If you are a Lebanese expat currently visiting the country, chances are your vacation days are coming to an end and very soon you will travel back to your second home, be it Michigan, France, London, Nigeria or Dubai. If that’s the case, we are pretty certain that at this point in time you are looking to stack up on affordable gifts for your possy back home. And as any good Lebanese, you are certainly searching for something that’s unique and truly local.
In our opinion nothing says ‘unique and local’ more than what has been designed and made by your own homegrown talent. For that reason, we've compiled for you a list of 5 designers/projects that create distinctive, sometimes one-off, über cool items that you can only find in Lebanon.
Before we spill the beans, we have to mention that these designers/projects have a cool story to tell about what they do; any of which will simply wow your friends.
1 // Waste
We first came across Waste items in Oddfish and absolutely fell in love with the brand. What got us hooked was the fact that all Waste’s designs are made from used advertising banners that are in turn made from flex. For those of you who don’t know this, flex is a non-recyclable flexible type of composite plastic that gets disposed of soon after being taken down. In an effort to enable people to reduce, reuse and recycle these guys set to up-cycle these banners by sewing waste-flex into a range of useful items, such as bags, furniture, aprons, and others.
You can buy Waste items in the stores listed below; alternatively you can buy them online from MySouk.
The Bayrut Express | Ahrafieh, Sassine Square | 01-338086 The Oddfish | Bohsali Building, Port Street | 01-566302 Peer | Bliss | 03-764641 BHV CityMall | Dora | 01-905000 ext. 1690/1691 Virgin Megastore | All Branches 6:05 Depeche Mode | Verdun | 01-560776 Le Loft 271 | Jal El Dib to Anterlias Main Street | 04-413600
2 // RapidManufactory
When something is alternative, cool and innovative, we can't help but rave about it. We stumbled upon 3D printed rings in Lebanon at Oddfish (yet again) and were sold on the spot. We asked the sales person and found out that these rings are actually made by RapidManufactory - the first 3D printing and rapid manufacturing shop in the Middle East.
Here are few of the jaw dropping facts about this project: Produced the first eyewear made of concrete (EVER) Provide 3D printing in bio-plastic - the first in the Middle East Created a lightweight chair from metal using 3D-printed components based on research in staticity
If you are looking to customize a gift, you can go with your own design to these guys and get it transformed into a real 3D made product of plastic or metal. Whilst you’re there you might as well spoil yourself and get a pair of glasses made to exactly fit your face features by 3D scanning your face. How cool is that!
Address: theBakery, Salah Labaki Street, Mar Mikhael, Beirut, Lebanon Tel: 01-566241
3 // Sarah's Bag
Sarah's Bag is a veteran brand of the fashion industry. Sara Beydoun, the Creative Director of the brand launched Sarah's Bag 14 years ago in an effort to bring together her love for design and fashion with her desire to empower underprivileged women. Her line of handmade handbags and accessories is designed around the skills of prisoners and ex-prisoners she has personally trained and worked with for years. Moreover, through her designs Beydoun aims to bring Middle Eastern pop culture into the mainstream, and revive region's rich traditions of craftsmanship, embroidery, crocheting and textile making.
See full collection here.
Address: Mhanna bldg, 2nd floor, 100 rue du Liban, Tabaris, Beirut, Lebanon Tel: +961 1 575585 | +961 3 640038
4 // Vanina
Vanina is a 'conscious fantasy' brand launched by a duet of socially responsible lovely ladies - Tatiana Fayad and Joanne Hayek. Through each of their designs - that range from extremely eloquent to all the way funky, Tatiana and Joanna make sure they are communicating a strong social message. For example their ‘Unlocked’ collection aimed to promote up-cycling through a limited series of statement pieces, while ‘Cease-Fire’ went all the way to push for as message of peace in the times of intense violence.
See full collection here.
Eclat De Mode, L1, ABC Mall, Sassine Street, Achrafieh | 01-212888 Vanina, L2, ABC Mall, Dbayeh Mail Road | 04-416000
5 //NK by Nour Kays
NK is a new kid on the fashion block. The designer behind the brand, Nour Kays contacted us last week with an interest to join Raghunter. When we saw her bags and read from what and how they're made we thought she's up to something. Apparently the idea of her brand initiated with her MA final project that centered around simplexity; a developing theory that suggests a possible complementary relationship between simplicity and complexity. So she chose the plastic carrier bag as the simple element and gave it a new life by fusing a couple of bags together. Of course this concept extends beyond the making process and aims through sustainable design up-cycle plastic bags that otherwise take 1,000 years to decompose in landfills.
See full collection here.
Address: Metal And Wood, Roma Street, Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon Tel: 71-479930