I never had the chance to write about Creative Space Beirut but they’ve just been featured on Ozy so I thought this would be a nice opportunity to shed the light on this beautiful and inspiring initiative that was started back in 2011 by Parsons graduate, Sarah Hermez, and her former Parsons professor, Caroline Simonelli and they’ve just graduated their first class of designs in Fall 2016.

What is Creative Space Beirut?

CSB is a free educational program in fashion design where talented individuals from different backgrounds are selected and provided with quality creative design education. CSB looks for people who are less privileged and cannot afford going to expensive fashion schools.

How are students selected?

Applicants have to submit their portfolio and sit for an interview, and those who meet the set list of qualifications will be accepted. CSB admits only four students every year, and privileges those who cannot afford the high fees of private fashion schools. CSB students produced and sold over 200 one-of-a-kind, hand crafted, couture pieces, designed and constructed out of their Beirut workshop in the past few years.

How is CSB funded?

CSB’s main source of income is sponsors but they also showcase and sell their designs twice a year at different venues and events around Beirut, to become more self-sustainable with time. CSB also holds fundraising parties, workshops and exhibitions, which aim at raising money but more importantly giving students a better exposure and offering them the chance to get recruited by famous Lebanese designers.

The “Inspiration wall”: A collage composed of the students’ photography during field research and selected magazine images.

All in all, Creative Space Beirut is about creativity and design, about truly supporting local talent and fashion design in Lebanon. We obviously have a lot of talented fashion designers in Lebanon but we don’t have a free, or even affordable, fashion design program. It’s a brave initiative driven by passion and hope. Quoting Sarah:

If there’s an idea or initiative that you’re excited about, the only thing that will stop you is yourself. Because nothing is impossible. It’s just not. Everything is possible if you’re not afraid. Try to be as fearless as possible. For people that live abroad who want to come here and do something, if you just follow your instincts, don’t be put down by what people tell you. Especially by people that live here. You can’t just back down.

Check out the below feature and you can read more about the Creative Space Beirut [here].