Circular Economy For Lebanese Fashion Brands
Decisions Made by Lebanese Fashion Brands as a Result of the Revolution
One of the most monumental moments in history. This economic crisis that began on October 17 ,2019 lit a flame in the hearts of Lebanese citizens to start a revolution to end all revolutions. And with the intention of finally seeing some change and fighting to improve this difficult situation, there were also some drastic measures that many businesses, including fashion brands needed to take concerning prices and productivity.
Slow Fashion, But Big Steps
You could definitely say that eco-friendly Lebanese fashion brands didn’t need to succumb to too much of the changes that came with the revolution because they already had a huge part of the work done. How is that? Well, you see, an ethical brands’ mission is to take sustainability and protecting the environment into consideration during the course of its’ design process and that same standard is especially necessary to follow in a time when the country’s resources are very limited. It’s either a scrap of fabric or an old garment that people would normally throw away without a second thought. And those alternatives to produce fashion are literally what’s going to save these brands from going into extinction, which has been a reoccurring nightmare shared by many businesses around Lebanon. Most of the time, it means that there’s less need for resources that don’t really exist, however, that doesn’t make the process any less expensive. Being a sustainable fashion brand can also mean that it’s slow fashion because it’s difficult to be able to have enough of the material for more production of certain designs, which can end up in only allowing an ethical brand to be able to create one model of each piece from the material found. Take Eric Mathieu Ritter for example, founder of ‘’Emergency Room’’; a Lebanese brand with a main purpose to create sustainable fashion by using locally sourced materials. This start up brand focuses on creating pieces by recycling old garments and reimagining other materials that are so unconventional to other brands visions because they lack the effort to bring sustainability into their production and who just haven’t adopted an eco-friendly attitude in this industry. And of course, it’s not uncommon for many to have the perception that most sustainable brands are too basic and lack any real design in their work. That type of thinking though, doesn’t apply to ‘’Emergency Room’’. This brands’ work has laughed in the faces of all the nay-sayers who don’t believe that a sustainable fashion household can rise to the level of what being a real designer is all about.
How does it keep doing that ?
It’s through the vibe of the clothing because straying away from the process of just shopping for fabric allows designers to challenge themselves to introduce a bunch of different elements into their fashion. Erics’ designs can include a lot of that idea of creating from a creation or just plain old scraps, whether it comes from clothing or something that’s used to sleep on:
1. Repurposing a lot of printed rugs, bedsheets and tablecloths that don’t stretch too far away from traditional fabric and letting these materials speak for themselves by just creating simple garments out of them. Each material found sparks its’ own type of energy depending on the print or pattern. Those special pieces could range from being very playful to very cool and sporty or just simply romantic. It’s like one concept to create, but at the same time can be all over the map catering to different customers.
2. Reimagining old garments and adding a bunch of details to rebirth them into something that is fresher and different. From adding scraps of lace or tassels onto jackets to taking accessories like scarves and giving them a different type of function by transforming them into sleeves; these are just a few of the eco-friendly moves made that prove that sustainable fashion can be very powerful.
It might be slow fashion, but it’s real fashion, nevertheless. This brand is just one of the many environmentally conscious businesses within the industry that is keen on being living proof that sustainable fashion is powerful fashion, regardless of the sacrifices it would have to make as a business because of what slow fashion is. This is a brand that knows the importance of its’ existence and what positive impact the decisions that it makes will have for the world in the near future; which makes it all worthwhile in the end.
Whether there’s an economic crisis or not, a good business knows how to put up a good fight against whatever financial predicaments that may come its’ way. It’s all about making fast and smart decisions that will be in the best interest of a business. And while being an ethical brand doesn’t require as much resources as brands that follow opposite values, ‘’Emergency Room’’, with the leadership of its’ founder Eric Mathieu Ritter still knew there would be struggle and made whatever decisions necessary to keep the dream alive. Instead of just selling locally, the designer had quickly chosen to strategize and expand his horizons by making sure that his work would catch the eyes of many new customers through the platforms provided by pop-up shops in many different cities and countries .Therefore, the probability of the brand making sales and profit would increase and simultaneously also gives the brand the opportunity to have more people familiar with its’ name outside of Lebanon.
Desperate Times Call For a Fair Price
A quote from Eric Mathieu Ritter from ‘’Emergency Room’’: ‘’The first thing we did with current existing stock is change the prices to LBP, respecting the 1,500LBP for 1$ conversion rate. Furthermore, it is known by most of our clients that we almost automatically provide a discount of 30% in-store to our most faithful clients, which we have extended to all our customers during the last sales season, and which we’ll probably apply for the rest of the year’’. This is another factor that brands should be considering because of the economic situation. All brands need to also consider the fact that every customer or future customer has also been affected by this crisis because it’s no secret that many people who enter any local brand in Lebanon these days are thinking the exact same thing, and it’s that the prices should be reconsidered and the rate should be kept the same as it was before in their shops despite what the current rate has become or is becoming. Everyone who lives and breathes in this country is basically in that same boat that’s slowly sinking and eco-friendly brands are making the effort to make sure that every customer, including the business, stay afloat.
Besides going the expected route to keep their struggling customers happy by having sensible prices, ‘’Emergency Room’’ is also planning on providing workshops for anyone who is interested in working on their own piece because it means playing a huge role in reducing the price because of the efforts that the ‘’customer’’ he/she had made in creating the piece they’re going to wear. Therefore, it would only be fair to reduce the price as a reward to them. It’s definitely a very fun and creative way to ease the burden of this financial crisis they’re facing; not to mention, they get to learn something new.
It’s important now more than ever that there should be brands throughout Lebanon presenting themselves in this forward state of mind and showing their customers and future customers that they’re aware of what’s going on and assure them that they’re not going anywhere, but will persevere in the face of this adversity!!!
Photo: Emergency Room by Eric Mathieu Ritter