Beirut Will Rise Again: The Resilience of Lebanon’s Fashion Industry
Despite so many struggles, and now having to deal with the aftermath of one of the largest explosions in modern history, the irrepressible country’s creative community refuses to be broken by hardship
Some thought it was just an earthquake. As the ground began to tremble and the window panes started to shatter, no one could have anticipated what happened next.
When 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, negligently stored in a warehouse at the Port of Beirut, ignited on August 4, 2020 the force of the blast that ripped through the city’s streets could be felt as far away as Cyprus and Syria. It wiped out entire neighbourhoods in a matter of seconds, decimating the country’s creative and artistic hubs in its wake.
From haute couture maisons to emerging designers, Beirut’s fashion industry was devastated by the explosion. The severity of damage that the studios and showrooms sustained – many located in the nearby neighbourhoods of Mar Mikhaël, Saifi Village and Gemmayze – was “unthinkable”. At least, that’s how footwear designer Andrea Wazen described the state of her boutique after the incident occurred. The blast shattered lightbulbs and mirrors, causing the entire ceiling of her store to collapse in on itself.