When an explosion ripped through Beirut on August 4, killing more than 190 people, it also laid waste to much of the infrastructure of the city. Whole sectors were reduced to rubble and, with them, the hopes and dreams of countless small business owners that helped give the city its unique energy.
Beirut inhabitants are now facing an uphill struggle to rebuild their shattered lives, able only to rely on one another and NGOs for support. With many designers situated in the downtown region shattered by the blast, the Lebanese creative industry in particular has been left reeling.
Now, a new initiative has been set up to offer support to that industry.
Called Creatives For Lebanon, it is the brainchild of 10 of the country's biggest names in publishing, fashion and design, and aims to spur the wider Lebanese community to lend support.
The list of founders reads like a who's who of the industry, encompassing jewellery designer and Tatler editor-at-large Sabine Getty and Caroline Issa, chief executive and fashion director of Tank magazine.
Also involved is Plastik magazine founder Eli Rezkallah, and fashion designers Sarah Baadarani and Racil Chalhoub. Jewellery designer Noor Fares and curator Petra Palumbo, too, helped establish the platform, together with Dazed magazine's head of content Ahmad Swaid, stylist Emilie Kareh and luxury PR Alissa Kobeissi.
Committed to helping rebuild the shattered creative sector in Beirut, it aims to do so by “launching long-term impact initiatives” to raise funds and awareness.
With a mission to “leverage the power and potential of the Lebanese diaspora to support and rebuild the creative sector in Lebanon", already it has joined forces with Art For Beirut and Sotheby’s for an online sale entitled #DonateCreateParticipate, sending much-needed funds to organisations on the ground.
Another such project already launched is Beirut Re-Store, a virtual shop offering donated works by, among others, designers Craig Green, Martine Rose and Loewe’s creative director, JW Anderson, as well as artwork by Jamie Hawksworth, Harley Weir and Gavin Turk.
All proceeds will go to verified Beirut charities.