BEIRUT: It's easy to be egocentric when it comes to fashion; after all, it’s mostly about the clothes people put on their own bodies. However, the T-shirt exhibition at City Centre, in collaboration with local designers and influencers, showed that fashion can actually stand for something bigger.
Running until October 13, the exhibition allows visitors to explore the t-shirt from its history to its latest trends. Showcasing a wide variety of expressive t-shirts, it promotes 24 different brands which include local Lebanese designers.
Back in the 19th century, the t-shirt was originally designed as an undergarment. Labors used to cut their jumpsuits in half to keep cooler during hot months. Since then, it has evolved to become the most common item in apparel that has changed the way messages are shared.
Slogans included on showcased T-shirts included: “I’m a woman?What’s your superpower?”, “I woke up in Beirut,” “ALa Libanaise,” “Girlfluence,” and many others.
The highlight of this exhibition is the collaboration between local designers and influencers to support NGOs. Designers gave special t-shirts to influencers who will advertise and sell them. The proceeds go to NGOs of their choice.
“I think the combination of fashion and humanitarian causes is very powerful. Actually, a combination of any industry and a humanitarian cause is powerful. Whenever we feel we can contribute in helping others, we should. It’s important to not only look good, but feel good by doing good,” said fashion blogger Ghina Ghandour. “The NGO I’m supporting is Himaya, and the shirt I’m selling reads “Anti-bully squad.”
Himaya is specialized in the child protection sector and works to prevent violence against children and offer the support needed for abused children on a psycho-social and legal level.
"Bullying is a critical topic nowadays given increasing statistics on bullying, be it on social media or in real life. We should raise awareness because this issue can sometimes lead to suicide,” Ghandour added.
Another stylish philanthropist who is also participating in the initiative is Dana Khairallah, the lifestyle blogger behind the blog Ivy Says. Selling a shirt which reads “Aal helwe w aal morra," she is supporting the NGO “Bayt Al Baraka.” The NGO offers retirees all kinds of free products in a supermarket from which they collect their needs and take them home gracefully and with dignity.
“When donating, we usually think about the disabled and children but often forget the people who have retired after serving their duties in the society; they are almost forgotten. This NGO helps them while preserving their dignity. As influencers I believe it’s important to give back to our followers by sharing with them such initiatives,” said Khairallah.
Sharing a similar goal of promoting and enhancing society, the Lebanese brand behind Khairallah’s shirt has contributed to aid Lebanese youth long before this exhibition. H-shirt is a brand for Arab youth that consists of original silk screen printing on clothing and accessories. It aims to help local artists produce many of their creative and unique artwork on high-quality clothing.
Influencer and wife of MP Elias Hankash Rita Abi Lamah, is selling a shirt slogan-ed “Fight for those who can’t." With the economic crisis Lebanon is facing, Abi Lamah teamed up with Basma NGO to empower deprived families to reach self-sufficiency.
“I have been a member in Basma for 15 years. I find this exhibition a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of CSR work. Fashion by itself is a statement and it’s important to send a humanitarian message on a universal piece worn by people from all around the world,” she told Annahar.
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