Rebuilding Lebanon's Fashion Industry
Instagram @rimacherfan

“I’m opening my storefront in Mar Mikhael facing EDL to bring back fashion to this destroyed district; that’s the input I’m putting on the area to help heal it. We survived the explosion, but we are all aching and healing from what happened at our own pace.”

Lebanese designer Rima Cherfane is known for creating the most highly coveted pieces, glamorous designs, and chic silhouettes. Cherfan is planning on taking her passion and creativity to bring life back to the streets of Mar Mikhael. The aftermath of the August 4 explosion not only left 300,000 injured and homeless but demolished many businesses and stores along the way – Mar Mikhael was one of the many areas that were affected heavily and have been ripped apart.

Rebuilding Lebanon's Fashion Industry
Instagram @rimacherfane

With the overflow of devastation throughout the year, from the financial crisis to Covid and trauma from the explosion, many Lebanese have found it hard to stay hopeful during these challenging times. Nowadays, the Lebanese citizens are living to survive but losing hope day in and day out. This is why Rima Cherfan wants to bring light to the year of darkness and bring hope, excitement, and glamour back to the city.

Cherfane’s team is working toward opening the store in December 2021. “It’s not about the opening as much as it is about dusting off its tragedy. The store used to be a pub; it was someone else investment, and now it’s mine. I feel like I’m lightening a candle after the wind of the blast blew the previous owners light out.” Rima continues, “the only inspiration I have is reverse psychology. I watch the daily news and want to make things better. This is fashion; it’s not just about clothing; it’s about change. Changing what’s been done and what’s being done to us. I want us to keep moving forward, getting by and leaping into tomorrow with hope. Fashion is about turning fabric into a statement piece, and now I’m turning this demolished place into a statement message: we are here, we are strong, we are unbreakable, and we can still turn ugly into fabulous.”

Rebuilding Lebanon's Fashion Industry
A mock-up of Rima Cherfan’s upcoming store. (Courtesy of Rima Cherfan)

With everything going on in the country, Rima stays determined and works toward a better Lebanon, stating, “it’s our duty, it’s our Lebanon, it’s our identity.” As a creative, it makes me beyond proud to hear how resilient we Lebanese can be. Rima’s new storefront location, not only will bring light to the area but draw hope to the people around, showcasing that no matter how many times we are brought down, we can continue to pick ourselves back up, brush ourselves off and keep moving forward.

“The only creativity I can think of now is to create life again. This store is not a sales-driven project as I know the purchasing power has soared down, but it’s the only way I can breathe right now as the world shuts down because corona and Lebanon go into a viral spin of ongoing tragedies.”