At L’Atelier Mode we get to sit down with some wonderfully talented people working in the fashion industry, and most recently that was fashion designer Lara Abi Haidar.
We sat down with Lara to talk about her career, influences, and how she’s remained hopeful during the lockdown.
Who is Lara Abi Haidar?
I’m a Beirut-born fashion designer with a rebellious soul.
What made you want to create?
I grew up in a family of artists. I was especially influenced by my father’s work, which is often multi-disciplined. I taught myself the basics of fine art, and then developed my aesthetic from there. That’s where it all started for me… with fine art rather than fashion.
Did you ever picture yourself doing something else?
My father advised me to go into a different field, like architecture or law. He knew how difficult it was to make it in the fine art business, and that it was never a stable job. So, when I finished my MA at the University of Westminster, London, I dabbled in graphic design, opened my own branding and marketing agency, and basically worked in communications for a while.
What made you return to fine art?
After a long day at work, I yearned to get home, back to my personal space, so I could paint.
I was inspired by creators like George Braques, Modigliani, Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Tom Ford, Gianni Versace… some because of their paintings and others because of how their lives affected their style; their fashion.
In 2016, I found my line in painting; mostly oil on canvas. I said to myself: this is exactly who I am.
In 2017 I shifted my creativity to fashion, combining both fine art and design. Shortly after I created my first kimono, which I paired with hand-painted summer hats.
“If I wanted to be like everyone else, I would have printed onto fabric, but painting each one makes it even more perfect in our imperfect world. And authenticity never goes out of fashion.”
So that’s how hand-painted garments became synonymous with your brand?
Absolutely. If I wanted to be like everyone else, I would have printed onto fabric, but painting each one makes it even more perfect in our imperfect world. And authenticity never goes out of fashion.
What makes good art?
Spontaneity. It’s the key to emotive work.
How do you define your brand?
Hand-crafted yet modern. It enables the old and the new generation to share the same values of tradition. Our kimonos are one-off, one-size pieces that fit every style, regardless of age.
Soon we will launch a men’s line; scarfs, pouches and other small accessories. However, for now, we’re just trying our best to get through COVID-19. I’m very thankful that I can create at home and stay in touch with friends and artists that inspire me using video and so on.
What defines us is how well we rise after a fall, and I’m feeling hopeful.