit to consistency and excellence in everything you do”.
Dean Elie Haddad noted that the program is no longer in development, but rather a “flagship carrying its own mission and identity”. It is committed to continuing on a path of sustained creativity, supported by faculty and staff and under the guidance of dedicated Fashion Design Program Director Silia Abou Arbid.
Indeed, the program offers hands-on learning experiences and internships that cover the broad fashion industry, from design and sewing techniques to marketing and entrepreneurship.
More recently, collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program paved the way for, among other initiatives, the launch of the BioDesign in Fashion course, in collaboration with Vancouver’s Temporal Futures innovation lab. The research results of this course were presented before the event, at the Bio-Fashion Factory exhibition.
After the show, three graduates received their awards from the honorary chair of the fashion design program and world-renowned designer Elie Saab, who expressed his hope in their promising talent, which is the key to change, and encouraged them to “write a new chapter in Lebanon’s success story.”
Cynthia El Masri won the Jury Prize for its collection, L’éternité, which embodies purity, elementality and timelessness. “My pieces feel like they’ve always been there with an impossible conception of their ending,” El Masri said. She hopes they’ll stand out, as “fashion today lacks emotion,” and instead opted to focus on “things that will be remembered and loved for the emotion that they breathed”.
Lara Nakar received the Concept Development Award for her collection, Schadenfreude, which invites the public to see serious subjects with humour. “Because jokes are considered coping mechanisms, my designs have elements of both seriousness and irony while conveying the message,” Nakar explained.
Zainab Haidar Ahmad won the Craftsmanship Award for her collection, Identity Layers, which is inspired by the designer’s tendency to “exaggerate and emphasize the body in order to represent the formation of new identities”. With this, she aims to illustrate how “we effortlessly create new identities and adapt without noticing”, and she was inspired by the repeating patterns of nature.
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